From the Pastor
Hello FCC friends,
I hope you all are having a wonderful week so far with many God sightings. As many of you know one of the projects I have worked on this year has been to explore how the church practices congregational care. I feel honored to have been able to care for this community, to have been cared for by you all, and to be able to observe the care you all extend to each other.
I did not have to search long to discover that this community already has a strong culture of care. I have seen this year the community care for those who are homebound, those who are hospitalized, those who are new to the church, and of course for me as your student intern.
As a church we care for one another by helping each other see God’s movement in our lives. We recognize that different times in our lives require different kinds of care. We recognize that seeing God in our lives during ordinary times requires a different kind of engagement with one another and God than seeing God in our life during a time of crisis and sickness. We hope to care for all people in our community during all times of life.
So how do we do this? We care for one another in ordinary times by helping people notice holy moments in our everyday, habitual life and through providing opportunities to form deeper connections and deeper relationships with people in our church community. One place I have seen care in ordinary times is at Table Talk. Table Talk offers a weekly way to connect to other members and friends of the church. We check in with one another and find out about what is happening in our lives and we often offer up prayers of thanksgiving before our meal. Other groups in the church offer connections in other ways – Vintage Bunch, Agape, CMF, outreach, small groups, etc.
We care for one another in transitional times by acknowledging times of change in our lives and by helping one another see how God is moving with us in these transitions. We do this by offering a blessing to those who are going to college or basic training, we place a flower on the lectern to recognize a birth in our family, and by offering a Longest Night service for those who have lost loved ones or who have lost an important relationship from divorce or separation by distance. In times of crisis and sickness we visit, offer prayers, and bring meals. When we visit a member of the church we are reminders of God’s presence, we are a part of their greater community who is thinking about them and caring for them.
I hope this language of care resonates with you and with this community. It is merely an articulation of what I have seen you all doing all year long. There are many ways we care for one another, ways that the community comes together to help one another see God. Although we need different caring for different times we always need care and always need support in seeing the movement of God in our lives. This is what it means to be church together.
Peace be with you,
A Note from Our Pastor
Earlier this year, I presented a request to the personnel committee that I take a one-month unpaid leave of absence from the church this summer. This will give me a chance to spend some uninterrupted time with my family at a time of the year when things are generally relatively quiet at church. The personnel committee was very supportive of my request, as was my Pastoral Relations Committee. The board approved the request at its meeting on March 20.
I’ll be away from church starting June 20 and returning the week of July 25. A variety of talented preachers will fill the pulpit and lead worship on Sundays while I’m gone, and the elders will continue to care for those in the congregation who need extra support. Melissa will handle day-to-day operations in the office during the week, and I’ll be available in the case that a pastoral emergency comes up.
I am well aware that this schedule is a luxury not afforded to all working parents, and I’m grateful for the flexibility and trust you all have given me, as well as the encouragement to find ways to best balance the needs of my family with the needs of the church. If you have any questions about this arrangement, I’ll be happy to talk with you further, as would David Barnette, chair of the personnel committee, or Madison Steadman, chair of my Pastoral Relations Committee.
Many, many thanks.