"And the one who was seated on the throne said, 'See, I am making all things new.'" - Rev.21:5
As I look out my window, I can barely see my neighbor's house today. I see the thick cloud of smoke and smell the ash. My greatest concern is for those who are being impacted by the wildfires. I pray for those who have lost loved ones and property, all who are adversely affected by all the smoke, especially those who are vulnerable without housing or have underlying health risks. I'm concerned and grateful for those who are out on the front lines risking their lives for the sake of people and property. Even though the smoke has filled my neighborhood, I know that "out there" in the most vulnerable places, God is present and at work.
We know in the Pacific Northwest that new growth begins in the rich nutrients left behind in the months and years after a wildfire. And it causes me to wonder, after the firestorm of the last six months, what new growth will happen in the rich nutrients of the church. Time will tell. Whatever new growth will come, it will be good, because it comes from the hand of God.
In these dizzying times, the staff has begun to live in "the now" and entrust the seeds of the future to God. We are doing so in 6-week sprints. The days of long-term planning are pretty much over. We know that changes continue to happen quickly in both our lives and the community. So, we are shifting to "holy experiments," planting seeds and watching them for six weeks at a time. If they show promise for taking root, we may keep them going. If not, we will pivot to the next experiment.
One of the exciting new growth sightings is Jubilee Collective. There has been a great deal of energy emerging from the offerings birthed by Pastor Lenny and the Collective. With this growth has come the time for him to pivot from his introductory months within the greater Messiah community to a more focused concentration of time and energy with Jubilee Collective. Pr. Lenny has been leading Bible studies, meeting with people, and will soon offer weekly worship. As a result, he will only occasionally preach on Sunday mornings as weekly worship begins at Jubilee Collective (see below).
What else is happening?
On-line worship will continue, even after we can gather in-person for worship on Sundays. We are prepared to move to outdoor worship opportunities as soon as Clark County enters phase 3 of the reopening plan outlined by our Governor.
In-person communion opportunities will begin in the next two weeks. Pastors Peter, Intern Pr. Maggie, Charles, and I area planning opportunities for people to join us for 15 minutes of prayer, devotion, Communion, and music, five people at a time, fully masked and socially distanced. We will have these gatherings in east, north, and west Clark County—probably at public parks. Look for more information and sign-up forms next week (09.22) in the Northern Highlights and online.
A mid-week worship service birthed by Jubilee Collective and Pastor Lenny will begin soon. It will include Holy Communion. For more information, go to https://jubileecollectivevancouver.org. From now on, if you want to hear Pastor Lenny preach regularly, you will have to tune into Jubilee Collective's worship.
Prayer walks. If you are looking to make a difference and see your other friends at Messiah, see the new ways to be part of a Prayer Walk led by Theresa Zimmer.
Pastoral Care opportunities. New options were recently posted in an article at Messiah's website. Click here »
Confirmation is beginning, youth groups continue to meet in Zoom format, and Miss Megan has restarted Godly Play. Adult studies, first-communion classes, and the next Brewed Theology will be scheduled soon.
Out of the ashes of COVID, Peter and I wonder if new small community groups will form for the fall and winter months. These could be gatherings of five people (now in Phase 2 of reopening) and 10 people (in Phase 3). These groups would meet for fellowship and a devotion or Bible study provided by the pastors. If you would be interested in participating in a new community small group, please email Pastor Kathy, and we will begin planning for the next 6 weeks.
We are unsure what the future looks like, but we know whose hands the future is in. God promises to make "all things new." And so, it is with confidence that we look forward to the growth of new seeds. I am sure that God will surprise us with an abundance of blessings as we travel through the firestorm together.