Welcoming Change, Welcoming Christ (January 2018)
This last Sunday we gathered for our annual congregational meeting and, as is normal, we dealt with quite a bit of business. I first would like to thank all of you for your participation and patience as we went through all of it. I especially want to thank you for your love to one another, expressed in mutual respect and support as we met. This is not something I take lightly at all: so many congregations seem to leave love at the door of the meeting room and forget that we are truly in this together.
Two items of our business are particularly worth mentioning. First, we spent a good deal of time reviewing the budget so that we would all have a good understanding of it. There were thoughtful questions asked and then we adopted it as presented. I think everyone understood that with this budget, if nothing changes, we will have a significant deficit this year. My sense of the congregation in the conversation leading up to the vote was that we truly want to look for those ways to change and grow. This is a truly loving and dynamic community that wants to share and expand God’s love and power in our world.
That leads me to reflect on the other item of business that was of particular interest to me: our discussion and passage of a statement of welcome, re-printed in this newsletter. With this statement it is our intention to be publically recognized as a “Reconciled in Christ” congregation. At the same time, I think the passage of this statement represents more than simply wanting to adopt this label. We live in a rapidly changing world and I see our congregation facing it with courage, trusting that God remains with us, guiding us to share the message of God’s all-inclusive love.
Things have changed so fast in our time: in science and medicine, in societal and cultural norms, in technology and media, in economic disparity. Longstanding problems and conflicts within our society have only recently come to gain widespread awareness. It can all be overwhelming. We could run away from change and all calls for change, or we can look for God’s movement in all these things, trusting that Christ is already there in the midst of it all. I believe this little statement of welcome we just adopted expresses our willingness to do the latter, faithfully following where God is leading.
Finally, I would like to offer a word of thanks and congratulations to Catheryn Chinn and Matt Schulz, elected to serve on the council. We pray for God’s blessing on them and the rest of the council as we all move into God’s future together.
In the grace and peace of Christ,