Dear Partners in Mission:
September has flown by with many encouraging things across our church and synod. Our “re-gathering” celebration on September 11th was a wonderful time of fellowship and communal support. Communities across our synod have engaged the LEAD Journey and Leadership for Faithful Innovation. On Sunday Sept. 26th, the people of Mt. Olive, Dallas celebrated their 73rd anniversary joined by companions from Christ and Emanuel, also in Dallas. Along with this, progress continues at Briarwood repairing the storm damage delayed by insurance negotiations and a new series of online Church Council training sessions was announced for the fall.
All of this is incredibly encouraging. Ministry is happening, the Holy Spirit is moving amongst us, and you, the people of NT-NL, are working together with God to proclaim the gospel and serve your neighbors. Yet in conversation with you and leaders around the country, another reality is setting in. Despite all the work, effort, and time spent, we are not going to get back to what we had in 2019. The experiences of this pandemic, the divisions in our society that have long existed but been magnified in this time, our experience of what it means to “go to church,” have changed us for good. There is no going back.
This reality, that we cannot go back, can be hard for us to accept. Just this past Sunday our lectionary brought us the story of God’s people clamoring for the fish and garlic of Egypt (Numbers 11). And a worn out Moses (“a burnt out Moses” as one of our NT-NL pastors titled their sermon) throws up his hands to God. He is done, he is tired, and ready to quit, even to die. But God wasn’t done with Moses or these people. Instead, God calls Moses and reminds him he doesn’t do this work alone and the spirit is given to new leaders to continue the work. We, too, are called to be reminded we don’t do this work alone and that we have much we can learn and apply from this time if we do so together. So I again invite you to register for our 2021 Leadership Convocation. We will in this time think about what we have learned and how we have reacted in this time. To gain tools for applying and ensuring we don’t waste this disruptive opportunity to meet new people, engage the world in new ways, and be reminded it is God’s spirit that leads us forward. And in the spirit of the 70 it is open to all, lay and rostered, online or in-person, who desire to engage.
I pray you have a blessed week, #InMissionTogether,