Despite this year’s capricious January weather, the season of winter offers us an excellent opportunity to do some internal reflection both as individuals and as a congregation. As I said in last Sunday’s sermon, “we are each here for a purpose, a reason, and every one of us, as an individual, is the only person who can fulfill our particular purpose or reason for being alive in the world… The point of call is for us to be most fully ourselves, for us to hear the voice of our own neshamah (voice or spirit of God) and to live out that purpose in the world.”
During the winter months, we’ll have a variety of opportunities for listening both to our own neshamah and to our collective call as a congregation. On Saturday, 1/28, we’ll host a half-day spiritual retreat meant to provide congregation members and friends with the quiet space and time they need to experience both the call and love of God in their lives. Please see attached for the schedule, which will include art, movement, conscious breathing, deep relaxation, and music (in other words, meditative modalities meant to appeal to a wide range of preferences!).
On Sunday, 1/29, we’ll gather after worship for our annual congregational meeting. This is such an important part of our denomination’s “polity” (system of governance), because it demonstrates how each person really does have a voice in every UCC congregation. We’ll vote on: our annual budget, the ballot of nominated lay leaders, and some important bylaws changes that reflect our current needs for programming and committees. We’ll also hear an update from our Strategic Planning Chair, Kris Davis, who will introduce us to the concept of call as it applies to our entire congregation. And we’ll continue to listen for our congregation’s call as we move forward with the strategic planning process in the coming months.
As I reflect upon the almost nine months since I arrived at Cleveland Park Church, I perceive that, together, we have gestated something wonderful. Our Sunday School Program is thriving, there are more opportunities for adult faith formation and fellowship, worship attendance has grown substantially, mission activities and contributions have increased, and our stewardship campaign was a success. Guided by the Spirit, we have all worked together—lay leaders, volunteers, church staff and clergy—and I am grateful to each and every one of you for fulfilling your own “particular purpose or reason for being” at Cleveland Park Church.
I look forward to this Sunday’s worship, when Rev. Anne Troy, Executive Director of Shaw Community Ministry (SCM), will be guest preaching and the SCM Praise Dancers, a group of five middle and high school girls from the Shaw neighborhood in DC, will be performing. I’ll be right there with you to welcome them.