Our Teaching This Fall
I enjoyed our series on Jonah as we spent eight weeks looking at the forgiveness of God. You might feel it’s a little odd to go straight from that into a series on the judgment of God but there are many apparently contradictory things in our faith that, together, form the essence of why we believe Christ to be such uniquely good news.
Winter and the New Year
This Advent and Christmas, in Christ: the King; Judge; Convict; and Redeemer, we’ll be looking at what it means to have the sovereign king and judge of the universe, come looking for us in person, to offer grace and royal status to us, while he is judged and shamed in our place.
In the New Year, we’ll begin to look at some of the practical implications of this from the book of Ephesians with all that it says about living a life reconciled to Christ. That series will take us up to Palm Sunday and then after that, we’re planning a series on lies and falsehoods that the enemy has made us believe.
As I write, we’re also preparing for Advent, which is where we prepare for Christmas, and this all happens as we prepare for a New Year and prepare to prepare a new church budget and leadership team as well. I’m reminded of the scene in Spaceballs The Movie where the central character complains that they’re always preparing for things too much and so he forces them to jump into hyper-space unprepared, with predictably comical consequences.
The good news of the birth of Christ is of the utmost importance and when it is received it will turn your world upside down. A short penitential season of readying our hearts for something as radical as this is unquestionably wise. In a lesser sense, so is preparing for another year of ministry and I want to say at this early stage how encouraged I am by the vision and planning for next year.
Many of us were here a few years ago when we opened up our narthex and parlor and installed two new accessible bathrooms. I think all of us can see how those renovations transformed the way we’ve used our building all through the week for fellowship and worship together.
Now that any lingering questions about our future on this hill have been settled, it’s time to look further into the way we use our buildings and what the next season of ministry might need in order to grow and serve people more effectively.
Clearly accessibility to the building remains a really serious problem. It is hard to get in, impossible for some to receive Holy Communion at the rail, and we also have a shortage of accessible and useable meeting spaces, especially for those who cannot use the stairs.
The sanctuary and hall are scruffy, in poor repair and badly configured, and with a growing service and growing choir, it’s very difficult to move around the chancel during communion. Although the central parts of the building look great and have been sensitively repaired, there are lots of unseen issues to address soon (secret, there’s a tarp over the organ pipes to keep them dry and the parish hall has such poor electrics that we don’t even have a functional light switch!).
At this stage, we have instructed the same team of architects who designed our last renovations to conduct a review of our whole property and to suggest some preliminary solutions for us. We want something that makes it easier for those with mobility issues to access the whole place, and that provides something much better for our children and youth.
Hopefully we can share some ideas at the annual meeting in January but in the meantime please share as many of your thoughts and observations as possible with the Vestry and staff team.
In other news, I’m so grateful for the way you have been receiving both Ben Wulpi, and Ben Hughes, our new Curate and Youth Minister. God has blessed us richly with an incredibly competent and loving staff team and I’m enjoying working with these two new minsters here.
If you have a middle or high schooler in your family, they might like our Saturday night youth group or SWAG on a Sunday. My Ben is in both and as a Dad I am so grateful for this ministry.
Various Seasonal Greetings
On the basis that you might be reading this note at any time between Thanksgiving and St. Valentine’s Day: I’m thankful for your partnership in the gospel, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and I love you.
Love in Christ,