|On the day you honored me with a call to ministry at First Congregational Church of Bellevue, I remember feeling like the winner of a beauty pageant as I stood in the chancel of our wonderful sanctuary. On that day in November of 2017, I had no idea what mysteries lay in the wings of this community’s call to service in the Bellevue community. And while that place of unknowing, of having no idea can be very daunting, I believe it is in the unknowing that we are invited to explore through prayer and conversation the areas to which God is calling us to be her/his/its presence here and beyond.
In my observation of the life of our faith community, faithful persistence and the breath of the Holy Spirit has brought us to this point. If you imagine the ministry of this church, God’s church, as a blank pallet transformed through the gift of the artist – their choice of colors and the technique employed – we are constantly being transformed into something different, a faith community more relevant, more connected to all of God’s creation.
In my time here thus far, I have had the privilege of witnessing the strengthening of several ministries, and just since this June, the beginning of our newest ministry, Talk Time. At our first Talk Time gathering, we had three participants and one group for all comfort levels with English. This past Tuesday, we had 23 participants divided into three groups of Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced English speakers. In a climate when some are made to feel unwelcome, or even live with the threat of deportation from the United States, it is such a pleasure and honor to welcome more of God’s children to our space.
I write this reflection in part to share the progress made, to document in one place all that God has accomplished with our cooperation and participation. I write these words in hopes they will inspire us as we seek the pathways to a stronger program for our Children and Youth, to create a place they love to be and a place where their parents feel comfortable in bringing them. I also write these words to say THANK YOU, to remind each and everyone of you, to practice self-care as you care for others in your midst. Adequate self-care ensures that what we bring to others adds value to their lives and our own. Upon this and all the ways we are invited to be God’s presence, I believe Jesus smiles.
In Great Hope and Gratitude,