Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - September 18, 2019

We are the church! As I met with the stewardship team to talk about this worship series, we talked a lot about what we needed to share and emphasize in this chapter in the life of the church. We talked about what encourages us, what inspires us, and how we can encourage more of that. The overarching message that kept surfacing is “we are the church.” Not the building, but the people. You and I, all of us together, are the body of Christ—the church.


We talked about the saints who came before us—some 10 years ago, and some 80, 90, and 100 years ago. We’re here because of them. They taught the faith. They sang in and led worship. They built and maintained the buildings. They invited new folks and cared for each other in ways that were life-giving and meaningful—enough that people wanted to keep at it—to keep being the church. And here we are!


In the years since our church was founded, our denomination went from The Methodist Episcopal Church to the Methodist Church and then the United Methodist Church when we merged with the Evangelical United Brethren in 1968. We also saw new expressions of Methodism break off to form a variety of other denominations that are still vibrant and vital today including the Church of God and Christ and the Church of the Nazarene. Despite all of those changes, we are here today—still the church!


As a denomination, we were led by the Methodist women to advocate for the Prohibition. Our churches struggled with segregation and integration—sometimes in ways that reflected Christ and sometimes in ways that reinforced prejudice. The denomination argued for 40 years about whether or not to allow women to be ordained and in 1956 finally approved it.


Over the years we have fought for equal rights, built schools and universities, fought Apartheid in South Africa, opened clothes closets and soup kitchens, taught English as a second language, participated in relief efforts after natural disasters around the world through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and been joined by the NBA to fight malaria throughout Africa.


As the church, we have a calling and a mission to use what God has given us and share the light, hope, and love of Christ in the world. Throughout the Fall, we explore what ministries we want to do in the coming year and how we will make those happen. We are seeking servants to be a part of committees and teams—making a commitment to help us brainstorm, create, reform, and execute our programs. We are looking for prayer partners who will uphold our ministries throughout the year with intentional time focus on our church during the week. We are looking for new ideas that will spark our imagination and faithfulness as we grow in our discipleship. We are planning our budget and soliciting financial pledges so we can be faithful stewards of the gifts being offered—trying to take the next best steps for our church without spending beyond our means. And, we are continuing to discern our way forward with our conference and our denomination in what has presented as a very tenuous and trying time for many in the church.


We take all of that seriously and hope to do our best in leading us, as a church, into the future so we can continue to be a voice of hope and encouragement proclaiming “We are the church!”

Pastor Debbie


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