• October

    The Friedens’ Church Council has recommended the following as a statement of focused mission:

    Friedens’ Mission: To share the love of Christ.

    With Focus: In our second century of church life we will prayerfully commit to:
    1.         STAYING FOCUSED on our mission through welcoming, inspiring and meaningful WORSHIP.
    2.         GOING DEEPER in DISCIPLESHIP as the means of spiritual transformation to become the people Christ calls us to be.
    3.         REACHING WIDER with Christ’s love into the COMMUNITY through service in our LOCAL SCHOOLS.

    So, why is this statement being offered for the congregation’s consideration and input? Over the last year the church council and ministry teams and others have shared in a variety of conversations regarding renewal of Friedens’ vitality in a new century. One of the lessons we have learned is that congregations with the best chance for vitality are those that stay focused on their mission.

    Why are these three topics highlighted in this statement of focused mission? The members and friends of the church who have shared in these discussions believe that these three topics represent essential activities: worship, discipleship and service. In other words, if we fail to practice these activities we cease to be a church of Jesus Christ.

    Over the next three months, I will write about each of the three topics. This month I’m pleased to share some ideas about staying focused on our mission through welcoming, inspiring and meaningful worship.

    The church cannot exist apart from worship. Worship is the place we come together as a community of faith to: praise God, reconnect with the living Spirit of Christ, learn from our ancient scriptures, deepen our relationship with one another and with the Divine through prayer, celebrate the rites and sacraments that give our lives sacred meaning, express the awe and wonder of the Holy One through music and the arts, and find inspiration to recommit to living Christ’s way of compassion, acceptance and integrity. Worship is essential to our Christian faith.

    Furthermore, the statement directs us to emphasize welcome, inspiration and meaningfulness in our services at Friedens. We want to knock down barriers that would make participants in worship feel unwelcome. We are dedicated to planning services that allow plenty of room for the Spirit to inspire and transform. We are committed to the idea that God desires to engage the whole of our lives in worship—heart, head, body and soul, a meaningful integration.

    Some have described this statement of focused mission like a stool with three legs.  If one of the legs is missing the stool falls. This statement insures that worship will continue to be strong at Friedens UCC, helping the church stand strong.

    So, what are your thoughts about this statement of focused mission, especially the first topic of worship? Do you need further clarification? Would you like to add or subtract an idea or two? I’d like to know what you are thinking. I’d like to invite your prayerful consideration of this statement.

    Your partner in sharing the love of Christ, Pastor Marc
  • November

    The Friedens’ Church Council has recommended the following as a statement of focused mission:
    Friedens’ Mission: To share the love of Christ.
    With Focus: In our second century of church life we will prayerfully commit to:
    1.         STAYING FOCUSED on our mission through welcoming, inspiring and meaningful WORSHIP.
    2.         GOING DEEPER in DISCIPLESHIP as the means of spiritual transformation to become the people Christ calls us to be.
    3.         REACHING WIDER with Christ’s love into the COMMUNITY through service in our LOCAL SCHOOLS.
    So, why is this statement being offered for the congregation’s consideration and input? Over the last year the church council and ministry teams and others have shared in a variety of conversations regarding renewal of Friedens’ vitality in a new century. One of the lessons we have learned is that congregations with the best chance for vitality are those that stay focused on their mission.

    Why are these three topics highlighted in this statement of focused mission? The members and friends of the church who have shared in these discussions believe that these three topics represent essential activities: worship, discipleship and service. In other words, if we fail to practice these activities we cease to be a church of Jesus Christ.

    Last month I wrote about staying focused on our mission through worship. This month I’d like to offer a few words about the importance of going deeper in discipleship. Discipleship is a term we use in the church to describe living our lives in the way of Jesus. It is living in a way that puts Jesus’ teachings into daily practice—teachings like turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, loving neighbors and enemies and forgiving those who harm us. Of course, this is a meaningful but also a very challenging way to live.  In fact, we need help to do it. That is where going deeper is so important. The deeper we go in our relationship with Christ through worship, prayer and study the more we are open to being influenced by Christ’s living Spirit.  It is that influence that transforms us into the kind of people who live Jesus’ way.

    Some have described this statement of focused mission like a stool with three legs. If one of the legs is missing the stool falls. This statement insures that discipleship will continue to be strong at Friedens UCC, helping the church stand strong.

    So, what are your thoughts about this statement of focused mission, especially the second topic of discipleship? Do you need further clarification? Would you like to add or subtract an idea or two?  I’d like to know what you are thinking. I’d like to invite your prayerful consideration of this statement.
    Your partner in sharing the love of Christ, Pastor Marc