Back-to-School time for me as a kid meant new shoes, new notebooks, a new teacher, and the new clothes my mother had made for me over the summer. It brought a sense of new beginnings and new possibilities. And because we didn’t move around, but lived in one house through my school years, it also brought a lot of reassurance in continuity—continuity of place, family, and holidays. There was newness built on a foundation of familiarity and love.
Our California-Pacific bishop, Bishop Hagiya, set “I See a New Church” as the theme of our annual conference session this past June. He is now inviting local churches to consider this same theme in our own setting this Fall. Our First UMC Lay Leadership Team will be creating some opportunities for us to come together to listen for the voice of God and to dream with God.
At First UMC, we have a strong and faithful heritage to build upon—in ministry, in mission, and in the character of our life together. We respect and love one another, despite what might be differently held opinions about a whole variety of things. We’ve embodied John Wesley’s maxim: “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.”
Confident in our calling, we are free to imagine and to dream. Are there needs in our community that God’s Spirit is urging us to see? Are there new opportunities for mission and ministry percolating in our hearts? Is there something God might be calling you/me to undertake?
This is a season for the fresh winds of the Spirit to blow through us, opening our minds and hearts to God’s great scope and purpose. Let’s enjoy the adventure!