Column for November, 2017
If you have not spent any time at the church on a weekday recently, you might be amazed at what goes on. Almost every day, we have people coming and going in our church. They come here to get help with rent and utilities, as well as some coaching with a social worker, classes, and other help to bring stability to their families. They come here to learn, from our little babies and toddlers in PMO to the third through fifth graders in our Tutoring Program to other students who are part of programs that meet here. They come here as refugees learning to negotiate their way through the systems of education and support in their new homes. They come here to dance, to meet, to strategize, and to dream.
One way people talk about whether a church is “successful” or not is by asking the question, “If your church disappeared tomorrow, would anyone miss it?” And the clear answer here is yes! Yes, not only would our members miss this place as a home for faith, fellowship, support, learning, and growing together, but many, many people in our community would miss this church. God is changing lives here and changing our community here by using all of these resources to serve.
It is a privilege to be a part of it. But I also do not take for granted everything that goes into making all of this possible. We are able to welcome so many people here because the people who were here before us had the vision to establish the “Community Meeting House” here. Through the years, people have contributed energy, time, sweat, prayers, and money to build these buildings, establish programs, share the faith of Jesus Christ with each other, and maintain these grounds. And year after year, many of us spend many hours here doing all of the work that keeps this place open as a place where Christ can be found in tangible ways.
And we all give money, too. The Session has been looking closely at our income and expenses for this year, and we have also started looking ahead to next year. You will see a report of the year to date income and expenses later in this newsletter. For next year, we are looking forward to new possibilities to be even more faithful in praising God and serving our neighbors. We hope that you will take some time to plan ahead, too, considering what God has given you and what God is calling you to give to the work of the church.
For those of you who are a regular part of our congregation who receive this newsletter, this year, instead of doing a separate mailing, we are enclosing in this newsletter a sheet for you to tell us what you think you might be able to give to the church in 2018. If you can give more than you are giving now, we would be grateful; if not, we understand. Either way, please fill out this form and bring it with you to worship on Sunday, November 19. That day, we will be celebrating the season of Thanksgiving during worship, when we remember all of God’s good gifts for us. If you cannot be in worship that day, please return the pledge sheet to the church office before then; you can put it in the offering plate on Sunday or mail it to the address above. The pledge sheets will be given to our bookkeeper, who will tally them together and give us a total commitment; she will be the only one to see your personal pledge.
And some of you who receive this newsletter are former members, visitors, family members, or guests. If you would like to honor your attachment to this congregation and support the wonderful things we have going on here, we certainly would be grateful! There are a couple of ways you can contribute. You can mail a check to us at the address above. Or, you can give online using a credit card. Simply click on the “Donate” button on the very bottom of this page. You can then follow the prompts to give through PayPal.
It is such an honor for me to be part of this great community of people dedicated to doing deep, important work to share the faith of Christ through our worship, learning, and service together!