“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” –T. S. Eliot
I’m a nature documentary geek. I could spend hours immersed in any program put on by David Attenborough or Ken Burns. My partner, Jane, teases me that I’ve watched the National Parks PBS series a hundred times. That might be exaggerating just a little. But there is one dramatic nature scene that rivets me that I often return to, of an active volcano in Hawaii spewing hot magma into the ocean. (see the clip here: https://youtu.be/03RYXsoo7Gw ). To see the power of this volcano is to actually witness new land being made. It’s quite amazing. It’s on my bucket list to see that new land in-person in my lifetime.
I think about that image of “new land ahead” when I consider that we are to be the Church in this time. Our God who is continually creating a new thing is continually calling us into a good future, full of risk &and opportunity.
Central Church staff have been meeting and scheming, and are setting our sights on some great Fall programming for our life together. It is like new land as we learn to be adaptive through a pandemic, and as we learn to better embody the ways of Jesus in a culture so divided and in need of restorative hope.
Have you noticed, we have gifted persons of faith who have joined our staff? Pastor Linda Stephan, Katie Tomczyk in Adult Spiritual Formation, and Sarah Drews as our Wellness Advocate. They each bring new ideas and energy, and I hope you will fully engage with the passion and leadership they are bringing to Central’s vision – “Together in Christ, Reaching Beyond Our Doors”. You can read their bios on the church webpage HERE.
To that point, stay tuned for spiritual growth opportunities coming in the Fall. Look for classes and conversations, meal gatherings and hands-on local service projects. I am especially excited for a new initiative in our Children’s Ministry to better accommodate families worshipping in the sanctuary together. We will continue to be a “both-and” church when it comes to offering classes and worship by video as well as meeting in-person. The pandemic has awakened us to the need to cast a wider net and so engage a wider audience virtually. Who knew that Zoom would be a means for Holy Spirit to teach and draw us together!
Speaking of the Holy Spirit, I hope you’ll join every week for the August worship series “A Church On Fire: Lessons from Early Christians”. We’ll be looking at how the Spirit turned the early church on its head, inspiring and sending them to make a difference in their world. There are lessons for us here.
Let’s walk together into this new season, onto this “new land” of being Christ’s hopeful people, especially in these divisive times. The Church is needed now to speak and act for justice and mercy in our world. I am drawn to the Apostle Paul’s words to the Church in Ephesians as I serve with you, walking this new land: “But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into Christ who is the head, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”
Hopeful for all that is ahead,