From the Pastor’s Desk: August 2023

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From the Pastor's Desk

“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? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Greetings St. John UCC and St. Philip’s UCC!

The first week of July, I gathered with two thousand of our UCC siblings from across the country in Indianapolis for our denomination’s bi-annual national gathering: General Synod. These verses from Isaiah served as the thematic scriptural guidance for this convening of the UCC.

For those at St. Philip’s paying close attention, you might recognize this scripture passage from the first newsletter I contributed to way back in December of 2022 (before we began sharing a newsletter for both congregations). We were just beginning our ministry journey together, and just about everything felt like a “new thing.” Now, eight months later, new things continue to emerge and grow, even as we establish and live into familiar patterns and routines.

That’s the beauty of this scripture passage: it’s always true! God is always doing new things, always making ways in the wilderness, always making rivers in the deserts. It was true for us in December, it’s true for the UCC in all its settings, and it will continue to be true each day the sun rises over the horizon again.

At General Synod, the UCC elected its first ever woman as General Minister and President of our denomination: Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson. Our next General Synod will be in Kansas City in 2025, and then following that, the UCC voted that General Synod will be moved to a three year rotation (instead of two). Many resolutions were discussed, debated, and voted upon that call the Church to advocate for the wellbeing of all God’s beloved children and creation. We worshipped, we fellowshipped, we learned, we listened, and we leaned in toward the new things God might be doing in the world, and which God might be calling us to nurture, build, and grow.

Gabe and I attended as visitors—no voice or vote, just back pew sitters geeking out about the deliberations of a church we love. If you enjoy geeking out about this stuff as much as I do, the UCC’s website has a wealth of information about all the business General Synod covered. I appreciate the gift of time to go and participate in this important gathering of our denomination! Indeed, sharing with colleagues scattered across the country about the new things God is doing in and through St. John UCC and St. Philip’s UCC was an incredible blessing! (I may have gushed about how awesome y’all are on multiple occasions…).

May we give thanks that God never ceases to do new things, and that we get to constantly witness, experience, and participate in the new things God does around, in, and through us! Watch for a new thing today, friends. And then find something else new tomorrow. Keep going until you run out of new things to discover (spoiler alert: there will *always* be something new to discover!).

Grateful for yesterday’s new, today’s new, and tomorrow’s new,
Pastor Laura