I write this article as I am preparing to go on vacation. I am very grateful to this community to give me the opportunity to be with family and summer. It is a time for rest and reflection. There is a lot to reflect on this year. Many changes have occurred in our congregation and in our country.
Our church continues to grow not only in numbers but in discipleship. We have seen an increase in people from our neighborhood attend services as well as people who have seen us on the internet and have decided to join us in person. We have also had 10 baptisms and 2 confirmations since last July with two more next week.
Faith communities are charged to support new members in deepening their faith. We are called to provide love and support to the people that are members. The question is what experiences or teachings do they need to grow in their faith. How can we best love one another?
Our agenda of issues adopted at the annual meeting is being put into action. Several leaders have attended leadership training. Leaders have met with organizations that work on affordable housing. They have met with council members in support of budget items that help our community. And, they have met with the neighborhood association and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to learn about increasing park space in our neighborhood. All of these efforts are in response to our congregation’s desire to be more connected in the community we are located so we can better serve our neighbors.
The country has experienced a series of mass shootings bringing to the forefront once again the need for gun safety laws. We have also had a series of Supreme Court rulings that will impact our community in ways we still cannot imagine. So the question for us as it has always been for Christians is what will our response be to events of our day.
Faith communities have also always been asked to care for the most vulnerable when natural and human disaster strikes. We need to find those that will be most affected and find ways to lighten their burden and soften the blow. The question is who are the most vulnerable and what do they need from us.
As a congregation we have many questions to discern. Questions that have complex answers. I invite you to also take this month to pause, reflect and pray. Let us listen to what God is asking of us.