“This is the rule of the most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good…for nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for its neighbors.” – John Chrysostom (ca. 347-401)
The church has entered into a new season with two services on Sunday, Church School beginning, a returning choir and all sorts of other activities. We are a busy church with a full schedule each week as the pace continues to increase.
WE CARE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS. The church has being reaching out into the community. On the last Saturday in August volunteers welcomed college students into the church with hand-outs and a bag of homemade cookies. On the first Saturday in September we hosted one venue for the Keene Music Festival. Our music ministry and Witness and Social Justice were a part of the festival. On September 27 we were host to a BLOCK PARTY with food and music.
Being open to our neighbors is extraordinarily important. On September 19th many folks – members and non-members loaded an ocean going container that is being shipped to Zimbabwe. Our church lives in partnership with the wider church through New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ and with our mission partners there, thousands of miles away.
Our new season also brings the expanded ministry of using the new YOUTH ROOM and reaching out to college age students. The deacons are attempting to work on the membership and friends role so it us more accurate and useful. They are also hoping to focus more on visitors and follow-up. We have decided to do a 5 pm and a 9:00 pm Christmas Eve services. The 8 am service on Sunday will end November 15th.
I am encouraged that a few members of the search committee met with Council in August to share open and honest issues of concern and opportunity. We know we can improve and grow. We know we can all learn together so that this church is strengthened in its witness and in the practice of our faith. Now, after the meeting, I hope there are clearer stated issues to address and I look forward to more specificity from the Search Committee and the Council plus others so that the interim time achieves what is best for the church and its future. Help me do the job you want me to do!
Did you know that on the first Sunday of each month we will continue to celebrate communion with worship for an intergenerational family of faith? There will be no church school, only nursery offered, following the resignation of KAaron Brown, this worship format bubbled up out of the deacons and the church school committee simultaneously. It seems it is time to explore worship for all ages, develop opportunities for families to attend the entire service, free up church school teachers to also worship and expand our music ministry with a family choir.
One of the things that is both tiring and inspiring for me is to persistently encourage all the friends and members of the church to take responsibility for the well being of the church. Attend worship. Volunteer. Pray without ceasing. Speak the truth in love. Together we are so incredibly blessed. God has given you a place here and is speaking to me about the promise and the potential that is present.
It takes all of us to be employed as disciples of Jesus and seekers of the common good. We tire when we stand alone and separated. Together we support one another by activating our spiritual muscle to keep moving. I see you as leaders, prophets, teachers and participants in the circle of caring and the overflow shelter and the feeding of the hungry.
In our witness of faith with our neighbors we will grow our church. The good news is too good to keep to ourselves in such trying times of cynicism and fear-mongering, the idolatry of the individual and the exploitation of the other. Folks will take notice when we extend radical hospitality and extravagant welcome. If you need proof of God working in our midst, wait, listen, watch and be amazed.
May we go into the world with God’s blessing,
Christine S. Boardman, Interim Senior Minister