By Pastor Manda
For the past month, Jean Hope has been taking the drawers of CGS history and digitizing it for our archives. Recently she found an article from the very first Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly in 1988. We both marveled at how much this newsletter article from the bishop sounded exactly like a newsletter article that we would find in this newsletter in 2019.
Based on the content (which you can find on the kiosk in the Narthex) there was a great deal of anxiety in the community about the amount and rapid pace of change. “Do we have to make so many changes so quickly?” “What will the new church be like?”
He talks about how many people were relieved to hear the new language of worship and see the diverse expressions of faith in the new assembly. He also acknowledges that others were hurt or offended by the same things.
What’s even more remarkable is that through the Presiding Bishop Chilstrom’s sermon, he reminds us that the apostle Paul writes about the same things in his letters to the first Christian churches. “Paul, what about those nasty lawsuits between members?” and “What are you going to do about those who make pigs of themselves at the Lord’s Supper?”
And thus we are reminded that we’re not doing anything new at CGS. We’re repeating the same cycle of questioning, change, and adjustment that the Body of Christ has been doing from the very beginning. Our community is not drastically changing for the first time, we’re doing it for the 2,000th time.
But church. I want to tell you – you are doing it well.
At our special congregational meeting in September I wanted so badly for things to go well. I worried that if we couldn’t figure out how to communicate well that there would be fear and a loss of trust in one another. My fears were unfounded because what I witnessed on Sunday was a community that did a MARVELOUS job of facing change together.
The council did a phenomenal job of preparing for that meeting. They put months of thoughtful prayer and conversation into those motions. Our members did a wonderful job of raising excellent questions. We even proposed amendments! And amendments to amendments! THAT WAS AWESOME!
In that meeting I saw a community that isn’t stuck in the past nor afraid of the future. Or, well, maybe we are individually but collectively we’re faithfully responding to God’s call and shifting our resources, our way of life, and our hopes to Proclaim, Welcome, and Serve.
Of course, the same thing is true that has always been true. Every year there will be something more to change, some new adjustment to make. But Church, in your ability to be adaptive and flexible to the whims of the Holy Spirit in our midst, I am seeing the Word of God at work, creating new things and speaking the truth of resurrection into the world. Thanks be to God.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.