Every year at Charge Conference I submit a Pastor's Report; the following is said report. Charge Conference will be October 19 at 5pm. Next week, On the Corner, I will be giving a report on the transformative conference five of us attended last week at the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, Kansas. Let's have fun and see you Sunday!
In the spirit of Paul’s letters, I give thanks for serving on the corner of Sycamore and Garland and beyond, as your pastor, for almost seven years. I am grateful for those in this community past and present who have shared their love for Christ with me and our neighborhood. It is a privilege to serve and grow with this missional community.
Years ago a preacher told me to always “brag on Jesus”. Christ is alive everywhere, yet I am seeing Christ specifically move through the people called Methodist at 1021 Sycamore! I want to brag on all the people who come together to share Christ on this corner and beyond. Recently, one of our partners in ministry called us the “little church that could”. There are so many in this community, because of their walk with Christ, pour everything into building up the ministries within these walls and out! It’s amazing! Thank you!
Sunday Supper continues to grow in number and in a deeper sense of community. It is not a soup kitchen. It is a time in which rich and poor, black and white, young and old, and whatever separates us come together as a community.
We are excited to broaden our partnership with Tri-Cycle Farms! We have two long- time members of this community living in the Rock House across the street as we grow deeper connections in our surrounding neighborhood, which 43% ,within a one mile radius, are below the poverty level. Our Sunday Supper meals are strengthened by produce from the stated community as well as some leftovers from the Farmer’s Market on the Square.
We will be partnering with Tri-Cycle starting a Farmer’s Market here on this corner, the Cross Roads Market. We are growing as a church from the inside out to be deeply connected to the people in our surrounding neighborhood.
We are also excited to start a New Monastic Community in the Garland House. We are the anchor church for this developing community. We will be starting the pilot year after the six week study, Longing for Spring by Dr.Elaine Heath. It will begin in mid November. This community will be significant as we continue to not only be a presence in our neighborhood but also connecting more deeply with our neighbors through conversation, meals, prayers, and even a worship service that we are planning to develop through this community.
Even in the excitement of broadening our presence in our neighborhood, there are always challenges. We are reaching out to our neighborhood and will grow in that spirit more and more, yet our mission field is extremely hostile, in some respects, to organized religion. It is a young, progressive, diverse neighborhood of people from all over the world, all walks of life.
We are strengthening our relationship with the Korean Mission as well. We join one another in mission at Sunday Supper once a month. We are having children’s Sunday School together as well. We plan on having a joint worship service together in December.
We are changing the culture of this Christian community to continue to grow in the inclusivity of Christ for all people. All means all. All are welcome to this community to join us in worship and mission.
The other challenge is living in a world where there are limited resources more and more, being creative with what we have. Our mission field is predominantly poor. Since last Charge Conference, we have taken in 17 new members (one profession of faith and two infant baptisms), but finances are still limited, including our shared ministry dollars (apportionments). This will be a challenge for this community for quite some time, especially in our mission field.
At the end of the day, Christ meets us where we are no matter what! We give thanks for that and so much more! We are growing in that understanding that we are bound by the unity of Christ. We all are sinners and saints. We are all standing at the foot of the cross both those here and not here. We are called to be reconciled with a world that is broken and may not want us around, but we continue to do the ministry of Christ through the Holy Table and create relationship where there has been none. That is the work of forgiveness and reconciliation we have been given as the Bride of Christ. We continue to grow through that tension and embrace that love and share it with the world!