The beginning of a new year is a good time to re-examine our commitments and priorities. Many of us do this in our personal lives, as we set goals for the year ahead, and make new commitments to our health, our relationships, our financial well-being, or any number of other things that we want to improve upon. It is also a good time to reflect on our shared life together, and the goals and priorities we want to set for the year ahead. At its heart, the church is a community of people who are called together to join in worship of God, and to grow in relationship with God, with one another, and with the world around us. As we enter the fourth year of our journey together, I am interested to hear your thoughts on the direction you feel called as a community of faith.
As a community of faith, we must continually ask ourselves the questions:
– What kind of community of faith are we called to be?
– What kinds of activities are we called to do as a people of God?
During the annual meeting, I had intended to do the following activity as a group discussion. However, we ran short on time, and decided to postpone the discussion portion to a later date. I am including the questions in the newsletter so that you might have some time to reflect on what you would most like to see us doing as a church. What do you participate in now that you would like to continue? What are some ideas of things you wish we were able to offer?
Whether you have been part of this church for forty years, or four months – or anywhere in between! – I hope you will take some time to read through the questions below and write down some of your thoughts and responses. In my attempt to categorize things a bit, I have thought of three primary areas of our life together: Service, Study, and Support/Social.
Through service, or mission, we seek to reach out to the wider community around us, whether they are our local neighbors, or participating in larger circles of service at the regional, national, or even global level. What are some areas of service in which you would like to get involved as a church?
Through study, we seek to nurture and develop our relationship with God through reading, discussing, and sharing reflections on the scriptures and other faith-related materials (books, film, devotionals, etc), with a small group. What are some topics you would be interested in studying as a faith community?
Through support or social opportunities, we seek to develop and strengthen our relationships with others in the community – whether they are part of the church or not. These may be one-time events, or long-term small groups who meet consistently over time. How can we best support you? What kinds of support groups, or social events, would you like to participate in, or do you wish we offered?
As you reflect on these three areas, if you have specific organizations or projects in mind, please list those as well. Remember, this is a judgment-free zone – no idea is too outlandish, wacky, or impossible, so use your creativity! I look forward to hearing your visions and dreams for the Presbyterian Church in Burlington!