I am very grateful to our youth group and the PK choir for giving us an inspiring and thoughtful worship service last Sunday. I know they made a lot of parents, grandparents, and church “aunts” and “uncles” very proud. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a congregation to raise a Christian. Thanks be to God that we have so many committed, faithful people who give so generously of their time and love to nurture the children we baptize and play an important role in their faith formation. A special word of thanks goes to our Sunday School teachers, youth advocates, and PK leaders. Well done!
We finished the annual report this week, and Virginia, our editor, has already posed it below if you would like to peruse it before Sunday’s annual meeting after worship. It contains reports from our session ministry teams, deacons, groups, and staff. It also includes the final budget report for 2019 plus our annual statistical report. The numbers were very good this year. We received 28 new members, and the 2019 budget ended the year with a small surplus. We will also be presenting the 2020 budget which the session approved a few weeks ago. Because of the generosity of our new members from Milner, we have been able to address a lot of deferred maintenance that will stand us in good stead for several years to come. And of course Virginia worked her usual magic with many photos of church members involved in ministry and fellowship.
I hope you will join us on Sunday for the meeting. The Session and Stewardship Team are serving homemade soup, sandwiches, and dessert. And, as a special treat, I will not be playing my saxophone! But I will preach a sermon in worship on Sunday that deals with the heart and soul of the Christian faith and life. It is the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 where he tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Salt enhances the flavor of food and preserves it as well, and light enables us to navigate through a dark world. Before electricity, the world generally shut down after sunset. But with electricity a whole new world opened up. What I think Jesus was trying to say to his followers – and to us – is that God intends for us to make a difference in the world. God has given us all different gifts and wants us to use those gifts to help make the world a better place for all.
I have always been bothered when economists label us “consumers.” We are far more than that. The main purpose of life is not to consume things, it is to glorify God and enjoy God forever. We are put here to love God and neighbor and even strangers and enemies.That is how Jesus lived and that is the life to which he had called us. God calls us to take up citizenship in a new Kingdom where the values of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control are far more important than power, wealth, fame, and self-indulgence.
But, of course, I am preaching to the choir. You already know that; that is how you live – which is why I am proud to know you.
On Sunday, February 9th after worship in the Fellowship Hall, we’ll highlight the ministry and mission accomplished in 2019, review the Session-approved budget for 2020, and vote on the terms of call for the pastor. It will also be a time of fellowship, with a light luncheon of soup and sandwiches provided by the Stewardship Team.