Dear Members and Friends,
Grace and peace be with you this Advent and Christmas season. I pray that you and yours can cultivate space during this busy time of year to reflect on the coming of Emmanuel – God with us – in the awe and mystery of Christ’s birth.
As my first year as your pastor draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about what lie ahead in 2019. In November, we concluded our 2019 stewardship campaign and visioning process focused on “Mending the Divide(s).” We dialogued and dreamed together about what our four core values of beauty, justice, education, and compassion mean for us as a congregation and the community we are called to serve.
I hope you can join me and two Session members for our final congregational town hall scheduled for December 16 in Niccolls Hall after worship. Please continue to bring your questions, comments, and reflections on this vision statement and core values to this final congregational conversation of the year.
In January I will be convening the Session, mission team leaders, and key staff for a one-day leadership retreat focused on turning our visioning conversations into what I am calling a “Map of Ministry.” Like any good map, this document is meant to help give us direction for the road that lie ahead. I will be making this document available to the Session and congregation by December 18.
For those looking for some good reading material for your new year’s book list, let me suggest the book Mending the Divide(s) by Jon Huckins and Jer Swigart. This book details practical ways Christians are being creative in sharing God’s love in a conflicted world. As we seek to be a healing, peacemaking, and justice-seeking congregation for the 21st century in St. Louis, this book will continue to stimulate conversation and offer practical steps for how we can “wage peace” in our neighborhood and world. More information about this book and book discussion groups will be available early in 2019.
Until then, may God richly bless you with Christ’s peace this Advent and Christmas.