What an awesome holiday season we shared together here at Central. The worship and music, activities and events were filled with the joy of Christmas. On Christmas Eve over 2200 people attended services, and our Christmas Open House was packed with hundreds of friends and neighbors.
As we enter the New Year, I’m mindful of the importance having a guide to help us chart the way. This season of Epiphany, which we now enter, reminds us that there is such a guide and a bright unmistakable one at that. As the wise ones of old followed the light of a special star to the Christ child, we too, have a light which guides us to him. The light of his Spirit shines for all today. The good news is that no darkness can overcome this light. Harold Kohn writes: “Only in the darkness do we see the stars; and when the night is darkest, stars shine most brightly. It was the darkness of their times that made it possible for wise men to follow the star to the manger of Bethlehem where they found the Christ. Wise men of every age learn how to use darkness to find light and gloomiest times to find God.”
As we look forward to a new year of ministry, it’s a good time to remember Central’s Values & Vision Statement which guides our way:
“With great passion and purpose Central United Methodist Church comes together in Christ to: -Offer radical hospitality to all people in a friendly downtown church;
-Nurture an inter-generational community;
-Provide opportunities for passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity;
-Be shaped by the historic Wesleyan emphasis on a vital personal faith, social justice, ecumenism and global concern;
-Respect diverse perspectives, while uniting in Christian essentials and resolving to love.
These core values guide our vision of becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, who reach beyond our doors to have a transforming influence in our city and beyond so that others may experience the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ.”
As I look back on last year’s ministry, I see this being lived out in so many ways. Thank you for helping us bring these words to life through your prayers, gifts and service.
At the beginning of each year, we celebrate what has been accomplished and name our path for the coming year. On February 11, you are invited to our annual Town Hall and New Year, New Day Meeting. Come hear the “state of the church” and our priorities for 2017. We’ll also spend time on the topic: “Why I Quit Going to Church.” This is an issue we can do something about!
Between now and then I encourage you to take some time to read through the Vision and Values Statement slowly with two questions in mind: “Where have I experienced these words being lived out?” and “God, how are you calling me to live these values and help my church fulfill this vision?”
As we enter a new year together, may we chart our way by the light of the Bright Morning Star. For no other light will lead us in God’s path like Jesus.