A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Looking Forward Together

I hope you all had a wonderful summer. Sherry and I celebrated with family in St. Paul, Minnesota, meeting our daughter-in-law Emily’s side of the family (a wonderful bunch). We all got to spoil Wendell. As a church, we patched up the damage following a wintertime freeze and repainted the sanctuary. The church looks marvelous (invite friends to come and see). We sent the children to Grotonwood summer camp. Invitations to come to church were handed out in communities, with volunteers taking those invitations to their own neighborhoods. We also now have a banner we can use at upcoming events in summer or winter.

The church care closet was established and will be maintained by volunteers, providing toiletries and other staple goods to those who find themselves in financial difficulties. If you see something appropriate on sale at the grocery, pick up an extra for the closet. In all these ways we love our neighbors as ourselves.

So, what is coming up from September to December this year? Sunday School and our church choir return to us on Sunday, September 10th. On Tuesday, September 19, is the International Day of Peace. We might want to open the church up that day to our community with some sort of peace activity. On Sunday, September 24 we have Christian Education Sunday.

In October, on Sunday the first, we have world communion Sunday where we could have breads from around the world for our own communion to remind us we are breaking bread together worldwide. Monday, October 16, is world food day and we could use our imaginations to decide how best to honor that day. Perhaps some of us would like to volunteer together to work for a day at a soup kitchen?

November is Native American Heritage Month and Friday the third is World Community Day. Monday, November 6, is the Baptist Women’s Day of Prayer and November 7 is election day. Veteran’s Day is Saturday, November 11, and Sunday the twelfth is Stewardship Sunday. Communities Together is planning an Interfaith Thanksgiving meal and service on Thursday, November 16, a week before Thanksgiving day.

All four weeks of Advent appear in December this year. Christmas Eve is Sunday, December 24. How do we wish to make that Christmas Eve Sunday service special this year? Looking ahead into 2024, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is Monday, January 15. We could participate that day, offering up some event to our community. I have a lot of excellent material mapping out a wide variety of events. I recommend a practical approach to exercise as a course to make available to the public. I recommend a program requiring very little expense.

There are a great many opportunities for our congregation and our community in the months ahead. What will we choose to do together?

~ Pastor Jeff