Greetings Fremont Family,
Happy New Year!
With 2022 having come to a close, I thought I would take a moment and celebrate some of the wonderful things that happened this past year. In fact, in the spirit of one year ending and another one beginning, I thought I would offer my "Top 5 Best Things" at Fremont for 2022. This short list doesn't even begin to cover all the blessings, but it does give us a wonderful foundation for celebrating an incredible year of ministry together.
#5: Hiring Diane Rheos as our new Community Development Director - I am putting this one at the bottom of my Top 5 list only because Diane has just gotten started. She has been in the office for a few weeks and already I can see amazing things happening. Diane has a knack for organizational development (and lots of education and training too) and she has a vision for using our space as a community hub. I can't wait to see what we will do together this coming year!
#4: The Parsonage Renovation and outreach to the neighborhood - Okay, technically, these are two things. Did you see what I did there? Honestly, for me, they go hand in hand. Reclaiming our parsonage for the use of the pastor's family and our family's location in the neighborhood are part of our larger vision to build relationships with surrounding neighbors. Just in the few months we have been in the parsonage, we have met many people who live around us and all of them have shown appreciation for the improvements made to the church's beautiful home.
#3: Completing Phase 1 of Capital Campaign Renovations - Entryway and Main Floor of the Office Area - I am not going to lie to you, the demolition of the entryway and the improvements done to the main office area were a HUGE undertaking. For nearly 7 months (September 2021 to April 2022) the space was under massive construction, and there were days where I didn't know how much more I could take. But, the results are beautiful! And, more importantly, the change in the space has already changed how we offer hospitality to neighbors and new building users. The new studio space (former nursery) has become a favorite place to gather, and the reception area at the front offers immediate welcome for those coming through our doors. Well done, Fremont!
#2 The return of our "Come to the Waters" process for spiritual development - You may not know this, but the adult catechumenate (say what?) process formerly known as "Sacramental Living" was one of the main reasons I felt called to Fremont UMC in the first place. I am a big believer in creating pathways for seekers to become disciples. Few churches (honestly, I cannot think of another one in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference) have a process for people to come into membership and/or baptism in ways that lead to robust discipleship. In January of 2022, we were able to restart this amazing ministry. At Easter, we welcomed 6 new members with 1 baptism, and this fall, we began a second class with even more people walking this way with us.
#1 (Drumroll please) The Centennial Celebration!!! - Without a doubt this momentous occasion was a highlight of 2022 for me. We planned for months to make sure we honored this significant threshold crossing, and the day did not disappoint. What an amazing gathering of former pastors, old friends, and contemporary siblings in ministry. 100 years is an extraordinary milestone to commemorate, and we did it right.
The memories of this wonderful day will stay with me for a very long time.
What about you? Do you have a Top 5? I would love to hear them, and I hope you take a moment to consider the incredible ministry we have done together this past year. God is with us, and I look forward to another wonderful year together in 2023.
Grace and peace,