Like some of you, I’m in the frantic stages of shopping, wrapping decorating and preparing for Christmas. I envy those of you who have had your gifts wrapped and under the tree for weeks. Right now, I wish I was you! I may have started listening to Christmas carols in mid-November, but I didn’t get wrapping until just this past week.
In the midst of all of the preparations as both a pastor and a mom, we had not one but two families with whom we have worked throughout the year approach us to help provide Christmas gifts for their children. Many thanks to all of you who jumped in to help in the midst of your own family preparations! As a church family, we were able to provide gifts for nine children in two families in addition to all of the toys we collected for ECHO’s Christmas shop.
Working with these two families, I’m mindful of the needs of our neighbors for resources. We have amazing social ministry organizations in our community such as ECHO, the Lamb Center, the Shepherd Center and others, too, who support families and seniors throughout the year. But…those organizations cannot possibly meet all the needs of our all neighbors on their own.
As we prepare to head into the new year, one of the things I ear God calling us to do is to find more opportunities to provide resources to those in our faith family and to our neighbors through our community center, especially in regards to health and wellness. The possibilities for us are endless! A parish nurse, a social worker, trained volunteers from the congregation who are willing to help our “walk in" neighbors get connected to social services. What if we had trusted therapists on site and provided childcare for parents during their appointments? What if we expanded the support groups we offer to provide one for caregivers and/or a grief support group? What if…?
I invite you to start dreaming, praying and listening to God about how we as a church can continue to best provide for the needs of our faith family and our neighbors. Come the new year, I’d love to share a cup of coffee and hear your ideas. We have such an amazing congregation, that the possibilities of how we might expand our ministries really are endless. So, if you have some time and/or some passion, start dreaming and praying!