There is so much happening at church this fall already, that it is clear to me even in the middle of September that the easier days of summer are definitely over. I told Paul I feel like I barely have time to wrap my mind around the thing I am doing in the moment, before it is time to get ready for the next event. It is exhausting, but I must also admit it is kind of exciting.
As you can see from the newsletter the list of our commitments and outreach is growing: the Blessing of the Animals, continued care for the Community Garden, the resuming of our Taize services, a Pancake Breakfast, Trunk or Treat, the Meat Raffle, a Tailgate Party, Thanksgiving Eve Worship, etc. But perhaps the biggest change and new venture will be getting to be host for a brand new worshiping community called The Sanctuary Church (you can read about them in the newsletter).
When the possibility of hosting a new worshiping community came up at council, I wasn’t 100% sure how it would go. It can be hard to embrace the idea that nothing in this world actually belongs to us (including our sanctuaries and buildings), and that in the end it is all a gift from God. But I was amazed at how quickly your elected leaders said “yes!” to this new relationship.
Together we talked about how there really are only two ways to live in this world: out of fear or out the understanding that we are all part of the body of Christ (brothers and sisters) and that it is our responsibility to uplift all the parts of the body when and how we can. And so we decided that we would choose to live out of our baptismal callings to serve all people following the example of Jesus, and out of our vision of creating a place that is embodied by the values of safety, love, hope, and grace.
I’m not sure exactly what this new relationship might look like as we move forward or how we might find ways to work together with The Sanctuary Church, but I have to admit I am excited! When I met with Pastor Stephen Parker after the council’s decision to plan some pieces of this new relationship, I was overwhelmed by his expression of joy and gratitude. He said to me that I couldn’t even imagine how many places he had called before us that had said no, or we don’t do that, or even hung up on him before he could finish explaining who he was. He hadn’t wanted to call us on the day he did because of all the rejection he had already received, but he knew as soon as he made that phone call that God was saying yes to him and to our future together.
So my beloved as I said the other week in my sermon, we are at a turning point as a church. It is up to us to decide how we will be known in this world and I am hoping that together, with the help and grace of God, we will choose to live out our calling to be the welcome place, to be the place where family and friends, neighbors and strangers, can find a home.
Faithfully yours, Pastor Rebecca