Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Church's Future

1 Corinthians 10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

As many of you know I serve on our Presbyteries Committee on Ministry and each month I meet with several others to help our churches that are in transition.  In fact between that and many of my own church experience it can make one feel like the future of church is pretty grim.  Most churches are not growing, most churches are in fact shrinking.  Most churches are in some form of dispute and many churches lay in the midst of corporation.  Even our little church has questioned why the time of "church" seems to be gone. 

But if we think about church history, we realize that this is just one of many times when a generation has felt that deep weight of what the future has in store.  The command from Paul in the above passage is to take with care how each builder is to build from the foundation that Jesus has laid.  To take with care...reminds me of the motto in the Presbyterian church - Reformed church, always reforming.  You see if each generation didn't question what the generation before built then we wouldn't be holding true to our charge.  We wouldn't be taking care of how we build our foundation if we were not questioning and learning.  This is so important.

The reason why small churches like Huron are not falling into the same statistical traps as other larger churches in denomination is because, smaller congregation don't always get stuck in ruts.  Higher percentage of involvement in smaller congregations leads to more people's ideas being heard.  I cannot help but think of a PR committee in October in which I sat there bringing up one of Russ' concerns: we need to do more mission.  I brought up a problem without any idea of a solution.  We started talking about different demographic groups we could reach out to and the next thing we knew the Advent Gift bag idea was born...that was God's will working in our church and from everyone who received a bag to everyone who put the bags together joy and happiness and the Spirit were felt.  It was an amazing project.

Christ has laid a sure foundation - a foundation that we - each of us and each generation are charged with building upon.  How amazing!  Let us continue to do our good work on building upon the foundation that Christ has laid, having hope and finding encouragement and keeping ourselves out of the statistical pool by holding fast to the commandment to carefully lay our blocks.  Building on what Jesus' has laid and not the wills of others. 

All churches - our denomination and Christian church in general - has hope.  People still believe in God.  Yet now is the time for us to question the builders of the past and looking for God's guidance on where we should be placing our blocks for the future.   For now, Huron needs to hold fast to their Spirit of prayer and corporation; proving that although you may be small in numbers you are proving the sure foundation that Christ has laid in the Huron Church.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beating the Cold Blues

This winter more then any other I question why we live in the cold.  I recently read an article on buzz that proclaimed Rochester #3 out of 7 of the top cities who are prepared to handle the bad weather.  And indeed we continue year after year to be more ready to handle the weather.  In fact this winter is my 11th winter back in the North and I'm so glad that I had 10 winters to prepare my body for the cold this winter has brought. 
But winter brings with it an isolation and also a survive mode that can hinder our relationship with God and each other.  The "normal" rules often get pushed to a limit or broken when winter hits - just take a look at a parking lot and the crazy drivers who park anywhere they choose.  We can easily get into a runt in which we are looking out for ourselves and not really caring about others.  It is easy for us to forget about the other when we are consumed with the every day details of ourselves - the drive is too long, the snow is too deep, I am stuck in my house, I need this in order to be OK...

This season we should challenge ourselves to not only think of the other but reach out.  When we are stuck in our house due to the weather, call a friend/ or church member and see what they are doing to cope.  When we haven't seen someone at church in a while, call on them - send a note through the mail (at least the post office has stayed pretty on top of things this winter).  And when you are feeling isolated, pray - knowing and believing that God is always with us.

Let us listen this winter season to the challenge that Jesus proclaims - to love our neighbors as ourselves!  Let us find ways to show love, even when the weather colds our hearts.  

Friday, February 7, 2014


Sometimes God works in amazing ways - especially in large groups.  God recently moved a group of Presbyterians representing 7 churches across 104 to come together and sponsor a YOUTH mission Day.

We are calling this "Reach on the Ridge" and we are working together to help brighten up peoples home by providing a fresh coat of paint.  We are coming together at the Sodus church at 8:30 for some "get-to-know" you activities and of course a moment to praise God.   Then we are off for the day with lunch (thanks) and we will be the hands and feet of God working in the world.  At days end we will regroup at the Sodus church for dinner (thanks again) and worship together before heading home. 

It should not only be a lot of fun but a great way for our youth to come together and an amazing way for our churches to come together for ministry.  This is our Church (universal) BEING and DOING in the world.

We can help support this WONDERFUL cause by encouraging our youth to participate.  We can help support this by offering ourselves up as an adult volunteer that day and of course we can donate to this cause through our own congregation. 

On this site you can find the release form for anyone interested!  Thanks!