Year In Review
What a year it has been at Abiding Presence! Thank you for all of the ways that you made ministry happen this past year through your financial support as well your hands and feet. Together, we have been busy Connecting People to Christ through Community and sharing the good news of God’s love. Here’s a quick glance at just a few of the many things we were able to do together this past year.
Worship is the heart of our life together as the faith family of Abiding Presence. We continue to worship each weekend at three worship services, each one having a unique personality and worship style. It takes a lot of people working both behind the scenes and up in front to make worship happen each weekend.
This fall we Pastor Heidi took the lead on launching assisting ministers who help to lead the prayers and remind all of us that the word liturgy means the work of the people (not just the pastors).
Our average weekly worship attendance grew to 287 people, which represents a nearly 40% growth in our average worship attendance in the past 10 years and an increase of 5½% over 2017.
We held our largest Vacation Bible School ever with 130 kids and over 60 youth and adults helping.
Thirteen senior high youth and three adults to the ELCA National Youth Gathering to join over 30,000 other Lutheran high school youth and adults.
Seventeen people formed our second mission team that went to the Dominican Republic to work with our partner congregation Iglesia Bautista Luz Divina.
40th Anniversary Celebration
Throughout the spring we celebrated our 40th anniversary which culminated on Pentecost Sunday with a festival worship service and luncheon. It was a chance to give thanks for all those who helped to build and lead our congregation to the place it is today.
In honor of the 40th anniversary, we replaced the sanctuary chairs and purchased new coordinating folding chairs. These chairs will provide a place for people to worship at Abiding Presence for the next generation.
Our old chairs were passed on to another congregation who were able to replace the metal folding chairs being used in their worship space.
We launched a new neighborhood pantry over the summer in partnership with the PTA of Rolling Valley Elementary School. This pantry allows us to support families in our community by meeting them where they are by bringing the pantry to a local apartment complex. In December, a “Cookies with Santa” event was held in conjunction with the neighborhood pantry. Thirteen families attended and 17 bags of food were passed out.
Children & Youth Ministry
This fall we re-launched two of our ministries with and to children and youth. First, our Wednesday night elementary school youth groups by moving to a rotation model taught by high school and adult teachers. This has allowed us to expand the number of children involved in the Wednesday night youth groups.
Second, we revamped confirmation program for first year confirmation youth. Our new way of doing confirmation places a greater emphasis on families learning together and helping youth to not only learn about, but also live out their baptismal faith.
At the beginning of the year we launched a Senior High Discernment Taskforce. This led us to apply for and be accepted to the Log College Project Community of Practice through Princeton Seminary. We now have a Design Team of adults and youth working together to re-envision our senior high youth ministry. We will continue discerning through early 2019 as we develop a new ministry design with and for senior high youth to launch in the fall of 2019. This new ministry idea will be supported by a $15,000 grant from the Log College Project.
As part of our discernment around senior high youth ministry, we welcomed Katy Moran as Senior High Youth Director in December. Katy will be us through May working with our senior high and helping to lay the groundwork for the Log College Project new ministry that will launch.
Advent and Christmas
We wrapped up the year with a magnificent season of Advent and Christmas celebration. The special Saturday advent services featuring jazz vespers, evensong and the cantata highlighted the many and diverse musicians our congregation is blessed to have.
The children and youth music ensembles, including our new youth choir, featured over 50 preschool through senior high youth in telling the Christmas story through song.
On Christmas Eve we welcomed over 750 people to worship and celebrate the birth of Christ our Lord.