I’ve been reflecting on the Common Table event last week and the remarks that were shared during the State of the Church part of the agenda by Brad, Melinda, Jen, Dorothy, and Robbin. I was struck by the way that each of the speakers was able to weave together the good news of ministry well done with signs of hope and challenge for the future we seek to enter together with God’s Spirit guiding us. Brad sketched for us a big picture that included multiple ways that we are connected with our community. He challenged us to live into an even more connected, even more creative future. Jen helped us see a children, youth, and family program that has grown from only a few children to over 60 who attend regularly. She challenged us to continue to find ways for intergenerational enrichment and collaboration. Dorothy described a pre-school bursting at the seams with families from many countries speaking many languages. She challenged us to enrich our lives and the lives of the children by being a regular presence in this mission field. Robbin described the initial formation of the team designing a process so that Aldersgate can decide whether to become a Reconciling Congregation. She cast a vision of a process that will include all voices and address the concerns that those voices raise as we seek to move in the fullness of time toward the decision that we are called to make at this time, whatever decision that is.
These statements of hope and challenge inspired me. I continue to be inspired by them and by all of you. I summed up this part of the agenda with my recommendations about our next steps. I suggested that we move forward in dialogue, discipleship, and discernment. I pray that this series of hopes and challenges, these next steps that I suggested, and the vision for our future is as inspirational to you as it is to me. I pray these things in the name of the ever-moving, ever-envisioning, ever-creative, and ever-loving Spirit of God.