According to Mark….
The post-holiday blues are settling in all over New England as record warmth passes into more normal, sub-freezing temperatures and I can already hear the sound of New Year’s resolutions being gently broken like the crust on the overnight snowpack. So I’ve resolved to not resolve to over-promise anything to anyone. Invariably pastors will please some folks and disappoint others, so I think whatever I resolve it will be received with a mixed review. So instead, why don’t we look at what has happened over the last year at TCC that we might be rightly proud of or disappointed about.
We received a kind gift that allowed us to buy new bibles for the pews. For many years at TCC we were reading two different versions of the “Good News” Bible in the pews. Most of my study and preaching comes from more agreed ecumenical, scholarly translations, and so to keep us all on the same page, we chose the New Revised Standard Version of 1986. I hope you not just notice the difference in language, but also in the deeper meaning and closer translation to the Bible’s original texts in Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac. Don’t have an NRSV bible for use at home? Stop in and see me. We have plenty and I love giving them away.
We are doing more ecumenically with the other Christian churches in Townsend. We have successfully partnered on Blessing of the Palms on Palm Sunday, a community Hymn Sing service to benefit TEO one Sunday in July, a fun Columbus Day outing for the Youth Groups, Blessing of the Animals of Townsend on the feast of St Francis, joint Christmas Caroling, and worshipping together during Lessons and Carols to celebrate the arrival of Christ’s birth on Christmas Eve. Father Jeremy St Martin has been instrumental in this outreach and he and I pray together each Wednesday for all of you as well as collaborating future things big and small for our joint cooperation. Look for next year to include all these events plus community dinners, more community sings, and expanding our presence in Big Brothers/ Big Sisters.
With the blessing of the Reeves family, we continued to coordinate a community fundraising event now known as Greg’s Run which benefits high school kids’ scholarships. Once again we partnered with the Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic Churches and everyone pitched in to make this event a success, attracting over 250 participants and continuing one of the largest single-day events for the greater Townsend Community. We are especially grateful to all the businesspersons and merchants for their support and the countless hours of volunteers spent on the many aspects of race preparation and race day.
Finally, we voted to not only continue on our path to revitalization in the community and renewing our commitment to openness and hospitality. We are doing this through a new Spirit called the Bridge Initiative, which represents our lived-faith commitment to loving one another as Christ loved us. We are finally doing more with and living into the plan that we had for ourselves a few years ago, and will continue this in 2016 with a series on congregational healing as well as continue initiatives furthering congregational mental health with Stephen’s Ministry and taking on more active roles with our Youth communities in Townsend, whether through the churches, schools, Scouts, or wherever we can add meaning and purpose to the lives of others.
So my brothers, sisters, and friends, there’s lots going on. Some will like it, some will not. But I’d like each of us to come and give our new direction some fresh energy and not judge things right away as whether they are “working” or not. God’s church took a while to build, and change comes slowly. But change comes nonetheless. Check out our new website at tccucc.org, or our facebook page. We’re making progress. And we’d like each of you to join us in the journey. So come to New Member Sunday on January 10 and feel the new vibe, and connect our Spirit. I know you won’t be disappointed.