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Linda Stoddard

Photo above: The Rev. Linda Stoddard at work in her church office. Linda welcomes your questions and inquiries about Maple United Methodist and the Christian tradition. She will help you to find the answers you seek.

If you'd like to meet with Rev. Stoddard to discuss a personal or spiritual matter, please call the church office at (269) 964-1252 or click here to send an e-mail inquiry.

You may also speak with Linda after our Sunday morning worship services. (Click here for service times.) We'd love to meet you!

Did you know? Rev. Stoddard is also an accomplished speaker, poet and author. To read a recent pastoral message from Rev. Stoddard, click here now.

A Special Pastoral Message from Rev. Linda

May 2018


     As I served communion on Maundy Thursday, I was suddenly aware of voices in the background—and laughter.  At first, I was a little annoyed that the “solemnity” of the sacrament was being disturbed.  But then it struck me!

      The first time the sacrament was served, it wasn’t during a somber worship service with meditative music in the background!

     When Jesus first said, “This is my body….this is my blood…”

it was in an upper room—

above a household preparing for Passover…

in the center of the capital city of Jerusalem teeming with tourists and pilgrims…

not far from the market place.

              IT WASN’T QUIET!  The noises of life and living bounced up the stairway and seeped in the windows.  The disciples themselves were whispering, “Is it I?” as they tried to figure out who the traitor in their midst was.  I’m sure there were murmurs after Jesus said, “This is my…”


“What does He mean—My body, My blood?”


              We forget, sometimes, that the crucifixion did not occur in a stately sanctuary…on a brass cross…between two flickering candles.


              It was on a hill—a garbage dump, really—outside of the city but near enough to the road between Jerusalem and Galilee to be seen by all who passed by. 

It was well within the earshot of crying babies,

vendors hawking their wares,

camel drivers cursing their humped charges,

and soldiers gambling for clothing.


              Easter wasn’t a quiet affair either.  Grieving women approached the tomb with mournful wails and muffled sobs that became gasps of shock—that turned to excited chatter—and even screams of joy and celebration.

              The dawn’s hush was broken by the thud of linens and spices hitting the ground, water jars shattering, and the sound of running feet fleeing the garden.

Maundy Thursday evening…

Good Friday noon…

Easter Sunday dawn…



              The world didn’t stop—the sounds of life were not muted—because of what was happening in the upper room…in Pilate’s courtyard…on Calvary’s hill…or in Joseph’s garden.


              Communion was shared…Jesus was betrayed…denied…and ultimately crucified…the tomb was opened and the risen Jesus emerged IN THE MIDST OF LIFE in all its need and anger and brokenness.


              All the events of Holy Week and Easter happened in the midst of LIFE to remind us that Jesus is with us everywhere—even in the “messiness” of everyday life!


Celebrating life—and God’s presence,

Rev. Linda

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