• 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        
  • December

    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.
    The last two months I wrote about worship and discipleship, this month service. All of us can agree that service to others is essential to the Christian way of life, but why service focused in local schools? There are a few reasons but let me focus on the most important from my perspective. Perry Township has been undergoing a transformation in recent years, it is still a good place to live and to be a church, but as one of our teachers put it, “Perry Township has become more urban than suburban”. Our neighborhood has become more diverse socio-economically, culturally and ethnically. These changes can be enriching and they can also be challenging as we learn to live, work and learn with one another in a spirit of respect and appreciation. Our local, public schools have become the place we come together to learn that respect and appreciation and it is also the place social services are most often made available to our needy neighbors. As we partner in local schools we can help to positively influence our community, reaching out our hands in service so that everyone in our community rises to their highest potential. In our schools: we can tutor at-risk students, feed hungry students, help students learn English, assist and appreciate teachers who are often over-worked and under-paid, and by our actions bring the accepting and reconciling spirit of Christ to classrooms with increasingly diverse students. In short, partnership with local schools holds the potential for making the biggest difference for good in our community.
    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 service in the community 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 third topic of service in local schools?  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