If you weren't in worship this last Sunday, instead of a sermon, I very much shared a love letter to all of you with my gratitude for how well this congregation loves. You can read that love letter HERE. As I reflected with the church's Pastoral Relations Committee last night, we have done SO MUCH in the last two years!
- We pivoted during a pandemic: first worshiping virtually and then moving to a hybrid model of worship.
- We created a Mission & Outreach Team who helped us identify unaccompanied youth as an area of community need and congregational passion.
- We created an Open and Affirming Discernment Team who led us through a discernment process culminating in a vote to become ONA, adopting a beautiful new welcome statement.
- Our Trustees and individual donors beautified our sanctuary and cared for our church property. We have a new roof, new lighting, new carpeting, a more open chancel area (the front of the sanctuary), and a beautiful new pulpit.
- Our Re-entry Team led us in discerning how to stay safe during this pandemic, taking into account the needs of the most vulnerable among us and safely bringing us back together in person.
- Our Deacons helped people stay connected while we worshiped remotely through phone calls, emails and cards.
- Numerous church members have led excellent book studies and adult education opportunities to foster spiritual growth.
- Our Faith Formation Board has kept our children and youth connected throughout the pandemic. And now, we have regular Sunday school teachers and volunteer youth ministers.
- The Audio Visual Team has brought us into the 21st Century with TV screens and hybrid worship.
- We supported our staff by offering our Music Director a 4-week sabbatical and our pastor 10 weeks of parental leave.
- Members of our leadership team attended trainings on Healthy Congregations and Conflict Resolution.
- Our Seasonal Worship Teams have designed and led inspiring, spirited, and creative worship.
Whew! It's hard to believe we have done ALL of that in just two years! Smile. No wonder we are feeling tired -- we've accomplished so much!
One of the things that we've been missing is a chance to celebrate. And we have a LOT to celebrate. I hope you'll join me in praying about and listening for how we can celebrate all we've done together. I also hope you'll join me in giving yourself and those around you a pat on the back. I'm just blown away!
With love and gratitude,