Thoughts Along the Way: January 2013
As we celebrate this New Year it seems fitting to reflect upon the many blessings we experienced as a church family in 2012. It was a year that brought changes and also the promises of changes to the United Methodist Church, our Annual Conference and the Parsons District. On the global scale we experienced General Conference, regionally we became part of the new Great Plains Episcopal Area and locally we saw a change of our District Superintendent . These moments gave us the opportunity to see ourselves and our church as a part of the global ministry that is the United Methodist Church.
As we prepared to say goodbye to Reverend Maxwell we had time to reflect upon what a gift she was to our district and our church during her tenure. This was quickly followed by getting to meet Reverend Kibum Kim and experience his approach to the office of District Superintendent. We would soon realize that we had once again been blessed with devoted and spirit-filled leadership.
Our church would once again be asked to open our doors to a mission team that needed lodging while they served in Joplin, Missouri. This time the team was larger and was coming from Texas instead of Nebraska. We would find that instead of just trying to be a blessing to them, that they would both inspire us by their actions and enrich us with their generosity as they showed their thanks with a monetary donation to our church. This was deeply appreciated, especially since 2012 was a year that started off with us trying to find the funds to pay our utility bills in the early months.
We would find ourselves moving beyond the struggle to find the funding to meet those bills to offering new ministries and outreach activities as the year progressed. After many years we would once again offer Vacation Bible School to approximately twenty-five children from the area. This would be followed by giving out hot dogs and other treats to children and adults as part of a Halloween night Harvest Celebration. In the weeks that followed we would also offer a free community Thanksgiving dinner for anybody that was hungry or lonely in the area. The project brought many blessings as members of the Presbyterian Church also offered their support and talents to make the meal possible.
Native American Sunday brought us blessings in the form of the Cherokee Nation Choir and the return visit of Reverend Pat and Vera Freeman to our church. It is my hope that their gift of a hand woven basket will become a traditional part of our Native American Sundays in the future. The special offering for Native American Sunday was the largest special offering of the year.
The “Operation Overboard” themed Vacation Bible School allowed us to experiment with multimedia elements in worship and helped generate interest in making them a permanent part of worship services. As we wrapped up the year we had purchased the equipment necessary to add multimedia to our services and were finalizing installation and honing our skills with this new resource.
If we take time to think about it, the events listed above barely scratch the surface of all the blessings that we have experienced as a church family. If we allow ourselves to also remember the new births, a baptism and a wedding then we may start to understand the wide range of the blessings we received and it did not stop there. There were also all those countless little moments where God touched our lives and we were touched by the love and concern of the members of our church family. When we truly take time to remember all that happened in 2012, then we may start to realize what an abundant life we truly have been given.
In the year ahead, may we always remember how God loves and blesses us and to be thankful for those blessings. May we also be a blessing to others and never lose sight of the hope and promise that God holds for us, our church, our community and our world in 2013.