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Our Stewardship MILE - (L)

When I first started attending church, the pastor was a fantastic preacher. Yet, I can’t remember a single specific sermon he preached. It's not that his sermons were not meaningful or articulate. When I look back I realize that those sermons helped shape my faith even if I can’t recall them. The words of that pastor, or any pastor, were not the most important element in nurturing my discipleship and faith however.  

All these years later, what easily rises to my mind, were the sermons preached by Lay People. Marda Moore preached about baptism and her words were like cool water rushing over me. It was her sermon that nudged me to seek my own baptism. Beth Johnston took the pulpit to talk about faithful giving and her words still echo in my mind. “We give back to God because God has given everything to us.” She lived that as much as she preached it, generous with her time, money, and service. The ministry of the laity is the ministry of the church. Pastors come and go, especially in our system of itinerancy.  We have an impact (I hope) on both the church and people we serve. But the laity are the church and without the gifts and leadership of lay people there is no Body of Christ in the world. 

The beauty of the laity is like that of a stained glass window. Each piece is unique and lovely on its own, but together a stunning work of art.  Some people are called to preach, without being called to be ordained pastors. Others are called to lead committees or teams, others to hospitality, and others still to prayer and healing ministries. 

Our Bishop, Bishop Cedric Bridgeforth, says that he believes EVERY person is called to ministry of some kind.  I agree! This doesn’t mean that we are all called to ordained ministry but it does mean that God has gifted each and everyone of us to serve. Over our lifetimes this call might shift and change. Perhaps when we were younger we were called to run around with the kids at Vacation Bible Camp playing games. Now, as our bones grow weary and our steps slow down perhaps we are called to visitation or prayer. How we serve isn’t as important as the why. We are called to serve because we love God and we love our neighbors and we want our faith to be a living and vital part of our lives. 

At our church, I think of all that has happened this year. A Health Fair, Rummage Sale, Affinity Nights, Vacation Bible Camp, Choir singing in worship, the Bell Choir sharing their beautiful songs, Song Team leading worship each week, Sunday School for our kids, celebrating the first day of school with the kids from Madison, Trunk or Treat, partnering with another Releasing Friend from OPOP, the continuation of our Refugee Ministry, getting the 5th Ave house ready for new tenants, Young Adult retreats, Confirmation, an amazing Tech Team helping worship happen every week… I could go on. None of these ministries would be possible without the diverse gifts and leadership of the laity. Each and every day YOU are the church.  

I am so grateful and humbled to serve as your pastor. I get to watch as your ministry blooms and blesses so many people. This community is a better place because of this church and because of YOU! 

Thank you and God bless! 
Pastor Heather

1 Comment

Cathy Bennett - November 9th, 2023 at 5:46pm

Amen, Pastor Heather!





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