A Word from Our Pastor 2014 April: Renewal

Copy of IMG_7663A Word from Our Pastor
The message of Easter is new life; God’s gift of resurrection to each and all of us together. . .in Christ’s resurrection, we are reconciled with God, we are offered a new beginning. What new beginning have you been dreaming of, longing for? This Easter Season, I pray that you will take steps to be God’s partner in creating the future.

And the future is already happening at our church! For several years now, we have been talking about “renewal” at BMUC. Most people in our congregation have been working hard to honor our heritage and at the same time, allow something new to be “born.” We have been blessed by the willingness of so many people to “be church” in ways that they had never been before.

In the past 3 years:

–We began with interviews that resulted in our Mission and Vision statements; flowing out of those statements, we began new programs – our faith discussion groups on Sunday and Wednesday (that we now call “Faith Clinics,”), and two more ongoing groups – the Men’s Group and Thursday evening “Spirit Song.”

–We have been going on retreats – the Congregational Care Ministers have a yearly “spiritual life” retreat; we had 6 people travel to the Leadership Institute at Church of the Resurrection; 4 people participated in the Walk To Emmaus gathering; and the largest numbers participated in our “Young Families Retreat” last fall.

–We have been involved in international learning and transformation; 12 persons from our congregation have traveled to Palestine and Israel and visited our “sister” village of Wadi Foquin; we have raised almost $12,000 to subsidize travel for our youngest “pilgrims.” We have been involved in efforts to assist Wadi Foquin’s economic development and safety.

–We have changed our thinking about mission; the whole congregation participates in giving to mission by making it line item in our budget. (Formerly, we donated only what was collected in free will offering or through fundraising projects).

–We have committed ourselves to financially supporting a United Methodist missionary with an annual donation.

–We have expanded and formalized taking care of our members and others through our Congregational Care Ministers who meet one-on-one with people in need and provide communion monthly at Piedmont Gardens.

–We are developing an outreach plan, that has already begun with launching our new website!

–We have a wonderful new sound system, that is especially helpful for the hearing-impaired.

And the biggest things —

–We have raised significant funds to re-do the front garden, to make our building more welcoming.

–We have committed ourselves to ministry with Families and Young Adults by hiring a half-time Assistant Minister.

–And don’t forget the Flash Mob to “Born this Way” at the Bazaar!

These are just the highlights.

There is so much here to celebrate: spiritual awakening, involvement in local community and the world; deeply caring for one another; welcoming new members and reaching out to people who are searching for a church home. This is new life, all around us. We have been experiencing Easter.

Change is not always easy. And to have a resurrection, some things must die, and there are losses. But we have done more than talk about renewal. We have given ourselves to God, prayed for transformation, taken risks by trying things that may have made us uncomfortable, and here we are, being resurrected!

May this Easter blessing continue in your heart …