Happy new year to all of you, and prayers that as another year arrives, it may bring you closer to God in all that you are involved with, experience and do in the new year. Prayers also that the logistics and practicalities of life are stable or improved.
Another year. Ready or not here it comes. Every year changes us, as we continue to age, mature, and change with time as it passes. But the year to come will not be the same for each one of us. Depending on your present age and stage in life it will impact what happens to us all in the year to come.
A toddler, high school senior, college graduate, middle age person or senior citizen will all experience the addition of this year differently. It is unique, generational, and spiritual based upon our starting point. Honoring those differences are critical knowing we span huge practical and spiritual starting points.
In life, in faith, we are always in transition based upon where we are coming from and where we are headed. I pray that journey is blessed in all regards for each person reading this, as you, your family and loved ones travel through 2023. I pray for the collective journey of our faith community as the church as well.
Where is Christ Lutheran headed? The new year brings both challenges and potential. It will be very challenging to fill our vacant music director’s position. The council positions will change and new leadership arrives. We are establishing our new office position and responsibilities. Volunteers are stepping away leaving vacant spots. As pastor, I still feel unsettled and unfamiliar with the culture and system here at the church.
As we search for new staff, and our present staff settles in, growth and understanding can lead us into new directions. The new council will get a chance to establish new ways to organize and encourage. Opportunities exist for members to plug in, fill gaps, and respond to Gods call to serve in some capacity. This is a chance to be faithful, prayerful and trust God is aging all of us from where we start, to what is next.
As a church a big conversation we will have is discussing the Reconciling in Christ designation. This is a step beyond just saying all are welcome. It is an intentional action to become an open and affirming church to the LGBTQ+ community as well as intentionally racially inclusive.
I am including a link for your review that will help provide information on this discussion process. As we complete the discussion and meeting process which will span most of the year; our church will formally decide if becoming a reconciling in Christ church is where God is directing us.
The following link is a good place to review information about the RIC process. https:// www.reconcilingworks.org/ric/becomeric/
As the called pastor, I ask for your prayers for our collective journey. I ask for your willingness to seek Gods growth and direction both as individuals and as a church. I ask for your willingness to be as honest, open and understanding as possible given we are in all different starting locations based on age, life experience and understanding of what it means to be the church.
If we are seeking God in prayer, scripture, worship and service no matter what happens we can be assured God is guiding and directing. If we rely upon our own efforts and understandings the challenge and change can become overwhelming. May God be our guide to finding the Spirit needed for all 2023 will bring.
All growth is difficult and understanding and change is always possible. Most often change and growth is spiritually facilitated outside our present understanding and experience. That always takes faith. Perhaps the most courageous thing we can say at any point is I am not yet where God wants me to be in terms of understanding, but we ask for the willingness to suspend the idea that as individuals or the church we have already arrived and replace it with the journey continues. May 2023 bring us a journey that is both challenging and rewarding as we seek God together and welcome the newcomer, the wounded, and world that needs the message of Gods unconditional love and grace. And we affirm our membership strengthening one another through affirmation, gratitude and prayer for the faith and service we share.
Thank you for the many actions, prayer and effort that have brought CLC to this present moment. The journey you have travelled has been amazing as you have served this community and one another through your dedication and faithfulness. As God has guided you through every transition, so will God continue to guide us all into the future.
Our collective meaning and purpose is still needed in our world and the very manifestation of God present here, now today. Thank you for being the church.