Dear Members of United Presbyterian Church:
What a joy it is to address you in this new way! We have traveled a long way over the past three years, we have gotten to know each other well, and we have learned to worship and work as one body of Christ’s followers. Now, our shared experience is being validated in official unification of the two historic churches.
I am thankful that the ecclesiastic and legal processes of unification have synchronized, so that we can move in coming weeks to consolidate our legal and financial management even as our new, unified session will begin to make decisions. We need to work on creating a new system of committees, being clear about the tasks each committee is assigned, and appointing chairs.
Most important, I believe, is that during the next several months, we need to systematically think about the nature of our life together and our mission in this new era. In 2016, almost three years ago, a joint committee wrote a “Plumbline Report” to assess the community we serve and the direction we wished to take in congregational life and mission. The Report was accepted by both sessions. Now, we need to re-visit that report, and see if we can develop a more specific set of goals as we consider where we are now.
To assist with this new process of discernment and planning, I am organizing the Gathering sessions for the Lenten season Sundays of March 17, 24, and 31 and April 7. We will meet in Miles Hall (4/7 will be held in the Massapequa Social hall) following a brief coffee hour.
March 17 How we worship
March 24 How we govern ourselves
March 31 What is the future of our buildings? Issues and ideas.
April 7 What is our Mission both local and global? How do we achieve It?
These sessions will be planned and led by me with input from elders and other members.
I will create a summary of points made and ideas brought forward. This will become a background paper for a one-day member planning retreat I hope to organize sometime in May. (I should add that this plan of mine will be discussed at the first meeting of the unified session, so it is subject to change. Stay tuned.)