Pastoral Post 11.2.2016

Sunday was another one of those very special days at First Church. Our Music Makers turned out en masse to sing and/or play handbells in all three services. And, of course, there was the wonderful program during the 10:00 hour in the sanctuary. I am so very proud of all our staff and volunteers that make this program possible for the children of our church and community. These children are gaining an experience with music that will enrich their lives from now on. Some will be inspired to study an instrument. Some may excel and be inspired to become professional musicians, or even church musicians. Others will be inspired to sing in church choirs, praise bands, or ensembles.

Any way you view it, the Music Makers experience will make a profound difference in many lives.

Here’s one you may not have thought of. There were many families here Sunday with their children that do not normally attend church. Some indicated they found the service meaningful and will be back. So here’s another side of Music Makers—it gives an entryway into the church for folks from our community. One dad told me that he and his wife can barely get their kids up on weekday mornings to go to school, but they were up early on Sunday and anxious to get to the church to sing. “And a little child shall lead them…..” And that’s a good thing!

Sunday was also special as we celebrated All Saints Day. We named those of our church family who have died during the past year and lit a candle for each. We celebrated communion, where, I think, we are most closely linked to “the communion of saints.” And I hope many saw how special it was on All Saints to remember the “old” even as we celebrate the “young,” our saints in the making, with Music Makers.

The saints are those who help us know God better. The saints are those who had the courage, faith, and conviction to keep the church going, to envision God’s future and work toward that vision. And this church has thrived as a result. We owe much to them, to their faithfulness, and to their generosity in supporting the church and its ministry and mission.

Now it’s our turn. This Sunday we return to our stewardship theme, Giving to Grow. We will address John Wesley’s advice on money: “Earn all you can…..save all you can…..give all you can,” this week focusing especially on “save all you can.” Did Wesley mean to accumulate and amass a fortune? We’ll consider how he lived his life in this regard, and what it means to be responsible, or prudent, in our decisions. Also, Mike Blackburn, our Director of Ministries, will share dreams and goals for growth in our ministries and a tool that has been meaningful to him in praying about his giving.

Like it or not, we’re talking about spiritual issues here, because what we do with what we have is of concern to God and affects our relationship with God. It’s not just “my business”…..it’s God’s business, if I am committed and faithful in my attempts to follow Christ.

You should have received a brochure in the mail highlighting what has been happening and what we hope to happen. Please read it. Ponder it. Look at the pictures. Commit to growth if that is possible. And look for another mailing next week with a commitment card and information about Commitment Sunday on November 13.

It will be another great Sunday of worship and music and celebrating the community gathered. Prayers will be said, concerns and joys will be shared. Don’t miss it.

See you Sunday at the Growing Place!

Sandy

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