At this point, my mind is probably wandering more often and further away each time. So, you never know where we may end up…squirrel. Oh look that squirrel found a nut. Wow, it’s kind of neat how he carries it. I wonder what kind of nut that is. Ummm…mixed nuts with sea salt. I really like almonds and cashews. I bet plain nuts dipped in the sea would not taste too good. Oh wow, the sea, the open fresh air, and plenty of salt. “Water, water every where, nor any drop to drink” Sorry, I’m back. Anyway, now that we have reached a year together, I have taken some time to reflect and look back at where we were and where we are now. We have tried a lot of new things, some have worked okay, and others have fallen flat, and some are still out for verdict. But at least we tried. I made so major changes in what rooms are used for what, and not everyone agrees with those changes, and that is okay. At least we are trying. (Okay, so I am trying to write this, and I am struggling to make sense of everything swirling in my head) I have tried to bring a direction and focus to the congregation, but I have not done well in implementing a vision. I would say “at least I am trying” but that rings hollow for my role and responsibility. I have struggled to give voice to my approach as it has changed and been altered. But more so, I have found that what I was intending is not the right thing for the moment.
One particular aspect that I appreciate of the Presbyterian form of government and church life is the interim process. Now I know that many of you dread this, as many churches often do. It usually means that the presbytery gets involved, and often it most problematic for congregations that have had little, no, or poor experiences with the local governing body that struggle through the work that is to be done. One of the great reasons for the process is to allow for time between the pastor that has left and the incoming of the new called pastor. During this time the congregation should be investing its time in self-reflection as it prepares for a new pastor. This is also a time to revisit many of the things that church does and how effective/important they are to what the church is and wants to be. It is also a time for some of the more difficult discussions, and an opportunity to reevaluate the church’s mission statement and beliefs. A major point of this process is to work through (at least begin the process) any conflict within the church. Unfortunately, sometimes this process does not work for one reason or another (or all of the above).
I have heard from many of you that the church is currently more unified than it has been for some time, and this makes me weep. It makes me weep for what you must have been going through, and it makes me weep for how far we still have to go to be one body. So I am starting over. I am working on a new approach, one that hopefully will engage us more and begin to fully repair the rifts among us. An approach that will help us find focus together. A way of being the church that is more about living out the Gospel than just coming to hear about it. This will take more time, and unfortunately that is something that we have very little of, if any at all. We are in need of a systemic culture change within this congregation, and it will require all of us working together. I look forward to what another year together can do for us. Blessings and peace.
The Spring Spectacular is coming on Wednesday, May 20 starting at 6 PM. Dinner, activities and fun for all ages. Bring your family and friends!
Any family with 2015 graduates, high school or college, please notify the office before May 27th. We also need the college degrees and majors.
The annual church picnic is planned for Sunday, May 31st following the Youth Sunday Worship Service. Plan to be here for the festivities!
The Session meeting was attended by all of the Elders. Our communion attendance figures were up from last year and we had several people joining the church by Confirmation: Brianne Dellamano, Garrett Kneedler and Sarajane Nowman. Jeff and Virginia Dalton joined our church by Re-Affirmation of Faith. The services held during Holy Week were glorious and thanks to the congregation, we had a great donation of Easter Candy and were able to stuff 450 eggs for an Easter Egg Hunt.
The Elders and Deacons also gave Communion to the home bound members of the church.
Our Finance Committee had to transfer $9,500 from the General Fund Savings Account to the checking account to cover the cost of the insurance for our property.
Pastor Jeff has asked the Worship Committee to solicit opinions from the congregation about aspects of our current worship service i.e. the music, service presentation of the various segments of the worship service, letting them know what was liked, disliked and most importantly suggestions for change.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church proposed two changes to the Constitution and the Book of Order. These changes were to be approved by the Presbytery. The first change is W-4.9000 (Item 10-02) which is the union of marriage between two people of the same sex. This amendment is causing much concern within the church and Pastor Jeff has asked the Session to discuss this with the members of the Church to see how they feel about.
The second Amendment discussed was 14-1 the Confession of Balhar. This Confession covers Justice, Unity and Reconciliation and is considered a response to Apartheid.
If you have concerns about these changes, please talk with an Elder or Pastor Jeff.
The Session further discussed “where we feel within the bounds of the Presbytery?”
Discussed were: 1 Power of Money – removing power
2 Operating at a loss for over 20 years
3 Need good reasons for bringing people into the Church
4 Members leaving – why they don’t come back?
5 Change in culture
6 How to rebuild the church in the right way.
Session was asked to think about these things, discuss them with church friends and come back with possible answers.
Clerk of Session