The State of the Church - reprint from June/July Newsletter

The State of the Church - reprint from June/July Newsletter

The following is a reprint of the reflection from our June/July newsletter.  I wanted to make it accessible to all of us.  Hope you are well and God Bless -+Pr. Mike

We are in mid-summer now and this is a time of year when I reflect of how the year has gone. The reason that I tend to do this in June/July as opposed to Dec/Jan is a simple one. We began our life together in June/July of 2009. I was ordained in June and got in here in July so it around this time of year that I think about where we are, where we have been and where I hope that we will be going (or better said) where I think the Holy Spirit might be leading us.

But it has been two years now that we have been in this ministry together and I have to say that overall things are going very well. First I have to thank all of you for being really great, warm, wonderful, and caring people. I feel very blessed to be in ministry here – with you. I believe that what I sense is what our visitors sense – you like people and you welcome them and want them to be here. That is a good thing. I would encourage us all to continue to reach out and welcome the visitor and invite them to walk with us and share in the worship of our Lord. That is something that you do pretty well – Don’t you? I think so.

I have seen a great growth in our interactions between our two congregations and I think we are working well together. When we have events people show up and participate. That is something that we want to continue. But over the last year we saw each get together, event, or joint service grow in attendance. That is really good. Not because we want numbers at these events – but because it gives us all a chance to get to know each other, to break bread together, to worship together, and to build bonds across the parish.

Both of our churches have been in joint parish relationships before, and both can remember what it was like when other congregations didn’t want to be a parish but just wanted to share a pastor. That is not the situation we are in. You don’t share me just because it is cheaper this way. We are in this joint-parish relationship because though it we are working together to collectively serve God’s people and work for the good of the communities in which we serve. So I want to encourage us to continue to build those connections and bonds. The way we do that is by getting together, working together, and worshipping together. So far that has gone well, let us keep it up.

I have mentioned it several times, in multiple sermons over this year, but I am still amazed at our parishes ability to work to serve others. I still am almost blown away at the amazing success of our Souper Bowl of Caring food drive this year. I have still not been able to find a church that gathered as much as we were able to put together, and if I do find a church I think it will be a lot larger than the two of ours put together.

That is God speaking to us everybody. It is God saying “Look what you can do!”. We don’t have to be a big church with 1000 members, we can do God’s work right here, right now and come out with amazing results. Because it is never about us just going out to try and get things done – it is the fact that the God who made heaven and earth, and the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, and the Power of the Holy Spirit are at work in, with, and through us.

It is in things like the Souper Bowl food drive, and the quilting our ladies do, and the way we can reach out to the Domestic Abuse Shelter, and the way we welcome the stranger, and all that we do that we see the great and mighty God at work in us.

I would also like to raise up something that is really wonderful thing happening in our parish. We have a lot of kids in this parish. That is great! At both Newry and Geeseytown the Sunday School are faithfully and well attended. We have five kids from the parish heading over to Camp Sequanota for full or half week programs this year. Our Vacation Bible School is lining up and if last year was any indication we should have plenty of our own and visitors participating. We have had great success this past year with our Kids Club and have had regular attendance from both churches. What really excites me is that we have four kids who will be able to start confirmation next year – two from each church. That is very exciting to me because most churches our size can’t say things like that.

I also want to raise up that we have had growth over the last 2 years. Last year we had 9 people join at Geeseytown and 1 at Newry. This year we have already had 3 join at Geeseytown and 5 at Newry. That is great everybody. That is steady growth, we are expanding and God is breathing life into our congregations.

And that is the whole point. GOD IS BREATHING LIFE INTO OUR CONGREGATIONS. God is here, God is active, God is leading. Take a look at all that God has done. It is awesome.

What we need to do is keep going, keep following our Lord Jesus, keep praying for each other, for the world, and for the church. What I also hope you can see is that as we are continuing to follow our Lord – that he really is with us. Good things are happening. That – I think – is a sign for us. A sign that anything is possible because the Lord who brought Light into being and who is the way and the truth and the light – is with us. And that makes anything possible.

May God continue to Bless you and Keep you in his Peace.
Pastor Mike

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