As I reflect on what brought me to church once I was out on my own and had a choice about church, I keep coming back to two things. First, the awe I experience each time people worship together and open themselves to the possibility of transformation and deeper belief in the power of God. And second, the opportunity to be (and learn to be better at being) the hands and feet of Jesus together, in today’s world.
As a church, we are many, and have an incredible opportunity to show the love of God through our service to each other when in need, and to any of the many less fortunate in our community, country and world. The power of one is mighty, with God’s help; but I ask you to consider the power of 100…
- What could Faith do?
- What could we fix?
- What could we build?
- What could we give?
- With whom could we spend time sharing God’s love?
- What could we beautify?
- Whom could we teach? Feed? Encourage?
- To whom could we open the doors of this magnificent sanctuary and gathering place?
These are the questions that rattle around in my brain and heart and prayers.
- Could we build a Habitat House? A ramp for a wheelchair bound person to access his home?
- Could we give our time to work side-by-side with the wonderful group of people from ARC who clean this building each week?
- Could we love the elderly people who cannot make it to church any longer?
- Could we tutor and encourage a few children after school?
- Could we assist our neighbors and fellow members with respite care for their challenging children or elderly spouses or high need parents? Could we visit Gladys or Olive and write them notes that we are thinking about them?
- Could we continue to beautify our neighborhood by not only tending the Circle Garden, Stone Rd., and our own property, but also by offering similar assistance to our Pinnacle Rd. neighbors?
- Could we feed more hungry people?
- Could we invite the community to Vacation Bible School again, maybe during a school vacation week? Or could we collaborate with another church and take VBS to a neighborhood?
- Could we encourage or help the Boy Scout Troop that meets in our church building with any of their service projects?
- Could we raise money to support a mission trip to Cincinnati’s “Awaken the City” or to Red Bird Mission or to send extra to Helen Sheppard in Mongolia?
I believe that we CAN do any of these things. Wesley taught us to
“Do all the good you can,
- By all the means you can,
- In all the ways you can,
- In all the places you can,
- At all the times you can,
- To all the people you can,
- As long as ever you can.”
My vision for this church is that it will be servant-minded, that we will continue to take care of each other and that we will also look outward again, that we will be a community of believers who will be the hands and feet of Jesus. My family will be the first to confirm for you that I am not good at sitting still. There are few times I feel closer to God than when our church community works together: to teach our children about God’s stories, to renovate a New Orleans house destroyed by Katrina, to clean up Stone Rd. or plant a garden, to build with a Habitat for Humanity team, to donate and pack food for RHAFT, health supplies for UMCOR, or school supplies for Open Door Mission. Volunteering and serving is important to me, and it is important because it is a way for me to worship and to show gratitude for God’s love for me, by showing it to others. When Zach and Noah were younger, they used to ask why I would do so much without getting paid. Hours upon hours with the Cub Scout pack, or the college sorority students I advised in Ohio, or planning for vacation Bible or Sunday School. I have seen many, and participated in a good many, loving projects in our short time at Faith. I am reminded of the following: a church merger that united two congregations, and ultimately built a welcoming church home to open to our community; of a monthly breakfast ministry at Asbury Dining Center, of opening one of our former parsonage homes to a family who came north right after Katrina, but not before we completely cleaned and painted the entire inside of the home, and of housing and caring for that family for more than a year; of collaborating with area UMCs and sending two groups of Faith people over two years to participate in the Katrina rebuild effort in New Orleans, of sending a group of people to Cincinnati for the ‘Awaken the City’ summer ministry, of collaborating with the southwest coalition of Flower City Habitat for Humanity and building a house with a family in the Josannah neighborhood in Rochester, of hosting nine summer vacation Bible Schools, of Christmas caroling each December to area nursing homes and to our many shut-ins, of ringing bells for the Salvation Army, and I could go on. These are just the memories that my middle-aged brain could conjure this weekend. Could our church stand again wholeheartedly behind one of these, or a new mission opportunity or two, and accomplish something big?
Our community cooperation is important to God. Together, we have all the time, talents, ability, and resources to serve in some way. How will you use your gifts this year? I know in the past decade with you, that I have worked alongside.
- computer wizards,
- and just plain hard workers.
Look at the gifts we have. Together we can be His hands and feet. …What else could we accomplish together that would show others Christian love?