Today I drove to the Conference Board of Congregational Development meeting in Des Moines. All around me as I drove the bright colors of trees and foliage sang out to me the message of the seasons–the endings and beginnings that give our lives in the PNW meaning and opportunities for renewal and new life. The Conference Board of Congregational Development is an essential component of the development of new ministry in the Conference and the redevelopment of existing ministries. For instance, this is the board that is responsible for the development of the new faith community in the Columbia City area of Seattle, Valley and Mountain UMC. It is, by the same token, the board that is responsible for the development of The Well at Queen Anne UMC.
Rev. Bill Gibson, the PNW Conference Director of Faith Community Development, has meet with First Church staff and members a few times recently to be in conversation with us about the ways in which we can reach out into our community and make relations with the folks who live in the Belltown and Lower Queen Anne areas. Those conversations have become increasingly energized and in alignment with our newly developed Mission Statement: First United Methodist Church of Seattle is a progressive, spiritual community advocating for the homeless and hungry and creating a refuge of inclusive Christianity. They are increasingly happening in various committee, charge conference and community-building settings. We are all asking the question, “What’s next?” What’s next for our ministry in the community? What’s next for the spiritual and missional development of the congregation? What’s next for the development of a system of preparing and growing disciples?
“I see a new and exciting season emerging in the life of First Church.” -Rev. Moe
I see a new and exciting season emerging in the life of First Church. The question for us to begin asking ourselves and each other is how do we live into God’s call to transform ourselves and society, to be about building the Kingdom of God for this time and this place? It’s really the question that needs to be asked in every generation, and not from the perspective of “what we prefer,” but from the perspective of “what purpose God is calling us to.” As our District Superintendent, Rev. Rich Lang, said to us several times at last week’s Charge Conference, “First Church Seattle is a key congregation in the Seattle District, and a key spiritual, religious, and justice voice to the people of the Seattle area.”
Your leadership, your participation, and your voices are crucial to the conversation of “what’s next?” Your prayers are essential to this work.
“First Church Seattle is a key congregation in the Seattle District, and a key spiritual, religious, and justice voice to the people of the Seattle area.” -Rev. Rich Lang
We are now in the season of Stewardship, a time that asks you to consider your role in supporting the ministry and life of the church in many different ways, including financially. The Sundays of October will highlight the importance of all the different ways you support the ministry here. The baptismal vows we take at our baptism are that we will support the United Methodist Church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. I encourage you and your family to talk about those vows and consider how you are living into them at this point in your lives.
As the fall makes way for winter, and the bright and beautiful leaves deepen in color and then fall to the ground, let’s turn to one another and life in community for warmth and comfort against the cold of life and the darkness of the days. And let’s commit ourselves to being community for the people of Seattle who have too little in the way of warmth and comfort.