This coming Sunday we begin a new program year at our church and I could not be more excited!
Apart from advanced planning by staff and lay leadership, along with a well-attended pizza party earlier this month (thanks Tom and Becky!), it has been a summer of quiet, communal rejuvenation and we are ready to hit the ground running!
And boy do we need to! Setting aside how nice it is in September to reconnect with friends old and new, this world needs the presence and voice of First Congregational Church now more than ever!
In these times, there is a certain imperativeness to the progressive church. It is crucial that our unique understanding of the inclusive, empowering ministry of Christ be amplified. Why? Well, among other things, nationalism, racism, homophobia and generalized hatred in public discourse has not abated over these recent weeks. Quite the opposite, in fact. Additionally, we face a certain “guilt by association” in the eyes of the un-churched who look upon the widening Roman Catholic sex scandal as belonging to all churches. God’s creation remains threatened by climate change and its deniers. And, as ever, loneliness and poor self-esteem surround the hearts of too many.
Interesting times indeed!
Some may call them “depressing” times or even “desperate” times. But I think they are exciting times because they give us the opportunity to let our faith shine! They make it easier to spot the contrast between the ways of the world and the ways of God’s Kingdom which Jesus proclaimed. We hold the brimming watering can of hope that is so longed-for by a world parched with fatalism and despair! What a wonderful position to be in!
So I welcome you to this program year where we will discover and rediscover God’s Holy Spirit and the power of community. We will plunge our fears and pain into the reservoir of God’s healing and renewal even as we reach well beyond the walls of our church to reveal the new world of joy and restoration that the resurrection has already brought about.
Needless to say, I am glad you are on board! I look forward to greeting you on Welcome Back Sunday as together we remember that we belong to a God of validation and confidence revealed to us in Christ our companion on the Way.