Mission Study Update

It’s been a challenging time of change in the life of our church. As the news has come it, I was grateful to spend time with my friends in the small group.

The purpose of our small group meetings is to gain a realistic picture of our congregation’s place in its life so that we can make a collective decision about our direction for future ministry.

Most of the small groups are about halfway through the New Beginnings curriculum. We’ve talked about who we are now in Session 1. Session 2 covered our reactions to the New Beginnings report. Session 3 was a discussion of our community (along with the hard question of how we define our community). We are still looking ahead to sessions on “Our Church In God’s Mission”, “Discovering Our Options” and “Navigating Change”. In that last session, our small groups will create a recommendation for what direction we think we should use to go in next.

Once these recommendations are made, the small group leaders will come together to hash out the similarities and differences between our recommendations, and then use them to craft an understanding of our shared mission. We use THAT understanding to put together an idea of what kind of pastor we will need to help us accomplish the mission.

It’s a long process, but I love how it is building deeper relationships among us. I also love how the choices in our church aren’t left up to habit, or to some distant “them”, but come from the hearts of the people in our community.

If you haven’t been able to attend a small group meeting, you’re not out of luck. We still have sessions remaining, and we’d love to have you join. Reach out to me, and I’ll help you find the best one.

If you are interested in reading the New Beginnings report, here’s a link.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzuXqf_nuBMXZ3Jub3NUWEZ0clY2eGVvVjhtLUJsLU9zTXlV

As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about this process!

Brenda

Small Groups for the Mission Study

Our church is making some huge strides in listening to God’s call for us. We’re using the New Beginnings process to help us think and dream about what that call might be. The first step in that process was to invite in a New Beginnings consultant who talked to us and did in-depth analysis on our situation.

From that process, we’ve gotten an amazing report back. The next step is to go through that report together and use it to inspire our thoughts on what our future looks like. We’ll be doing this in small groups of 8 – 10 people who will meet together for several hours. We’ve set up 6 small group sessions meeting with many different schedules including:

Sunday after church
Thursday nights
Friday nights

We’ve taken information from the signup sheets and our participant lists and put together some amazing small groups. The small group leaders will reach out to their groups and confirm the meetings. I think this will be an amazing spiritual time together, as well as an exciting one.

At the end of the small group process, the leaders will bring the ideas and enthusiasm of the different groups together and see what emerges. This will then lead the church to identify what qualities we will want from our next Teaching Elder (pastor). Is it preaching? Young families? Immigrant outreach? Food social justice leadership? I’m excited to find out.

If you have any questions about the small groups or the process, please feel free to ask Brenda at church or to email her at brenda@tiltedworld.com .

New Beginnings

Dear BPC members and friends,

Our new church program year will be starting up on September 13, and the month of September will bring with it new opportunities for study, fellowship, and sharing.

Rally Day, September 13 will bring with it the start of a new Church School Year, as well as a new opportunity for study and sharing in the Adult Class. Starting September 13, I’m going to lead the Adult Class in a study on “The Power of Forgiveness”. We’ll be using a couple of different resources; one of them is a Public Broadcasting Service documentary entitled “The Power of Forgiveness”, which looks at the understanding of forgiveness from a number of religious traditions. Along with the video, we’ll also be using a book by Lewis Smedes, “Forgive and Forget”, a very pastoral look at the dynamics of forgiveness and its importance for our well being. Copies of Smedes’ book will be available for purchase beginning August 30.

Sunday, September 20 brings with it the annual Fall Luncheon, which will take a different form this year as it will be an International Pot-Luck Fall Luncheon, and it will include the kick-off for the church’s participation in the New Beginnings Mission Study process. Our consultant from New Beginnings will lead us in a time of sharing where we can identify what’s most important to us about our life together at BPC. Our preacher that day will be Boston Presbytery Resource Presbyter Cindy Kohlmann who has a very engaging preaching style which I know you will enjoy.

The New Beginnings process will ultimately result later in the fall with a series of “cottage meetings” which may take place at members’ homes and/or at the church. Those meetings will be designed to encourage our hopes and dreams for what the future of our church will look like, with each meeting group coming up with ideas for what our ministry can be in the future.

Brenda Flynn is chairing the church’s Mission Study Team, which will use the results of the New Beginnings process to put together a Mission Study document which will guide the church Pastoral Nominating Committee in its search for the next installed pastor of the congregation.

This fall will be an important time for the church to pull together, pray together, share together, dream together and work together as we discern God’s will for the congregation.

Worshipping together will be an especially important part of this journey as we pray for direction and guidance from above. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

The Peace of the Lord be with you, Mike

New Beginnings

In June, 1979, a newly-called pastor wrote in this newsletter (then called “Focus”):

There’s a lot to celebrate in new beginnings. The Bible in numerous places lets us know that God takes delight when a fresh page is opened in our lives; when we stand with one foot on a good heritage and the other poised for a new step of risk – and faith.

Funny, but these same words seem to apply as this pastor writes his final article.

I am so grateful for all these God-blessed years in ministry with the people of The Presbyterian Church in Burlington. As someone has said, I kind of grew up here. If that’s true (!), how much you’ve had to do with that!

We have shared much together. We have welcomed many, and said farewell to many, too. We have done a little good in the world – at least, I believe it, by God’s grace.

Now, we are moving on to new beginnings: Cathy and I, to discover what callings God has for us in retirement. This beloved church family, to discover God’s vision for it in fresh ways, and eventually to welcome a new pastor. I know that the future for this congregation is bright, because I know you, and I know the goodness of God.

Our Easter faith proclaims that there is the seed of a new beginning in every ending – that even the darkest realities cannot deny that hope. That is how much God has loved us, in Jesus Christ. As we celebrate together this Easter, and then our “new beginnings,” remember this.

And love one another.

Peace,
Rod