The miraculous birth of a child, a light that burns unending, the longest night of the year, and seven candles lit in the darkness — these are the cherished stories of the Yuletide season. A time for gathering of family and community, feasts and gifts, caroling and rejoicing. These holy days can stir warm memories of days past and also remind of us of loss or pain. For some, the holidays are the time when loneliness, grief, and depression is particularly intense. Our Pastoral Associates and Care Ring are available if you need company, to talk with someone, or have any practical needs with which our church community might be able to help you. To ring in the winter holidays and New Year, our beloved community will be hosting a series of worship services to commemorate the many traditions of this season, spread cheer and goodwill, and cultivate peace throughout our homes and in the larger world. We hope you will be able to be with us for these many special celebrations.
We have hit the ground running in my first three months serving with you as your developmental minister. We are embarking upon many new initiatives, including a community-wide reflection on the 8 Elements of Effective Congregational Ministries to explore how we are already engaging in shared ministry and to identify ways that we can expand upon our shared responsibility for the wellbeing and vitality of the congregation. It is my hope that each group in the church will dedicate some time in the next three months to consider the ways in which they are engaging in ministry and spiritual leadership and share some of their discoveries with me and the board. We are hoping to gain a greater sense of the breadth of depth of the work of the congregation and identifies ways that we can build integration across the life of the congregation. We believe this process with strengthen the bonds within our community and help to lay the foundation for important mission discernment work down the road.
We are also endeavoring to create our first congregational promotional video and we plan to begin filming soon. We are hoping to capture some of the stories of the good work of the community and highlight our goals for our stewardship campaign. This is probably a good time to thank you for your generous contributions and pledges, and to remind you the end of the tax year is quickly approaching. We are calling our Stewardship Committee the Stewardship Design Team this year as we bringing artistic, social, and administrative dimensions to the work with our congregational video project. If you have skills in videography, directing, producing, or editing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you’d like to be apart of this exciting new project. We hope this too will help us with discernment work in the future as we learn to tell and hear the stories of our beloved community.
Let us all take a collective breath as the winter holidays approach. Let us dwell in the serenity of the season and cultivate more of it for ourselves and our neighbors. Remember to reach out to those who many be isolated or alone. If you are in need of pastoral support or interested in applying to be a Pastoral Associate, please do reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays!
With love and gratitude,