Eight months ago, Riverside Presbytery invited me to become Coordinator of the Vital Congregations Initiative. I have loved doing this work. And I am still learning about VCI as well as the ways that God is working through YOU.
I am excited that we have nine churches working their way through this two-year-long Vital Congregations discernment process. We are praying and listening and learning so that we can be congregations becoming more engaging, enlivening, revitalizing.
One highlight of this Initiative is that every month, there are four separate gatherings of Pastoral Leaders. Well over half of the pastoral leaders within this Presbytery are meeting monthly in small groups to prayerfully share their lives, their trials, their joys, their ministries, and their efforts to renew the church and bring good news. This deepening collegiality will continue to strengthen Riverside Presbytery as we move forward in ministry.
As you well know, Covid19 has thrown a monkey wrench into our agendas. We have had to reconfigure how we do nearly everything that we do. That has taken a massive amount of energy.
The reality is, each one of our churches, whether in the VCI process or not, is becoming new. We are retooling our ministries, figuring out how to prepare and offer worship virtually, how to meet and make decisions digitally, how to teach and learn and commune with one another electronically; in other words, new ways of BEING the church in a new day.
The good news is that, despite the chaos of a pandemic, in both our floundering and in our breakthroughs, we persevere, we get creative, we follow our passion and continue to love, to serve, to do ministry.
In a way, many of us have physically had a shot of adrenalin even as we have spiritually been uplifted by God’s Great Spirit. We have been infused, we have stepped up, we have met the challenge, and we have seen God at work in and through us.
And now, three months in, I think that a lot of us are discovering that we are tired! It’s been exhausting. And we need to rest. We should indeed take time to rest, for we have accomplished monumental things. I’m glad it is summer. I hope that everyone schedules time to rest, renew, and refresh! And as you do, I hope that you do so with an appreciation for what you have done by the power of God.