Dear First Church folk,
Maintenance work to our church building is very obvious at the moment. As I look around, the sight of scaffolding, fences, coverings, and “keep out” tapes remind us that the upkeep of our heritage building is not only required, but important. Earthquake strengthening is happening around us to ensure the health and safety of our people. Therefore, I do ask for your patience and cooperation if such work affects our worship and usual activities in and around the church.
But the building up of the church as people is also vital. At our last Session meeting, we discussed the review of the Session structure in terms of subcommittees. Some years back this idea was proposed but apparently went by the way. Subcommittees like pastoral care, Christian education, or worship (and others) had apparently been active in the past, but whose tasks have largely landed upon the minister. Revisiting the idea of these subcommittees opened up discussion about what our core functions of ministry are. It also raised the challenge of who will do these functions.
Our ministry/service is our worship to God. The liturgy we use in our worship service is important. The word “liturgy” itself comes from the Greek word “leitourgia” which means the work of the people. It is a collective effort. We not only demonstrate this during one hour on Sunday, but can include other times when opportunities are presented to exercise our gifts or talents. Some people are already offering a tremendous amount of their time and energy and we are truly grateful for this. Yet, there is always the hope that others will help to share the service. Extra hands can make lighter work and thereby save folk from burnout while energizing others at the same time. Moreover, the cooperative determination across our various cultural groups in First Church to do these tasks can further demonstrate our unity as we do in our worship services.
There will be obviously be challenges for any work we undertake. Like our church building, perhaps some of us are feeling the effects of wear and tear. Perhaps we are tired and beginning to crack at the seams like the plaster around the Rose Window. Perhaps we too need some running repairs to our vision for ministry and our resolve to fulfil it. We believe that our strength comes from the Lord who is at work in us all by the Holy Spirit. As such and as already mentioned, this strength is also found in our fellow Christian brother and sister, in our leitourgia – our collective effort. Just as the necessary work on our church building is done by all kinds of people, so too is our ministry together.
I am hoping that the congregation might consider supporting (or continue to support) some of the subcommittees discussed by the Session:
Visitors & Tourism
Christian Education & Youth
Other ministry/mission areas that could be explored might include public issues and/or social justice. Whatever area you might be interested to serve in, it is to bear witness to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please feel free to chat with me about this.