“What is God calling our congregation to do and be in this time and this place?” That’s a question to be asked and pondered over and over again by any church. But how do we realistically and practically go about answering it? I mentioned last month that your Session was considering the “New Beginnings” process, which helps assess a congregation’s strengths and challenges as it seeks to discern God’s call into future. The goal of the process is to put the congregation on the road to sustainable Christian witness and action within its community.
I’m pleased to report that the elders recently voted unanimously to participate in the New Beginnings Congregational Assessment Service, which is an important first step in answering the question at the beginning of this article. The assessment service, along with a follow-up strategic interpretation with the Session and other church leaders, will enable us to envision a new path for our future. With the guidance of God’s Spirit, we hope to develop a unified vision of the future together and to open ourselves up to new possibilities.
Please mark the date of Wednesday, November 2, 2016 on your calendar as the day when the congregation will be invited to share your views on the future of South Presbyterian Church. I’m excited about this intentional discernment process and trust that the Spirit will guide us toward a faithful and fruitful path.
This month of October brings us to our annual Stewardship season. Our theme for this year is Fearless Generosity. It’s based on Ephesians 3:20-21 and explores how God has blessed us more abundantly than we can imagine. Sunday, October 9 is the kickoff of our Stewardship emphasis and more details are provided in this newsletter.
This month also marks a big transition in the church office. As most of you know, Laurie Eaton retired on September 30 after more than 29 years as South Church’s secretary, office manager, and administrator. It’s difficult to put into words how Laurie’s gifts have greatly blessed both members of the church and the ministry of this congregation. I’m personally very grateful for how she’s been a wonderful staff partner for the past 16 months. She will be greatly missed and we pray for an exciting and fulfilling next chapter in her life.
We are also blessed to be welcoming a new staff member this month—Lisa Hayes, who will be joining us beginning on October 10 as our church administrator. Lisa is a native and resident of Dumont and comes to us with experience both in a church office and as a bookkeeper. We are delighted to have her join the South Church family!
Finally, I want to thank so many of you who reached out in the past few weeks following the recent and unexpected death of my mother. Your kind words and supportive notes and cards have been a welcomed boost during a difficult time. I especially want to thank Fred Toeppe for filling the pulpit for two Sundays! The past few months has been a time of loss for me personally but it has also been a time of gratitude for the remind of how God’s grace and mercy never fail.