From Pastor Mariah’s Column:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

These are the days of visioning here at Church of Peace, United Church of Christ. In a process begun last fall, we are gathering our gifts of faithful remembering, thoughtful analysis, and creative imagining. Together we are working to discern what is next.

This is not a process in which we sit quietly and wait for God to unveil the plans he has already made for our church. (It might be the case that God’s plans are still forming…) This is not a process in which a group of gifted leaders goes into Room Two and comes up with a sound strategic plan for the next five years. Sitting quietly before God and developing a plan are good things to do, but this process involves more.

At heart, this process involves seeing and naming connections between the needs of our neighborhood and the places where our own hearts break, claiming the connections between God’s dream for our world and her call in our each of our lives. This is holy work. It takes us all.

This fall, you could hear the rumble of the Holy Spirit as our people gathered at tables all over town and shared favorite memories alongside ideas for the ways Church of Peace will change and move forward. Sentences were spoken that began with the words, “Here is why Church of Peace matters…” and “You know, something we might try is to…” Ten pages of notes were compiled from these conversations!

Currently, our Visioning Leadership Team is reviewing these responses and identifying common themes. Each theme will be crafted into a statement proposing something Church of Peace should be or do. For example: Church of Peace is a congregation that shares God’s extravagant welcome.

In the coming weeks, please expect to be invited to an all church Imagining Event. The spirit will be festive and fun. The work will involve filling in each proposal —listing examples, generating images, naming specific projects. (i.e., What does God’s extravagant welcome look like here?) Alongside this work of adding color and texture, each person will be asked to select a handful of proposals in which you are most invested. Proposals with the most interest will become our top priorities for taking action.

You can tell this work takes all of our gifts — artists and engineers, those who ask, “Could we try…?” and those who ask, “How will we…?” We need your participation and your perspective. We especially need your prayers. Together let us come before God with our uncertain questions and our sense for the pulsing of the Spirit. Let us seek the guidance of the LORD and be ready to be dazzled by possibilities beyond what we could ever imagine on our own.

Come and see, will you?

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Mariah

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