Adventures for January 2018, Newsletter Article

Adventures…January 2018

I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43: 19, NRSV)

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2018!!!

To be totally honest, after the year we had in 2017, I am ready for a clean slate and fresh beginning.  As with each new year, all of us have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and experience a new beginning.  I always come into each new year with a sense of hope and optimism, although I am aware that we don’t always know what to expect what will happen in each new year.  I do my best to trust God and follow God’s lead, even though it may involve going outside my comfort zone or into places I don’t necessarily want to go.  However, I know that if I’m going to grow as a person and a follower of Christ, I ultimately must go into those places and even through the deepest valleys at times.  Still, God will be there before us to make a way through those deserts and valleys, as well as the rough times in our lives.  It doesn’t mean those rough patches will go away, but we can gain a sense of peace and assurance when we come to fully rely on and trust in God. 

As we jump into 2018, this is a good opportunity to cast our vision for 2018, trusting God in the new, established, and in-between.  We did a good job coming up with several attainable ideas with many great and wonderful ideas expressed.  We will be having another planning retreat in the near future, so stay tuned to next month’s “Quill” and on Sunday mornings.  What kind of new things are we looking for God to do in our church in the meantime?  What are some opportunities that God may be calling your name to serve? 

With the increase in children in worship and Sunday School, is God calling you to teach?  This coming Fall, we will have a need for a middle school Sunday School class for the first time in quite awhile.

This January, I would also like to incorporate acolytes in worship again (acolytes help supplement the ushers, light the altar candles, and assist the pastor in parts of the worship service as assigned).  I would like to have a short acolyte training following worship January 14 for any kids 3rd grade and up, so watch the church calendar and Sunday’s bulletin and mission opportunities.  We are also hoping to get a small group for children K-6 once a week, but need helpers and volunteers to make it happen.  The vision is to have this be a time of Bible stories, singing, recreation, and snacks.   We will also have Vacation Bible School this summer and planning will be starting shortly.  How about youth ministry (jr. high/high school)?  Might God be calling you there?  For adults, we will continue the Thursday morning Bible study with Charlotte Walters, although am thinking of having a Wednesday evening group for working adults and young adults (the 18-40 group) at 4:30 and lead into Community Supper.  Stay tuned!! 

Worship is an important part of the life of our church and it’s a time I like to call a ‘recharge of our spiritual batteries.’ Regular worship is essential on our Christian journey as it is a time to learn, sing, pray, and be together in community and is done best in community.  If you haven’t been to worship in awhile, I want to invite and encourage you to come to worship on Sundays.  I do understand that there are factors that keep us from attending regularly, such as work schedules, or health and I’m aware there are other factors too which are understandable.  Is God calling you to serve as reader, usher, greeter, sing in the choir, or ring in the bell choir, help decorate the altar at different points throughout the year?  There are opportunities to serve in worship and the arts or in welcome & hospitality. 

Although we are seeing some new energy and quite a few new faces in our church, we have a number of people who cannot make it to church or church activities as regularly as they used to, but still want to stay connected.  Is God calling you into caring ministries?  While I will do hospital visits if I’m aware that anyone is in the hospital here in Quincy, Portola, Reno, or Chico, I am not always able to get out and about to people’s houses as much as I would like which is where our caring ministries plays an important role.  Barbara Blust coordinates a team of lay people who do home visitations and will sometimes accompany me on some of my visits, but it is also important that we take of each other in the church.  If you are interested in being a part of caring/visitation ministries, come and see Barbara or myself. 

As you can see, we have some wonderful opportunities ahead in the coming year and I am excited about all of the possibilities that are ahead in 2018.  Will we succeed in each one?  Maybe, maybe not.  Except we won’t know unless we try and another thing is, it’s okay if something doesn’t work out as we originally planned, as maybe God had something else in mind.  The important part is that we tried.  More importantly, we can talk and get excited, although we also need people whose hearts are strangely warmed be willing to step up and take the lead and run with it.  All of have gifts and our lay leaders, lay leadership development team, and myself are happy to talk with you and guide you along the way. 

Finally, if you have ideas for new ministries, talk with me, our lay leaders Marty Byrne and Leslie Mikesell, or Pastor Ray.  Not all ideas can always be incorporated immediately or may require additional steps before implementing, but I am eager to hear your ideas and will also encourage us to step out of the box a little where we can.  We will definitely have our ups and downs throughout 2018, yet I’m excited to see where God leads us and what new things God may have in store for us here in Quincy in the year to come. 

Peace & Blessings,
Pastor Andrew

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