I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.2 Timothy 1:5
Happy New Year!! (no, I didn’t send Jeannie my January article by mistake, the church calendar year starts on the first Sunday in Advent). It is starting to feel like new beginnings here at EPC. After a year of behind the scenes interim work, the fruits are starting to show. We have a Pastor Nominating Committee on the job, we have a new slate of Elders and a whole bunch of new Deacons ready to go, we have a set of new policies working their way through the Personnel Committee, we have some new ideas being processed by Generosity and Stewardship with an eye to the farther horizon, we are trying new things in worship, we even have the seeds of a vision for the future.
It’s interesting to note that the new year (whether by the church calendar or by the secular calendar) comes during the darkest, coldest (relatively speaking) time of year. I believe this tells us something about how God makes things new. First, it seems, before new life can be born, a kind of a death has to happen. In nature, this is literal—the leaves fall from trees, covering the ground, enriching the soil with nutrients that will feed the next generation of trees. But in our emotional and spiritual lives, this “death” is metaphorical: we let go of old ways of doing things (sometimes with a sense of grief) and make room for something new. But, just as the leaves feed the new trees, the past is a fundamental building block for the future. The wise person takes from the past the resources that will enable the next generation to thrive.
Those remnants from the past are everywhere at EPC. They live in the shared experiences that I hear all the time from the people in this church. At every committee meeting I attend at least once or twice someone will say “remember when (random church member) use to (sing something amazing, bake something delicious, say something hilarious, do something incredibly kind). That was a special moment for me.” These shared memories describe the nutrients in the soil here at EPC that the future will spring out of.
To continue the metaphor, the nutrients that make up the soil here at EPC (the shared memories) are rich in acts of kindness, fellowship, concern for those in need, and humor. So, when you are trying to imagine what the future of this church will be, think about all the things that would thrive in that kind of soil. When we can do that, what is coming will begin to come into focus.
Blessings, Pastor Jen