Brothers & Sisters,
Have you ever heard the expression: “Life is lived forward and understood backwards”?
I believe this is especially true for followers of Jesus. We live day by day, trusting God to guide and provide for our lives while not knowing everything the future holds.
I sometimes think about the Sunday School class from First Methodist-Episcopal Church that began praying in 1902 about establishing a new church in the Glen-Iris neighborhood where most class members lived. Their prayers for God's wisdom led to them stepping out together, trusting God as they purchased land and built 11th Avenue Methodist-Episcopal Church. They celebrated their first service of worship in 1903.
I have read the historical records we have of that first campaign, and the faith of these Christian ancestors inspired me. They were deeply committed to knowing Jesus and sharing his love with their community. What a heritage!
I do not believe any of them at that time were envisioning how God would lead the congregation beyond their lifetimes, across the decades and to new locations to celebrate and share the love of God. Their lives of faith were lived forward in trust and we who look backwards at their history can see and understand how the hand of God was at work.
Now, 120 years later, our church is practicing the same kind of faith: praying for wisdom and stepping out together in trust of God to build a new, permanent church.
As you can read in the brochure that will arrive in your mailbox this week, our focus in 2024 echoes the mission that began 120 years ago. We want to know the transforming love of Jesus Christ, and share that together with our local community and all the way to Quito, Ecuador!
I invite you to read through the brochure you receive and consider how God can use your unique gifts and talents to enable us to have greater ministry impact inside and outside the walls of our church.
On Celebration Sunday, November 19th, we will ask every member to commit to the five areas of membership for the coming year.
Our obedience through the five areas of commitment outlined over the next two weeks will be the catalyst for increasing our faith and having greater ministry impact in the world.
We are living forward together, confident that God can be trusted. The year to come will become a part of the storied history of our congregation - a congregation that has proved the faithfulness of God in each generation.