Dear Edwards Church Community,
It seems like every week I have the pleasure of receiving another thank you which is really meant for all of us. It might be one of the many thank you letters from a local charitable organization supported by the church, through your outreach committee. Or it might be a neighbor who attends a concert or other event in our sanctuary, who appreciates the uplift they feel from the music, or the message. Or, or, or…
This church does a lot, and it gets noticed. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This church does a lot, and it would be missed if we ever stopped.
Never stop. Please never stop looking for ways to love our neighbors by sharing generously from the abundance with which we have been blessed. We really have been blessed, especially when you consider our 60 years in the current building. When the current church building was completed in 1958, we had a mortgage. Today we have no mortgage, and we have investment assets of approximately $7 million, plus the rental property next door (with Filo’s restaurant, commercial offices and apartments).
This wealth – and let’s not mince words, it is wealth – is entrusted to us. It is not our collective property, but something given to the church for its mission and ministries. The “New Way” Process adopted at the last annual meeting takes its name from the opening stanza of our vision statement, asking God to open us to a new way. That new ay is, in part, how we “hold” and understand this blessing. The initial formula for dividing the extra money provided by the New Way Process divides it between internal spending (the building and “in-reach”) and the community fund (for large impact outreach gifts). Since we share the building with community groups, even it is partly used for outreach.
And that is how it should be. Sixty years from now, wouldn’t it be great if there is a congregation, which dresses differently than we do now and listens to different music on the radio (but still sings enough of the classics on Sunday), and that congregation is grateful that those who went before maintained the building and also maintained our strong tradition of loving God and neighbor by serving both with all we had to share.
That congregation will still be noticed and appreciated by its community, because it will still be loving God and neighbor with all it had. I am proud to be a pastor of this community. Thank you.
With gratitude and affection,
P.S. Time is growing very short before I go on sabbatical after worship on June 9. I will miss you, a lot. And this time away will recharge me for the time still to come. Enjoy your summer, especially the beauty and bounty of nature, friends and family.