Be still and know that I am God! (Psalm 46:10) One person plants, another waters, but it is God who makes things grow. (1 Cor. 3:7)
I usually think of rest and growth as opposites. Growing takes work, which seems like the opposite of rest. However, summertime has come to mean both to me.
For many, summer is a season of rest and relaxation. School’s out. Casual Friday’s are in. We step out of the busy routines of the rest of the year and catch our breath. People plan picnics, enjoy long weekends at the beach or the lake, and go on family vacations.
While some of us may be hanging out in a hammock reading a good book (like in the picture above), growth is happening all around us. Flowers are blooming, crops are growing, fruit is ripening on the vine and trees. Thanks to the sun and rain and faithful care of farmers, the whole world is blooming, growing, producing fruit.
We find this same paradox of rest and work at church. During the summer time, many of our programs take a breather – Sunday School, Bible studies, music programs, etc. We have one worship service that is often a little more relaxed in tone. For example, the pastors don’t wear their clergy robes, and some people dress more casually.
But there is still a lot growing and happening at church, whether we’re around and aware of it or not. This year we host the 50th Yorktown Cooperative Vacation Bible School, along with our Lutheran and Methodist brothers and sisters in Christ. During a fun and faith-filled week, 100 children and over 50 youth and adult volunteers will sing and pray, laugh and learn, as we “experience the ride of a lifetime with God.”
In addition to VBS, we will send a team of youth and adults to Chicago to experience exciting ways to serve God and those in need, while we grow in our own faith. Almost 20 youth and adults will travel to Montreat, NC for a Presbyterian Youth Conference – where lots more learning and growing in our relationships with God and others from far and wide will flourish.
And on any given day this summer, we will continue to serve others through our Food Pantry, Noontime Meal, Jan Peek, and congregational ministries of visitation and care. Please take a moment to enjoy the beautiful gardens and labyrinth that are lovingly cultivated by so many faithful gardeners!
One more exciting possibility was planted at the June 12 Session meeting. After hearing the report of the Feasibility Study conducted by Tom Norwood of Horizons Stewardship, the Session voted to move forward with a capital campaign this fall. Tom shared that the results of our study were some of the most positive he has encountered in his experience helping churches. We are perfectly planted to grow and move forward into implementing and funding God’s vision for our future. Many thanks to all who participated in the survey and shared your hopes and dreams for our church! You can find a summary of the report on our website.
In the next few weeks, a working group will be assembled to ready the ground for the campaign, to embark on the preliminary planning and prioritizing of ministry goals and projects. Stay tuned for more details in September, but in the meantime, please pray for plenty of sun and rain to nourish the hearts and minds of those working to tend this particular garden.
May this summer be a time of both renewing rest and faithful growth as we continue to worship and serve the God of abundant life and this world God loves.
See you in church, Tami & Chip