“We are a living mission.”
What a great way to start a new call! That’s how I feel as I reflect on 2010 and the beginning of our ministry together. I am so thankful it is with you, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, and I want to say, “Thank you!” for all that you have done to make the transition go so smoothly and so well. My kids felt immediately welcomed into this church family. They have adjusted well to a new home, school and church and have enjoyed making new friends here. Tami and I continue to be extremely grateful for all the work done to purchase a home for our family, as well as the ongoing partnership in maintaining it and fixing problems along the way. I have a new set of tools as a result of home ownership and am quickly learning that homes are an ongoing project. I’m thankful for the Session’s sponsorship of Tami’s grant to become a childbirth educator, lactation consultant, and postpartum doula. And, I am very grateful for all the ways you have been open to and welcomed my pastoral leadership. Thank you!
At the Session retreat a year ago, we explored what Jesus meant when he said, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” The word that arose out of that conversation back in January 2010 was CONNECT. This seemed like a very appropriate focus for the beginning of my work among you and a way for the leadership to connect and reconnect with the work God has given us to do together. I have sought to connect with our membership, with the ministry of our commissions, committees and board of deacons, and with our community. Along with pastoral visitation in homes and hospitals, the Meet-‘n-Greets last spring, Sermons for Lunch, coffee hours, new member classes, confirmation classes, special events and Wednesday evening adult Bible studies have all given me the opportunity to connect with many people in the church, including our youth and new members. I have sought to attend as many commission and deacons meetings as possible to learn about the ministry of FPCY. It did not take long to see the breadth of our ministry and the many talented people God has given FPCY. From the care of the facilities to our developing a connection with Peru and everything in between, we are a church connecting to one another, to the needs of our people, our community and our world. This ministry relies on the talent and dedication of all its members to be faithful to God, and rightfully so!
I could go on and on about all the great work we did together in 2010: coffee hours and fellowship opportunities (cake, anyone?); the Peter Rollins event; the emphasis on prayer during Lent; the Advent Conspiracy; the music ministry of our choirs and gifted musicians, as well as the Concert Series; our Living Mission Stewardship work with the narrative budget, Mission Celebration Sunday in July and our pledges in the fall; new members classes; examining our youth ministry with a Wi-Fi project; the Peace and Justice worship service and skyping Jed Koball into our sanctuary to preach from Peru; the Young Adult Volunteer service in August; the discernment to be an open church to gay and lesbian families; the addition of the screen and projector and our new harpsichord. The list could go on and on! God has blessed us in so many more ways than can be named in one note. The more we recognize that, the more I believe we will see that we have been given the resources to continue to fish for people as Jesus commissioned his disciples to do.
I want to thank our outgoing class of elders and deacons for their ministry over the last three years: Judy Chessa, Todd Child, Gloria Coccodrilli, Louise Fang, Kristin Hodgkinson, Carter Humphrey, Connie Knapp, Marianna Sherman, Fran Schiel, Ken Shulman, Dick Seymour, Barbara Wilkens, and Abi Winsted. Thank you for your faith and your ministry among us.
We enter 2011 with a mission and a vision. “Our Mission as God’s people is to Invite all into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, study and fellowship and to work for God’s peace, justice and human dignity by reaching out to the world in a servant ministry.” Our Vision is to be “a community of faith, open to all, called to follow Jesus Christ, seeking to meet the spiritual and physical needs of our world with joy, support and love.” The goal I hear in them is similar to Jesus’ words for the disciples and the word that came out of the Session retreat last year. Our goal is to connect with God, with one another and with the world God so loves. Following Jesus, we cast our nets wide and far to invite everyone to experience God’s healing, saving love and to find hope and purpose for their lives in Christ Jesus. Thank you for all that you have done that we may be faithful to that call, and thank you in advance for all that we will do together to live that call in 2011.
We are a living mission.