Before we rush into the New Year, I want to thank those who make St. Andrew their spiritual home and have so beautifully reflected the light of Christ in 2016. The seasons of Advent and Christmas never fail to bring the enormity of your faithfulness, service, and generosity into focus for me as I watch the church house being decorated (then un-decorated!), gifts for those in need being wrapped, children rehearsing for the annual Christmas pageant, and adults collaborating on the dozens of services and many other events that are held at St. Andrew in praise of Christ. Add to that the much longer list of things I’ve seen you do all year long for the hope of our world into which He came. And as if that’s not enough, your personal greetings and expressions of love at Christmastime remind me over and over again of the family God has made of us and how blessed I am to be part of it.
As 2017 unfolds, we obviously don’t know what the future will bring. But into it we go, walking by faith, dreaming dreams, and asking our Lord to steer us in the way He would have us go.
Not long before Christmas, the series of forums which followed last fall’s church-wide Membership Summit finally concluded. In the early weeks of the New Year, our Futures Task Force will review the feedback received and determine next steps for your consideration and our forward movement as a church on God’s mission. Based on the reports of our forum leaders, your responses were helpful, your openness was evident, and your spirit was very encouraging. Though I’m not surprised by your willingness to consider new possibilities for our ministry, neither do I take it for granted as I invite you to stand by for another chance to participate in our discernment of the Spirit’s guidance for the future of our life together.
As many of you already know, 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Believe it or not, it will also mark the 10th anniversary of the cornerstone laying for our “then” new church facilities. I wasn’t around for the Reformation, but I well remember our more recent steps toward the renewal and re-forming of our mission through a relocation and expansion of our home base for ministry. That said, I know that hundreds of you weren’t around for that moment in our history, because you were the ones we were doing it for. And so, as the year unfolds, rest assured that we’ll be thinking of how we can all celebrate the past in ways that propel us into the future for the glory of God so that still others will find themselves in the story of grace.
Also rest assured that you will be in my daily prayers, that God will make His loving presence known to you in 2017 no matter what your future holds, that you will respond with faithful worship, service, and generosity of spirit and treasure, and that in actions as well as words, St. Andrew will touch many more lives with the light of the One who gives us “hope and a future” and makes all things new in Christ!
A blessed 2017 to one and all, and many thanks again!
Love, in Christ,