Greetings in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I begin this week's Witness with a huge THANK YOU for the warm expressions of welcome that I and my family have experienced in these early days of my pastorate here at FUMCOP that were beautifully punctuated by the deeply moving ceremony of installation, the Celebration of Appointment, that occurred during worship on Sunday, and the beautiful reception that followed in the courtyard. A special note of gratitude is extended to our Lay Leader, Beverly Bochenek, Staff Parish Chair, Kaye Masters, and Trustees Co-Chair, Karen Doty, Rev. Ed Hiestand- retired clergy in residence, Eun Ju- our Minister of Music, and all those who offered them their support and assistance in preparing the worship experience, readying the building, and organizing the reception. Thank you to those who offered such beautiful and varied musical selections displaying the depth of our music ministry that included organ, trombone, hand bells, voice and even a guest pianist! To all those who ushered in the presence of the Lord and welcomed our members and guests in-person and online, by offering hospitable hands and hearts, I am deeply grateful. Thank you to all those who presented items signifying the ministry of a Pastor of the church. From the youngest to the most senior participant, you each warmed my heart as you represented the diversity of our congregation. (More on two special gifts next week...) Rise Weir, Bob Burton, and Cynthia Hiestand, thank you so much for capturing the worship and the ceremony for posterity and for Facebook. I am so grateful for the ways you stepped up to help us, through our Communications Team, help others get introduced to our ministry and the new things God is doing here at FUMCOP! The images are lovely, and now I don't have to rely on memory to revisit this special moment as the days, months, and years go by.
So now the work begins. Actually, it has already begun. I hope that in these days since the first of July when I began this leg of the journey with you, that you have started to dream dreams and see visions of how a future marked by hope might take shape. There will be enough work and fun to go around so please consider ways God might be calling you to get involved. Perhaps it will be to assist with our Technology Team (assisting handling audio/visual needs primarily on Sunday mornings); or Hospitality Team (serving as an usher/greeter welcoming people into the presence of God); or Communications Team (helping to position us well in this post-Covid, digital landscape); or Altar Guild (preparing the worship space for the sacraments of Communion and Baptism and for changes of the liturgical seasons); or Music/ Arts Ministry Team (sharing your gifts for musical or visual arts), or Christian Education (leading or assisting in growing disciples across the age spectrum of children to adults) or something else God places on your heart. I have lifted up some of the ways to get involved on Sundays, but there are other groups and committees that I hope will emerge or re-emerge that will meet to engage in ministry and mission. There are no age requirements for most of these activities—just a willing heart (and a cheerful disposition helps too!) so children and youth, you also are invited to join a Team that suits your interests and capabilities.
Finally, I am also praying for God to identify those who will join me in the sacred task of prayer for our church, its members and ministries, and community. I currently am praying for all of you, and you will notice there is now a tear-off portion of the bulletin to allow for prayer requests to be placed in a box in the Oak Park Ave. lobby (narthex). Those who wish to remain anonymous or for the request to be known only to me can still opt for that. Prayer requests can also be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For general prayers and those that can be shared, I would like to organize a Prayer Team that will meet regularly to join me in intentionally leading the way in making FUMCOP a house of prayer, as Jesus called the temple. Everything we do and all we are will be marinated in prayer. Nothing we do will succeed without prayer.
So now, let's get to work.
See you soon,
With hope in Jesus,
Rev. Adonna D. Reid