"I wish that all the LORD'S people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!" --Moses, Numbers 11: 29
Yesterday, August 26, your Church Council gathered for their regular monthly meeting...but it really wasn't "regular" at all. The work that the Council took on yesterday was the next step in a process that began all the way back in March 2016. Under the leadership of then Church Council Chair Linda Powell and Vice Chair Harry Lowell, the Church Council was given a new directive under the newly adopted Church By-Laws: "The Church Council shall be the executive body of the church and shall act for the congregation between annual and special meetings of the church, and shall serve as the coordinating body for the church and carry out its long-range goals, mission and programs."
Over the last 2 and a half years, the Church Council has met regularly and done the hard work of claiming this new role they serve in the church, providing the directional and missional energy for the church in between Annual Meetings. As with all new enterprises, there was a lot of Basic Operating Procedure that needed to be figured out. We had a lot of conversations about authority--who is authorized to make what kinds of decisions--inclusion--who is in on these decisions, who gets to have input?--and, yes, direction--where are we going as a church?
A lot of these questions are ongoing, they will continue to be sorted as we journey through this world together as God's People in this particular place. Yesterday, under the leadership of current Council Chair Jon Carter and Vice Chair Mary Jane Rowan, the Council began wrapping their arms around that last question--Where are we going as a church?--which the Council has identified as the BIG question that needs answering before we can do anything else.
Yesterday, more than a dozen church members gathered in the Parish House to begin formulating this picture...the destination which they will lead our church to in the near future.. The more they talked, the more energy there was in the room, and the more creative and ambitious their ideas!
It's a reminder of what has been true since the dawn of time: That each and every one of us possess the ability to discern God's will for us. When a few random outsiders were given the ability to prophecy in Moses' time, his people thought Moses would be enraged by this. Moses shocked them all when he said, "What did you think? That I would be envious? I wish ALL OF YOU would prophecy! WE are ALL God's people! It's not up to me alone." The Church Council has begun the work of envisioning this new direction for the church...and it is clear through their time together yesterday that God is present in this place...that God is ready to do a new thing through each of us in this huge transitional era in which we live. There is new hope and new possibility on the horizon...it's just a matter of helping to name what that looks like...so we can all work toward the same destination together.
Beginning just after Labor Day, we are welcoming old friends, current members, and brand new strangers alike into our church, to learn and work together. We're getting Back To Basics, just in time for the new school year: What do we mean by Covenant? What is Stewardship? What does it mean to be a member of a church? What commitments are required of us? What rewards can we expect? What does it look like to be human in this time and place?
Through our "101" series, we are providing easy opportunities for people of all ages and experiences to join in these conversations and to JUMP IN to this Way of Life.
But even before all that...beginning today...don't be surprised if a Church Council Member, or other leaders in our congregation, reach out to you to ask the question: Where do you see us going in the next year? 5 Years? 10 Years? Tomorrow?