Sometimes I really do not want to show up at church council meetings on Thursday night. I try to take Friday and Saturday off and so Thursday is my Friday night. Last night’s meeting was long and we talked about some hard things, but it was also a wonderful time and space. There was passion and open communication and honesty and kindness. On top of that, I was reassured that the leadership and I are on the same page, always nice but especially so during this post-sabbatical period. We are leaning into becoming more invitational. We know that there are people in our community, new residents and long-time residents, who need to hear and experience the love of God as it is proclaimed and lived out in our particular community of faith. In that invitational spirit, I offer my December newsletter column:
Dear Friends in Christ,
We are approaching the church seasons of Advent and Christmas, with their accompanying themes of Hope and Joy. This year, our congregation has four settings in which each and everyone of you might invite a relative, coworker, or neighbor to hear the message of hope and joy and to meet members of our church family. On Wednesdays, December 4, 11, and 18, we will gather for a simple meal of soup and bread in the fellowship hall and then participate in evening prayer in the sanctuary. This worship service is festive, a bit shorter and less formal than Sunday morning worship, and will have the timely messages of Do Less, Experience Wonder and Hold on to Hope. It provides a beautiful doorway to the life of Trinity Lutheran Church. On Sunday, Dec. 22 from 3-5:00pm we will be singing Advent and Christmas Hymns at the Crescent Brewery (1521 Front Street-under the overpass). Nonalcoholic beverages will of course be available. Steve Van After and I have been choosing hymns and we are hoping to have a violinist to help accompany. It should be a joyful afternoon, another time to invite people to experience our community of faith, but this time away from our church building. On Christmas Eve we will have two worship services–a service geared more towards families at 4pm and then a candlelight service at 10pm. Holy Communion will be celebrated at both. Is there someone you know who needs a church home on Christmas Eve? Please invite them to join you at Trinity. What if whoever you want to invite is out of town on Christmas Eve or you know someone who just cannot get enough of the Christmas story? Invite them to our Readings and Carols service Sunday morning, Dec. 29. So many people tell me how important their faith is to them and how important the community of Trinity Lutheran is in nurturing that faith. This is not the month to, as the old song goes, keep it under a bushel. Reach out. Shine Christ’s light. Invite someone new to experience Advent or Christmas with you.