Saturday, May 30, 2009


Several of us have been having an interesting round of emails over the last couple weeks. It started out as a simple inquiry into the possibility of starting up a bible study for the summer.

What we discovered is that we're all feeling uncertain about our future and we have all been seeking for ways to reconnect in this time of transition. We also discovered that Faith church has been moving in the right directions to rebuild its Christian identity!

1) There are already a number of summer bible study opportunities going or in the works.(

2) There are already a number of fellowship and outreach opportunities planned for the summer. ( The hotdog dinner last night was a good experience for all! (And I was pretty good with my WeightWatchers.)

3) And, for all the consternation about it, we are seeking to come together as a body in a common worship service for the summer.

Now I am actually in favor of having different and varied worship services that respond to our individual needs to glorify and experience God. BUT, in this time of transition we need to re-establish our identity as a community in Christ and that is rooted in worship, fellowship, and service together.

Faith church has been moving in the right direction. But a new Faith church will not just appear to be either everything you want it to be or back the way it once was. We all need to take the first steps to join in our common journey. I urge you all to hang in there with Faith and the summer worship schedule. We NEED this temporary time to come together. I also urge you to seek out others in need of fellowship in Christ through study and fellowship groups. Please urge your personal network of friends to hang in there too, encourage them to participate in worship, and point them toward the various studies available or start up others.

As both Dr. Pope and the Apostle Philip used to say, "Come and see." (John 1:46)

See you Sunday,

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shame, Exile, Hope

This week a friend told me that her and her husband were going to start looking at Presbyterian churches and that they would be coming to Faith sometime in the next couple of months. I have to say I felt ashamed. I think I now understand how a teenager in a divorcing home or with an alcoholic parent feels when a friend asks to come over.

I had to be honest and told her this: Well, you've caught us at a really bad time. We've just run off our Pastor. It will be months before we get an interim pastor and probably more than a year before we get a new one. We used to be very active in community outreach but that has really slacked off in recent years and we can't seem to get it kick started again. We seem to be constantly bickering about making changes even though what we're doing now obviously isn't working. When she described what they were thinking they needed in a church it sounded like a perfect fit with a Presbyterian church! Just probably not ours right now.

On the other hand, I knew that they had a history and a special relationship with Maranantha and I had no trouble passing along the invitation to this weekend's Open House! Particularly after Wednesday's supper with the new Maranantha staff! What an energetic team! Maranantha has been blessed!

I just finished a book, "The Prophetic Imagination," talking about the prophets during Israel's history. Their double edged sword message of criticism and hope. I very much feel like Faith is in exile right now. And I also know there is much to be hopeful about at Faith! I've talked about it many times in this blog. As with Israel, God has not abandoned us, we've given up on God. But also like Israel, its a long road back. Maybe its time for a summertime study of the Exile and the Prophets (Jeremiah and Isaiah)? Anybody interested?

I also just started another book "Beyond Maintenance to Mission." Here are two quotes from the Preface: 1) "Congregations exist for the sake of mission. This fundamental truth about the church is easily set aside in favor of what appear to be more urgent agendas." 2) "The 'mission' of a congregation may eventually shrink to preoccupation with holding worship services and paying bills." ... Sound familiar?

So friend and friends, if your ready to roll up your sleeves and do a lot of Jacob wrestling with God, Faith is the place to be right now. God will be there, I'm just not sure if we've hit the low point in Exile yet?

Friend, best wishes and prayers on your search for a church! I may be joining you next year? But I need to be at Faith right now.