For some time now, since our leadership retreat on March 4, there have been large white easel sheets of newsprint filled with church hopes and dreams taped to the courtyard windows near the parking lot entrance. I hope they have caught your eye and caused you to reflect a bit. Each of the boards and committees was asked to generate some thoughts.
Yesterday I came to work to find them rolled up and leaning against my office door, and now they are re-taped all over my office walls here. I will spend the rest of the summer with them in front of me. Lots to dream about! Much to ponder.
Some of the thoughts are already happening, or works in process…Faster internet is on the way! A multi-faceted refugee re-settlement ministry is soon to come to life: did you know this is Refugee Awareness month? More details will come as we worship together. Pickleball tape has been laid on on the gym floor and Thursday nights folks are gathering. Outdoor worship is underway, and music on the steps is returning after some years. We have a new web and social media coordinator, Zoe Larson: as I write I can hear her making plans with Susan Lofton, our recent office manager. Together they will help us work on social media witness and improved and innovative communication patterns. And we’re hearing a lot and taking advantage of new giving opportunities and options. Lots of good going on!
And some of the thoughts are out ahead of us, we have yet to work on them…Bring a friend Sundays, a community garden, sound upgrades in the upper room, an occasional food truck (mentioned the most!), new affinity groups, and a fall new member drive. Lots to plan for!
Finally, some of the thoughts are larger visions we can take as goals for the near future… Growing children, youth and family ministry, greater investment in music ministries, renewed formation energy and participation, and a staffing pattern that promotes growth and reflects our mission, vision, and goals. Plenty of big-picture visions we. can work work toward.
As I think and pray about these thoughts and plans for our life of ministry together now in our 96th year, I am filled with gratitude and hope. It’s a new time for renewal as we return from the exile of COVID-19. I open the Bible and find that little psalm 126, a pilgrim song from that holy moment when Israel remembers the joy of coming home from an exile much more severe:
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang, we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations — “God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.
And now, God, do it again —
bring rains to our drought stricken lives
so those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
so those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing,
with armloads of blessings. (the message)
God has been, is now, and will always be with us. I hope when you’re here you’ll stop by and add to the newsprint, and also engage our leadership groups who are working on these things. Now we have a chance to come together again and engage the mission of Jesus in a renewed way, looking forward to celebrating our one hundredth year soon to come.
How blessed are we?