From the Pastor:
I am pleased to announce that our two congregations will be presenting our Plumbline Report to the Presbytery Committee on Ministry on Tuesday, February 7 at 2 p.m. in the Presbytery headquarters in Commack. Assuming that our report is approved, we will be placed on the docket of the Presbytery meeting that will be held on Tuesday, March 21. Presbytery will move to appoint a “commission,” which will be a small group drawn from both churches and from the Presbytery at large. The commission will do a lot of the detail work involved in arranging the merger, such as the legal processes that will be necessary to dissolve two congregations and bring a new one into existence which will “inherit” the buildings and assets of the two older congregations.
While the commission is working on the details, the rest of us will be preparing for life together in the new congregation. I am planning a series of small, week-day evening communion services during Lent, at which we will share the Lord’s Supper with people from both churches. I will invite each of you to a specific service either in a home or at one of our church buildings. Before partaking of communion, we will spend some time getting to know each other better and to talk about our hopes and fears for the future of our new congregation. We will pray for the success of our new enterprise.
Please get out your copy of our Plumbline Report. We mailed it to all members right around January 1, and I hope you still have yours. If not, please give me a call, and I will get another one to you. The third section, “What is God Calling us to Do?” includes several commitments we are making to prepare ourselves for a dynamic new way of being church. You will see in those paragraphs several important goals:
1) Deepening our worship experience through the use of silence, audiovisual aids and other innovations;
2) Training ourselves in conflict management;
3) Working to make our congregation truly open and welcoming to all inquirers;
4) Training ourselves to do effective outreach to people in our community including learning how to utilize modern forms of communication to stay connected with each other and to share our invitations with a wide audience;
5) Exploring the best ways to continue our commitment to the welfare of children in our communities, possibly moving toward comprehensive child care service;
6) Taking seriously the needs of our aging neighbors, many of whom are isolated and struggling with depression as well as physical infirmities.
With the cooperation of the sessions, I will be organizing events and opportunities to pursue these goals in coming months. This will be an exciting and challenging year, and I urge you to think of it as an adventure in the life of faith, something that will carry Christ’s community far into the future. Yes, we are blessed to be here, in this place at this time! Thanks be to God.
A special note on current events:
It is difficult to talk about politics in the context of the church. We all understand that we do not want political differences to get in the way of our fellowship in Christ, yet many of us feel strongly one way or the other about recent events. I think it is important to recognize that our national political life has entered a time of unprecedented confusion and conflict. If you find the news these days to be even more upsetting than usual, I want you to feel free to talk to me about it. It is always good to be able to share our concerns about public affairs with a friend and to pray together. Discussing things in a non-judgmental atmosphere helps to lower our anxiety level, and we can be reminded of the enduring value of Christ’s teachings and the spiritual and emotional comfort we gain from the presence of the Holy Spirit.