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Pastor’s Page: Happy New Year!

January 1, 2016

DSCN3387Let’s make it a big deal this year!

Sometimes the new year slips in with too little fanfare. In fact, we may already be living in 2016, having marked our pristine 2016 calendars with doctor’s appointments, vacations, meetings, and visits from family. If that’s the case, maybe we can have our own private little fanfare the first time we actually write the numbers 2-0-1-6, whether on a check, a letter, or a card.

The turn of a new calendar year is a good time to take positive stock of the upcoming year. We may be mulling the past 12 months and what they contained. But it may be even more important to cast our gaze to the next 12 months, and all the potential they contain. It’s a time to consider the ability each of us has to write our own future. Each of us the power to make choices to define our life so we may live as fully and abundantly as God intended. So, it’s also a good time to turn to God in prayer, and consider with God how to shape the next 12 months.

What’s true for us as individuals is true for us as a community of faith. We have several opportunities in the coming months to collectively chart our course. How do we want to live as a church? Who is God calling us to be? How can we serve, and whom? How is God already working through us to provide joy, hope, and sustenance for mind, body and spirit?

A couple weeks ago, the Cub Scouts invited me to their December meeting. I’m happy to report the pack is growing! Dozens of boys are learning about service, citizenship and reverence, and many important skills, in our building. Many, if not most, parents aren’t church members, but they are at home here. Many expressed their gratitude, had questions about our services, and said they felt this was their church.

The pack returned the next night to share some holiday spirit with the 80 or so folks who came to Open Table. That was an evening of music, fellowship, food, and laughter (endless thanks to all the volunteers who make Open Table happen under the leadership of Paull Magee).

Again, many people who came aren’t officially “members” of the church, but consider Matt. Congo their church. So, too, do the Matta-poisett Women’s Club, AA, ACA, Girl Scouts, and many other organizations

We are an extremely important part of our community. All ages, all stages, all walks of life rely on this church as a place that is safe, comfortable, and infused with a positive feeling of Christian fellowship. Our church is a place where anybody can come to be uplifted, nourished, encouraged, and loved. This is a unique thing in our community. We’ve all heard the grim statistics about how organized religion is slipping in a variety of ways. I can’t see how that is true of our church.

The New Year holds many opportunities for us, as a community of faith, to take stock of our place in the larger South Coast community. How can we better serve those we are already serving, and whom else can we serve? For example: Our summer evening worship experiment showed us a significant desire for worship beyond a traditional Sunday morning service. Another example: Our lift is getting more and more use on Sunday mornings – praise God! Another example: Our joint study with the Tifereth Israel Congregation shows a lot of energy for doing new things and reaching beyond the lines of our faith. Another example: Our children’s programs, such as the White Gift Pageant shows that our community continues to cherish tradition, and children love to be involved.

Our eyes, ears, and spirits must be open to flows of energy such as these. We can think of it as the Holy Spirit moving in our midst. We must keep those energies in mind when it comes time to think about a Capital Campaign, church budget, and speakers and events associated with upcom-ing sabbatical this autumn. Who are we as church today, and how is God calling us forth into the future? Lots to think about, and such a blessing to be able to chart our course as a community.

Many blessings for the upcoming year!

Amy3

Rev. Amy Lignitz Harken

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