Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
Dear Friends and Partners in the Gospel:
The year 2017 is coming to a close. For St Philip’s Church, it has been a year of transition. We’ve said goodbye to our pastor of the past few years, given thanks for her teachings and her pastoral care for us, wondered about how things would be for us now, what directions we might take, what we will keep and what we will let go. We’ve thought about who we are, and who we want to be. We’ve tried a few things, and learned some lessons from how they went. We’ve brought some things to an end.
And then we planted some seeds: we wrote a description of ourselves, our values and our dreams; we commissioned a small group of people to seek a new pastor to partner with us in ministry; we began a series of events to help us reflect upon the inclusiveness of our welcome; we decided to develop a new avenue for ministry to families through a mid-week program for children and adults. We’ve found that we have a reservoir of commitment within our congregation, as people have come forth to make this ministry work, and we’ve experienced some success and expressions of appreciation from community families.
Now a new year is opening up before us. Our mid-week LOGOS program has brought new families into fellowship with us. Our pastoral search committee is interviewing pastors of many different backgrounds and gifts. Soon we will commit ourselves to a common vision with one of them. We do not know where that vision will take us, or how it might be amended as time goes by. We have some notion that there will be successes and disappointments along the way, but we also have the feeling that it is God’s work that continues to call us. As your transitional pastor, I feel honored to be here with you in this time.
Isaiah’s warning about remembering the former things does not mean that we should not remember the good things God has done. Only we cannot allow our memories to limit our vision of the future. The good news that comes from God never intends to bring back the “good old days.” It comes instead to lead us in new pathways in which we too will change, according to the rhythm of God’s grace.
Allen M. Fluent
First Sunday of Epiphany Season
Sunday morning, January 7, 2018 is the day of the liturgical year for remembering Jesus’ baptism in the service of worship. Since this is the first Sunday of the new year, it is also a day when we at St Philip’s Church will celebrate Holy Communion. As a part of our worship this Sunday, we will remember our own baptismal vows (or the vows our parents took on our behalf). We will reaffirm our commitment, and experience the sign of baptism as the assurance of God’s grace in the Christian fellowship.