You Are Welcome Here
Pastor Susan's Notes
Resurrection Comes ~ Easter brings New Life
Thank you, IUCC, for the encouragement to re-apply to the Lily Grant Foundation for a Sabbatical in 2019. The purpose of a Sabbatical is not only for the clergy (me) to find renewal and growth, but it also gives the church an opportunity for growth and renewal, as well. In this way we move forward, together, as we continue to represent Christ in our community and the world. Whether or not this grant is received I share with you its premise here.
The theme of the Sabbatical that was formed by church members and myself in March of 2017, and the theme for the re-application process, focuses on ‘gathering people in;’ that is, how has the Holy Spirit influenced our faith and ‘how are we doing’ at welcoming other people to our worship and church to share the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love and grace? The call before us is to invite others to be a part of Christ’s work and mission here at IUCC! The question is: how do we become outwardly focused? This is one of the goals that was put forth in the letter you received in mid-February from the Church Council: ‘expand our efforts to engage people in the community.’
We are experiencing changing times and “church,” as we know it, is one place, for sure, that feels the ‘growing pains of change.’ Please consider the following ways to know Jesus and to make Jesus known.
1) Have an open mind to say “I Will” to new ideas coming forth. We can ask of each new idea: Is this what Jesus would have us do? say? think?
2) Begin attending a group to which you will commit your prayers, time and efforts: work projects, coffee hour help, Soup Kitchen help, committee help, book or Bible Study, youth ministry helper, church council, helping before, during, or after worship, the Team for exploring Contemporary Worship, or any group you choose to start whose premise is to “gather others in” - together - for Christ.
3) The United Church of Christ’s motto is: No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. We’re to “gather others in,” or stated another way, we are to welcome all and truly accept all of God’s children into our church without judgment, as Jesus would. To ‘gather them in’ for Christ is to exclude none.
Pray with me in these days of Easter where New Life springs forth. How will we see our New Life as a person of faith? How will we see New Life in our church? I will see you soon as we continue to explore our faith and Christ-like ways so that the Holy Spirit will gather us and others in, with Love.