A Restorative Time

Our June Cook Out is this Sunday!  I hope you can join us for this great time of worship and fellowship; rain or shine!

Also, please take note of the Summer Union Services schedule in this newsletter as we worship with other congregations in Melrose during the month of July.

In August, look for more details to come on our second annual Summer Gathering on Wednesday, August 7th.

While our programming ramps down during these weeks of summer so as to allow our many volunteers a time of rest, I pray that your faith in God through Jesus Christ does not take a “vacation”.

Every parish takes a different approach to summer.  Some churches try to use their marque signs to keep attendance up during the summer.  Here are a couple of examples:

“This summer wear sonscreen to prevent sinburn”

“It’s hot!  Chill with Jesus”

“Our lifeguard walks on water”

Clever?  Sure!  (Although I think that first one is more likely to produce a groan than a laugh!).

In the end, your commitment to our church should not be based on clever enticements but rather on a genuine desire for faith formation and community building.  How does that jibe with our more limited summer schedule?  Well, apart from providing a time of rest it also prevents the absence of church staff during the program year.  It allows critical time for advanced planning for our ministries that begin in September.  It also keeps the church from returning exhausted in the fall after a summer of struggling to keep programming going.

Most importantly, however, it honors the ebb and flow of the congregation itself.  That is, to put it simply, people value a chance to get away and not feel guilty about it.  A good deal of stress can be created by trying to go on summer vacations while not letting something drop at church.  Giving people license to enjoy this Sabbath time has proven a real gift.  Over the years we have found that this is the best way to recharge the batteries of our Deacons, staff, and volunteers.

Again, though, one’s commitment to God need not waiver during this different pattern of “doing church” during the weeks of summer.  In fact, it is an ideal time to enact one’s discipleship in new ways, in new settings, through new relationships, and by means of different devotional practices.  It is worth noting that people often discover new ideas for the ministries of our church during the summer months which we would not become aware of or be able to apply had they not been in this restorative time of the church year.

So, may your summer be filled with new experiences, rejuvenation, conscious discipleship, and joyful anticipation of Welcome Back Sunday in September!

See you in church,

–Rev. Dominic