Advent Full House

Church health is much more than numbers, but it’s helpful to track how many people are joining the circle of care and community that is congregational life.  Please pass the black registers at the end of the bench… 

Music Sunday has always been a high holy day on the church calendar and this past Sunday our attendance was 234.  I had Mim do some research and that was the most people since Easter 2019, the other peak high holy day.  The sanctuary doesn’t feel quite as full due to Zooming households – an option that extends our community even further – but it seems significant that we have hit a post-pandemic high.

One of the gifts of the past couple months has been a wave of new attenders.  The “local visitors” category this past Sunday included 23 people, mostly folks who are about to cross the threshold of six services when they are considered “regular attenders” in our records.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of them in the Inquirers Class.  One family was drawn to the church so their child could be part of the new Christian Ed Godly Play curriculum.  Some are returning to a church setting after time away.  Others moved into town for work.  Some are looking for a place to rest, heal, and explore after a harmful church experience.  Many are inquiring about small group options.

If you’ve been around a little longer and have capacity to do so, I encourage you to consider ways of reaching out – perhaps in a conversation after worship, an invitation to your home, convening a small group (Pastor Mark can help with that), or learning the name of a child or adult you don’t yet know. 

We can’t directly stop the devastation in Gaza or free the Israeli hostages (although we will advocate for these!) but we extend hospitality and spiritual care to one another.  We can’t immediately topple the excesses of capitalism (although acting counter-culturally during the Christmas season is a start), but building social capital in the spirit of the kin-dom of God is within reach.  These have always been strengths of this congregation.

Church is a gathering of folks committed to the Jesus way, keeping alive the flames symbolized in the Advent candles: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.  And it’s encouraging when the circle grows wider.