Last year I began my report by saying that it was a joy to be writing the annual report to you! As we look back on our first full year of ministry together, my joy has only increased. I regularly give thanks to God for you as a congregation, for your warmth and hospitality, for your love for one another, for your desire to care for each other and to serve the world in the name of Jesus. Our family is overjoyed to be in your midst ministering alongside you.
As you read through the various reports* which follow, I encourage you to read them with eyes focused on the ministry of Jesus in our midst. Jesus promised to be with his disciples, and that means Jesus has promised to be with us. Jesus has been at work in our life together, calling us to give of ourselves for the sake of others, both within our faith family and in the community beyond. Jesus has been at work increasing our capacity to give generously, both of our lives and of our resources. Jesus has been teaching us to see the world through his eyes, and to feel and experience the world as he feels and experiences it, so that we might laugh with those who laugh and mourn with those who mourn. Jesus has been meeting with us, teaching us, calling us to follow him yet again, and encouraging us as we seek God’s kingdom. Jesus has been at work equipping us for ministry, calling forth gifts both old and new. Let us give thanks to Jesus for all he has been doing in our midst through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
I encourage you to take some time and reflect on where Jesus has been with you through this past year. Where have you been comforted? Where have you been challenged? Where you have been equipped? Where have you been sent in Jesus’ name? Once you have had a chance to reflect on these questions, I encourage you to get together with one or two friends and to share together. In so doing we will be giving a report not just on the church’s programs and our corporate life together, but also on the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives as our Lord continues the work he began in each of us.
As we look toward the future, let us also give thanks to God for the new work to which Jesus is calling us and for which the Spirit is now preparing us. May our celebration of this year’s ministry, and the knowledge of the Spirit’s work in our lives which flows from that celebration, give us courage to live into the future with hope. May the knowledge that Christ is ever with us make us willing to give the fullness of ourselves to God’s purposes in the world!