Many of us remember the children’s song that goes: “I am the church. You are the church. We are the church together! All who follow Jesus, all around the world. Yes, we’re the church together! The church is not a building; the church is not a steeple; the church is not a resting place; the church is a people. I am the church. You are the church. We are the church together!”
How the events of these past months have borne this out. Yes—our steeple stands tall, a beacon of hope in our community. And have we not learned anew, painful as it can sometimes be, that the church really is a people—a people of love, commitment, resilience, service, prayer, and hope.
November brings occasions for remembrance, accountability, celebration, and renewed commitment as we call to mind and gather (virtually of course!)—still and always the church together. Our annual All Saints Commemoration will poignantly offer moments in worship to give thanks for our saints who have died since the pandemic began, those for whom a memorial service has not been possible. Our ZOOM Charge Conference on November 15 will again bring us together to celebrate the amazing ministry and mission of First UMC as we hold ourselves accountable for the year just past and all that lies ahead as our 146th year begins. Our annual Stewardship Campaign provides an opportunity to consider in prayer our financial commitments and priorities, stepping up as we are able to undergird the work of the church. We will consecrate our gifts and pledges on November 22, which is also Thanksgiving Sunday.
Yes! We are the church TOGETHER! We take our place amidst the saints of past, present, and future, and we will not rest. We will choose to continue to follow Jesus, joining with others all around the world, who commit to be a people of love, a people of service, a people of hope!