All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. [2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Common English Bible]
Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 5:29PM
We began a new year on November 29th, with the “Hanging of the Greens.” Advent is a season of prepara-tion and expectation. It is true that the signs of Christ-mas come earlier each year. It’s difficult to set aside the many voices that drown out Advent, but, for the church, Advent is essential. It is a reminder that John laid the foundation for the ministry of Jesus. As John put it, “I baptize with water, but he baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” Both are important. The water symbolically washes away the accumulated “stuff” that prevents us from fully experiencing the realm of God, while that baptism with the Spirit that Jesus brings empowers us to be agents of wholeness.
Advent invites us to be watchful and alert for the signs that God is on the move. With that in mind, I look forward to the year ahead with great expectancy. We are in a moment of transition, where change seems to be ever with us. But this isn’t unusual. I was reading a pastor’s report to the con-gregation of Central Christian Church from around 1924. Edgar Dewitt Jones made this very point. Of course, Central was in merger conversations with Wood-ward Avenue Christian Church. We are the result of that effort, which brought to-gether two congregations that had similarities, but also differences. It appears to have worked out okay.
One of the major changes for us comes as Sarah Wright begins as our new office manager/church secretary and Linda leaves. Linda has been with us for twelve years. She has been a constant presence, bringing her warmth of faith to the job. Of course, this was not just a job; it was a ministry. We have been blessed. We will miss her. The good news for Linda, is that retirement from CWCC allows her the opportunity to pursue new avenues of ministry. With that in mind, we will be celebrating her ministry with us on Sunday, December 6th. We will have a special coffee hour, and a prayer of commissioning during worship (after the Choir offers us their cantata for Christmas). I am excited as well to welcome Sarah to our staff. Sarah is a member of Northminster Presbyterian Church down the street. She’s a member of their choir. She is married with two children. She brings a unique blend of work experiences to the position, having spent nearly fifteen years at General Motors as an analyst and IT professional. She started December 1, working with Linda for two weeks. She’ll take over fully on December 14. You’ll want to come in and meet her (starting December 14th the office will be open 10-3, M-Th).
I’m not sure what 2016 will bring, but I am expectant! Speaking of 2016, I’m excited that Naomi Walters will be in the pulpit on January 3rd, ringing in the new “calendar” year. Naomi and her husband Jamey are professors at Rochester College, and parents of two young children – Simon and Ezra. Naomi teaches ministry and bible, while Jamey teaches bible and theology. They have brought their gifts and presence to CWCC, which makes me really excited about the future (without putting too much pressure on them). You will want to come and hear Naomi preach!
So, as we move through December, preparing our hearts to receive the good news that God is present with us in the Christ child, let us pray for a renewed vision of God’s work in the world. As we pray, may we take to heart this word from Paul: