Thursday, May 17, 2012

woodwork by erich thompson

i am serving a church
who has voted to move
to a new location...

from pleasantville
to egg harbor township
in new jersey.

like many churches in our denomination
we are at that moment when we have to
face the reality of closure
or take the risk and the courage
to move and attempt to claim a new beginning.

this decision does not come
without some sense of loss,
nor does such a move
come without a certain amount of emotion
or differences of opinion.

at times it seems an
ominous task...
yet as we continue to
talk and dream and work...
there is a growing sense
of excitement.

we're moving
which means we have to
think past,
and beyond
the way we've always done it.

as a church on the move
one of our tasks is to create
a new space for worship
in a building that is already built
and lacks architectural imagination...
so it is our charge
to create a sacred space
ripe with intrigue
and one that offers an immediate
sense of hospitality and relationship.

on one hand all this
moving and decision making
feels like plodding through a field of sand
while carrying enormous weight on our backs...
and yet there are moments when
fresh breezes of GOD'S spirit
blow in
and we sense
the story again...

the ongoing story of
GOD'S journeying people
engulfed by grace
filled with joy
and hope
and imagination.

so now
i invite you to journey with us.

this week we will officially choose our new name.
it will either be:
Harbor Presbyterian Church
Ocean Heights Presbyterian Church.

pray with us.

better yet....
take time in this space to
offer these faithful people encouragement
as they do what so many congregations
are not willing to do.


Jared said...

I remember the first time I resigned from one full time job to take another.

The first job was comfortable: I was well respected and accomplished, the salary and benefits were good enough, I had many friends. But the writing was on the wall and it was clear that, in order to grow personally and professionally, I needed to move on.

I was literally shaking as I handed my manager the resignation letter. Much was uncertain about my future gig. Would I be any good at it? Would I find good people to be in community with? Would the new work be fulfilling?

Years later, I can look back and say with confidence that God created me with the gifts and skills and ability that I needed to be not only successful, but to thrive, both in the old job and in the new one. As always, there were good days and there were bad ones. There were days when I wanted for the 'good old days', and days when I wanted to be nowhere except exactly where I was. And above all else, I was reminded that, wherever I go and whatever I do, I am not alone. I have a fantastic community and a magnificent God.

Your community will find the same things: gifts, talents, skills, and abilities that they either never knew they had, or forgot were there; really good days; really bad days; and, above all else, a God who will raise pillars of smoke and flame to remind us that we are not alone.

Reverend Shawn said...

I'm IN !!!

I look forward to hearing, sharing and celebrating the journey you and the good people you are in ministry with are undertaking!!

There is little doubt that together you will find this pilgrimage rewarding, challenging and breath-taking ... enjoy it, savour it, and most of all with prayer live it ever step of the way knowing that you are the beloved of God daring to live your faith with boldness and JOY!!!

Thank you for the invitation Blake, and thank you for your wise counsel and blessed leadership - together you and this Church will be a blessing to the community around you!!!


Rev Audrey Brown said...

Thank you for being a blessing to the mission of God, not the plan of the church. May you fill the space you have chosen, with love and joy. May you know that whatever you call yourselves, you are God's beloved.
With hope and fear, God forward into the new day and sense the future, not yet seen.

Susan Camp said...

I am not a church member so my comments are solely based on feeling. I would vote for Harbor as it seems to me like a place for people to go to feel safe and content where as Ocean Heights tells you where you are, but not how you feel. This is probably late for the voting, however, the thought is real.