It has been a BUSY and BEAUTIFUL month of activity at Faith! Please see the Note of Thanks in this newsletter and take a moment to reach out and add your appreciation to one another for all you have each done, and are doing, to BE the life and ministry of Faith Church!
Our first Hybrid Worship Service, June 27th, was a great day of celebration with 48 present in person and another 18 with us on Zoom. We know even more watch the recordings of our services after the fact.
We had many, many guests visiting us and trust we will be a place of excitement, welcome, and inclusion helping them to all feel swept up into our Faith Family, extending the love of God to them in whatever ways we can!
We have two of these long-time visitors, Lauren and Izzy, who will be officially joining us as a members in the next few weeks as soon as we can get that scheduled in our services!! Be watching next month’s newsletter for more information about each of them, and make a point to reach out and welcome them and their loved ones into our family.
As we await the time when it is felt to be safer to sing indoors together, we will continue working to have a once-a-month outdoor Hymn Sing (with even more shade!!) after an abbreviated indoor worship service so we can blast out singing joyfully to our heart’s content. It’s also a great way to get the attention of and minister to folks waiting in line for tacos next door!
We continue to seek other ways to make our presence known in this community that needs and wants a place to live out faith through service, justice for everyone, and inclusion of all. Again and again, we hear visitors say, “I’ve been in this community for years and no idea you were here” or “How did we never know that a progressive church like Faith existed?!” It’s time to stop being the best-kept secret in town.
If you feel called to participate in a protest or speak up on behalf of some issue, let’s organize it on our property. If you have a letter to the editor about an issue of advocacy or activism you wish to write, make yourself known as a part of Faith Church.
If you have posts to share on social media that speak to the values we hold as a church, please send them to me. Let’s get creative and make our voices heard so that others can find this place that has so much meaning and so many gifts for us.
Finally, we are in the process of re-forming our Pastoral Search Committee and ask for your prayers and participation. The process of discernment during the transition of ministers is crucial to examining where Faith has been in the past, what’s currently working, what no longer serves, and where God is calling Faith to go next. That process will include asking each of you for your input into these questions. It is time to dream, to vision, and seek God’s direction and energy.
The information we collect will also help us to apply for Renewing Church Grants from the UCC this coming September that could provide a significant boost to our coming ministry! I once served on the UCC National Committee that awarded New and Renewing Church Grants and, I can assure you, even halfway decent applications stand a great chance of funding with lifetime grants (not loans, but grants that are given and do not have to be paid back!) available up to $100,000.
To find out more about this process, what’s involved, and what’s possible for us, go to https://www.ucc.org/what-we-do/justice-local-church-ministries/local-church/mesa-ministerial-excellence-support-and-authorization/ministers/ministers_local-church-leaders-2/grow-your-church/.
My friends, I need all of us partnering together to determine the future leadership, ministry, and direction of Faith Church. It cannot be upon your Designated Term Pastor, alone, to drive and direct this process.
We also cannot make the assumption that I will be remaining past the end of our contract in December, as these other steps of discernment about Faith’s past, current life, and future ministry must first occur. Only then can the conversation even begin regarding the skills, qualities, and qualifications Faith needs in whomever God will call next as your settled pastor.
As we engage in this process, together, Faith Church will only mature, deepen, become more unified and an even more powerful witness to God’s radical and wasteful love in our world. Each of you is an important part of Faith’s leadership.
No longer can today’s churches be run by a pastor who does it all, or even a small group of people who do everything. That model quickly becomes toxic to everyone involved. As each of you determines which of your gifts God is calling you to use to bolster the life of Faith Church, a rich, healthy, diverse tapestry will be woven that will prove so strong that nothing will be able to break it.
May God bless us as we walk this exciting journey of discovery and possibility together. I covet your prayers, as you have mine.