Thursday, February 2, 2012

Minister's Annual Report

A year goes past and the tree grows another ring,
and as a year goes past there are other songs to sing.
And as the sun in May chases away the cold,
another year has past, another story must be told...
(from The Needfire: A Celtic Celebration Written by Rick Fox)
And what is the story we tell this year? What is the story of our life together as a community of faith? Is it a story of laughter or of tears, of hope or despair, of life or death? I admit, that was a trick question, because the story of our life together has included all of those things.

Over the past 12 months we have shared celebrations. This church has seen baptisms and marriages. It has rung with songs of praise and the laughter of children. We have also gathered people together to say farewells to long-time members of this community. We have held each other in prayer and love. We have shared the ups and the downs of life. That is part of our story.

The majority of the story lies in the everyday. The story of our life together is a series of weekly worship services, monthly committee meetings, daily conversations, regular social events. Places where we seek to hear God's voice, places where we see God at work in our midst, places where we are built up and strengthened as we seek to live as people of faith. And then there is more...

Another part of our story is our place in the community. Even as we need to ask what that place is, and what it could be, we can rejoice that we have a place. Our story is one of a building that is heavily used by community groups, with the notable addition at the end of the year of the HIV-North drop in program 2 afternoons a week. Our story is one of a people who willingly share of themselves with the community around us. A simple stroll through the lobby during this past December would have shown just how willingly we share with our community.

And if the poem outlives the poet then one could say
That tomorrow's song springs from life that's lived today...
(from The Needfire: A Celtic Celebration Written by Rick Fox)
As the circle of life continues to spin, the end of one year marks the beginning of a new. A final (for this report anyway) part of our story is that your Church Council has started including in each meeting a time to have what we are calling “Visioning Discussions”. This is time set aside specifically to look at how God is calling us to be a faith community in the 21st Century.

Having just finished a year where we celebrated 100 years of continuous ministry on this site, we now look forward to the next anniversary party (and Sarah actually asked when that would be when we are the way home from the Elks hall after the party this year). Part of our story lies in the future.

What does 2012 hold for us? Well we will spend time as a congregation exploring the question of a 1/2 time staff person. Do we need this, what would (s)he do, can we afford it? It is my hopeful expectation that the summer of 2012 will see a lift installed. What else will a new year bring? Where we are now has grown from the root planted 100 years ago. Where we go from here will grow from where we are today. May God be our leader and guide – and may we be willing to follow where God would have us go.


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