This is the year of celebrations. In August, we had an overwhelming response to our 40th Anniversary. On November 17, we are going to celebrate again. During the research for the 40th anniversary it was discovered that the theme for the first congregational meeting of Christ the Lord was, “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church.”
In an uncanny way, the committee for the 40th anniversary decided, without knowing this historical information, to set the theme for the event as “You Are the Church.”
On Sunday, November 17, we will be celebrating this year’s accomplishments in ministry and setting our sights on 2020. We will emphasize that “You Are the Church.”
I become more excited about the ministry of Christ the Lord every day. Behind the scenes, during church council meetings, in staff interactions, during key leader discussions, and everyday conversations with members, I am seeing a bright future emerging. Of course, it involves many moving pieces but at its basic core it is simple and can be summarized in one phrase, “You Are the Church.”
As you attend and participate in worship and church activities, you may hear that a family has moved away in their retirement or a staff person is leaving, or there is a repair that may cost more than was anticipated. All of these things happen. What you may not know, is that we are receiving new members regularly, visitors are entering our doors every week, over and beyond financial gifts are made occasionally, and upgrades to the way we operate are improving every year.
How does this happen? YOU. You happen. You happen to have an idea like starting a craft group (Mary Coulter). You have an idea of how to repair something for much cheaper. (Mark Howard, Carl Stier). You have an idea and financial support to transform a room into a comfortable adult space. (Ron Merkner). You have a gift and personal contacts to upgrade our internet infrastructure (Donald Aldridge). You have a gift of accounting and help improve our donation systems (Kathryn Gibbs). You run a school that teaches drama and puts on productions and offers you gift to keep our plays going after Laura leaves (M. C. Conti). You catch an email about a tower company wanting to put up a cell tower on our property that develops into a $1500 monthly check (Janice Aldridge). You have an eye for living space and transform an unused room into a library (Diane Thomas, Kelli Robinson, and Amanda Robinson). You retire from ministry and yet offer to teach classes at your new church home. (Rev. Dale Sillik). I could write forever of example after example of how YOU are the church.
Here is even greater news! God is behind it all. My prayer and experience has repeated itself, reminding me that God leads us. In the old classic understanding of the third article of the Apostle’s Creed, I was taught that God calls, gathers, sanctifies, and redeems.This IS the life of the Christian church. We are not at this congregation by accident. We do not gather around the altar on Sunday morning by happen stance. We are not drawn closer into God’s will and purpose by chance. God did not live and die for us because of boredom. We are part of a far greater love than we can imagine and as we give ourselves over to God’s love. Love Wins.
November 17 isn’t as much about us as it is about HIM. God makes us new every day and we have a great story to tell to our friends and neighbors every waking day. On November 17, we will not make a financial gifts to meet a budget. It is so much more than that. We will gather our resources as a family and imagine and plan how we will live another year in the glorious love of God. We will celebrate at his table the pure gift of forgiveness that unshackles our hearts from that awful Sin that pulls us down. We will share fellowship over coffee or juice and a biscuit or pastry of your liking and laugh deeply about the joy of living in Christ.This is a year of celebration! November 17 will be day full of God’s Grace. Join me in looking into each other’s eyes and saying, “I Am the Church, You Are the Church, We are the Church…We Are the Freed Children of a Loving God. “
In His Service,