As one year comes to an end for the world, a new year begins in the life of the church with our entrance into the season of Advent and our spiritual journey to another celebration of our Savior’s birth. In the midst of all that might keep you busy throughout the month of December, I encourage you to not only make worship the center of this holy season, but also to invite someone in your life to join us in praise, share the warmth of our relationships, and experience the message that changes hearts forever.
I also want to give thanks to our Lord and to you for a remarkable year of blessing as 2018 draws to a close. This was the year in which a service in the Amharic language was added to our weekly worship schedule. Community building Bible studies were launched in Howard County that will continue in the new year. Crowds of children participated in Vacation Bible School, the Back-to-School Bash, and Trunk-or-Treat. I heard your cries for more parking during November alone and at other times throughout the year. And we welcomed children of all ages to God’s house virtually every day of every week all year long for worship, study, fellowship, and service.
2018 was also a year of transitions in our church family. We gave thanks at the retirement of our longtime Organist/Choirmaster and celebrated the arrival of a new Minister of Music. We welcomed our Director of Ministries back after a health crisis resulted in an extended absence from his life and ministry among us. We sent an Associate Pastor off with our blessing and launched a process for seeking new servants to come and join our spiritual adventure.
As we cross the threshold into another year of life at St. Andrew, there will be new challenges to tackle, new people to welcome, and new opportunities to embrace. In addition to initiatives that are already underway, there are others brewing around and among us.
My prayer is that as we come together for Jazz Vespers, the Children’s Christmas Pageant, and the numerous other beautiful and glorious worship opportunities available to us throughout the month of December, that we will look back and give thanks. And then, we’ll look forward as we cross the threshold into a new Advent, as excited as ever about the difference Bethlehem’s Child makes in life, ministry, relationships, and a future that by grace will be as bright as the promises of God.
With heartfelt gratitude and love in Christ, I look forward to meeting you at worship, celebrating Christmas again, and then serving with you as we give thanks that God is with us. Let’s make His loving presence known to the world around us in the year of our Lord 2019.
The Lord be with you+In Christ, your brother,Pastor Hricko