As of October 1, I have officially been your pastor for one year. It has been a mostly joyful year, with highlights including welcoming 5 new members to the congregation, possibly record setting high attendance at Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday services, and Leadership Retreats in which your Deacons and Elders set forth goals for the coming year and then evaluated their progress several months later.
There has also been sadness, with two memorial services in the month of August. Both joy and sorrow are a normal part of life, including the life of a congregation. There is a lot going on at Immanuel these days. We are trying some new things, such as Taizé services this summer which were well-received and will re-appear 4 or 5 times a year, and a Women's Meet Up group which has started on Mondays at 7pm, led by new member Elizabeth Amber and at the home of another new member Candace Arlian. We have welcomed numerous visitors to our worship services in recent months and several of them have become regular attendees, thanks in part I believe to the welcoming and tracking processes developed and put in place at the Leadership Retreat in February.
At the end of December, we will be ending our building use agreement with the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, and the Session has already been approached by other potential groups who are interested in using our facility after that time.
God is providing us with many opportunities for ministry in various ways. Although all this activity is a sign of health and vitality, it can also be exhausting for those who are coordinating it all, namely myself and the Session and the Deacons. Please pray for continuing strength, wisdom, and energy for us as we seek to be faithful to our call as your leaders.
We welcome your input and assistance, and later this fall you will have the opportunity to tell us how you'd like to contribute by filling out a pledge card with your commitment of time, talent, and treasure. In the meantime, if you see a need that is being unmet, rather than simply complain about it, I encourage you to find a way that you might help to meet it. In a small congregation, each and every person is essential!