What an exciting weekend we just had! I hope and pray that you were able to join us for some or all of the events that took place this past Saturday and Sunday. Our church is truly blessed to have leaders who care about our students and the results of this care were on display this weekend proclaiming the goodness of God in Jesus Christ.
On Saturday afternoon, May 3rd we gathered in the sanctuary of First Christian Church at 5th & Main. We were there to borrow their baptistery facility. Four of our students: Austin Estep, Tyler Herndon, Cayleigh Smith, and Miah Young, were baptized in a special Service of Baptism with their family, friends, and church members as witnesses. It was a fun service, with Alan Parker providing music and everyone feeling the work of the Holy Spirit in the room.
One Sunday morning, May 4th we gathered for our 11:00AM worship service and the excitement continued. Two more students: Kaitlynn Baker and Mandon Wehde were baptized at our baptismal font during regular worship. Listen again: This weekend we baptized SIX STUDENTS! That is exciting!
It gets better…All these baptisms were a prelude to our Confirmation Service, also celebrated during the 11:00AM worship service this Sunday. In addition to the 6 students who were baptized, Reese Benge joined the group for Confirmation. 7 students stood before our congregation and made their profession of faith. They each received a white stole that represents the yoke they have taken upon themselves as Christians and the promise that Jesus made to walk beside them on the journey. Each of them made their membership vow to “faithfully participate in [the church’s] ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness”. We all reaffirmed our own baptismal promises and promised to nurture and care for these students as they continue to grow in discipleship. We are all responsible for one another and for this church.
We also announced this Sunday that we are holding a special Church Council meeting at 2:30 PM on Sunday, May 18th in Fellowship Hall. This is unusual because much of the meeting will be devoted to a Town Hall format and we are inviting and encouraging all church members to attend.
As we reflect on what it means for our students to stand before the church and proclaim their faith and make membership vows, we must remember that each one of us has done the same thing at some point in our lives as United Methodists. We stood before a congregation and proclaimed our belief in the Triune God and our commitment to follow in the footsteps of Jesus on whatever mission we were sent. When we joined this United Methodist congregation we made the same vow as our students: “to faithfully participate in [the church’s] ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness”. Meetings such as this one are where our membership vows are tested. The mission and ministry of our church depend on the faithfulness of all of our members. Each one of you is important to God’s church and each one of you has a role to play.
This meeting will provide very important information about where we are and where we need to be in terms of how we do mission and ministry. We cannot continue with “business as usual” any longer. We must make some very difficult and challenging changes now. Your prayers and your presence are vital to helping us navigate the journey ahead of us. Our Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, and Staff Parish Relations Committee have been meeting diligently and now they need your input as we go forward. No final decisions will be made at this meeting and no voting will take place. This is simply a time for leadership to offer information and answer questions. You will have a chance to offer suggestions that may help these groups continue their work.
Let us celebrate what is happening in the life of our church and let us work hard to ensure that growth continues and all of us fulfill our mission together.
In His Name,