“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ says the White Queen to Alice.” Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my Gospel.” Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 2:8
It’s nearly the start of a new year, which means it’s time for taking stock. The newsfeed on my cellphone is full of the kinds of articles you’d expect to read this time of year. There are lists of the years best and worst in sports, entertainment, world politics, food and more. As I write these words, one article from the Wall Street Journal in my newsfeed is titled: “Best and Worst Ads of 2016: The Things We Can’t Unsee.” How true.
Every year is full of things that happen in the life of the church. Most are good things as we proclaim the life-renewing message of Jesus the Christ in a community, and for a world, that is broken and hurting and desperately in need of Good News. Some things we might like to forget. But like the news article about the advertisements, we cannot “unsee” what has happened in the last year. We can, however, redeem what has passed for the future—for God’s future. “I once was lost,” go the words of one of the greatest hymns ever, “but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
So at the risk of overloading you with another list for 2016, here are some of the ways Weller UMC contributed to God’s mission of redeeming what has passed for the God’s future:
- Missions: We had several trips to Mission Central where volunteers helped sort and organize in their warehouse; donated to local charities; supported Food Bank; Angel Tree for 25 children; Operation Christmas child collected 112 shoeboxes for children.
- For children: Sunday School classes led by dedicated teachers and the great fun of VBS in June; dedicated a playground behind the Weller House.
- For Youth: In addition to Youth Group meetings in the spring and fall, several youth and adults went on a mission trip in August; also took part in a retreat at Camp Manidokan in November with Good Shepherd UMC.
- Puppet Ministry: The Potter’s Hands gave inspiring messages during worship and held a community show at the church in March.
- For Adults: Three adult Sunday School classes met during the year; several short term Bible studies during the year.
- SES: Our partnership with Sabillasville Elementary School continues with a lunch for teachers hosted by Deerfield UMC, several volunteers working with children, and our May-June book drive that collected books for all the children to take home over the summer.
- Renovation: We painted the halls, Fellowship room, stairwell, office, library, and nursery, and we re-carpeted the Education Wing hallway; replaced bad concrete at the church and parsonage; sponsored an Eagle Scout project for the Weller House.
- Music: Two beautiful cantatas at Easter and Christmas by the gifted voice and handbell choirs.
- Fellowship: Several events included the ever-fun Talent Show and the delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
- Apportionments: We met our goal for 2016 by paying $15,000 of a nearly $21,000 apportionment that connects us with the global mission of the church. That’s up from paying $6,000 on a $21,500 apportionment in 2013. What great progress!
I’m sure I missed some things but these were a few of the memorable events in the life of the people called Weller UMC in 2016. I give thanks to God for each of you and for all of us together because together, we do so much for the Lord to bring hope, healing and wholeness to our community.
We also need to look ahead to a future full of hope and promise because of what the Lord has done for us. “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the Dead,” wrote the Apostle Paul. When we remember Jesus, we are—in that odd phrase—remembering the future. We remember Jesus is God’s future brought into our present. Jesus shows us what it means to live the life God intended for us from the beginning; a life full of love, peace, mercy and grace; a new life that is ours now and for eternity.
As 2017 dawns, I look forward to sharing another year of beautiful ministry together. I believe God has a lot in store for the people known as Weller UMC in the coming year. Pray for the year to come. Pray in the name of Jesus. Pray without ceasing.