I write this as I sit at a restaurant in North Bend before heading back over the pass home, but I needed to put my thoughts onto paper before I start that drive. I’ve spent the past 4 days in Dumas Bay with my colleagues in ministry as we’ve interviewed in groups and individually with the Board of Ordained Ministry (BoOM) of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UMC. These days have been steeped in prayer, reflection, laughter, anxiety, and more prayer.
As I got to know these fellow pastors and lay people I felt this profound sense of peace about the future of the church. There are so many passionate, caring, creative folks moving into ministry who know that the future of the church will not look like the past because God is doing a new thing. All will be well. This we know in Ellensburg because we are already moving into different ways of being church. We worship God together, we work for justice for all God’s people together, and we spread the love of Christ out into the world by being vitally involved in the life of our beloved city. You are starting knitting classes for peace, and showing up at school board meetings in support of trans youth, you are sitting on city/county boards and committees speaking for those without a voice, and you are with loving hearts offering up our building for vital and important meetings – for all of this and more I give thanks to you.
I’m not sure you realize how special this congregation is. When people have issues with one another they actually speak to one another to work things out rather than spreading rumors and harm. When something needs to be fixed in the building you don’t whine about it, you get it fixed. When you do not like a particular song we used in worship you don’t complain but instead pray that others will be blessed by the music that you don’t enjoy. And when I give a stinker of a sermon you find something positive to say. For all of this and more, I give thanks for you.
As we move more deeply into 2017 I want to invite you to keep dreaming big dreams for EFUMC. If you would like to become involved in the life of this church, do it! Talk to me or someone in leadership. Tell us your hopes and dreams and allow us to pray with and for you, to encourage you, and to dream about the future of this church with us. The kin-dom of God is now.