Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” --Galatians 522-23
Having just concluded a beautiful, meaningful and Spirit-filled Advent-Christmas season here at Boiling Springs, we are poised at the beginning of another calendar year. In many ways, January 1st is no different than December 31st, yet it gives us a reason to reflect on where we’ve been, and where we need to go as a fellowship of faith. This coming March 1st will mark the beginning of our fourth year as Pastor and congregation. As stated before, we have come so far together, yet we would be less than true disciples if we did not also realize that we have (and should) have far to go as we, in the words of St. Paul, “strive for perfection.”
Our thanks and gratitude for our Church Council, which meets today for the first time this year. Some disciples continue to serve in their former positions, and others have joined our leadership team. We know that the Holy Spirit is both within us and around us. May we forever heed the Spirit’s call, that we may continue to truly “make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
As Pastor, I would like to make you and the rest of our congregation aware of some of the progress we have made in various areas of ministry here, as well as my vision for the future in other areas…
· This past weekend, we completed the taking of portraits for our Pictorial Directory, with the help of The Portrait Café. Our thanks to Neil Craps and hiscommittee for their continuing hard work in making this a reality. The Directory will go very far in bringing our fellowship of faith even closer together, and help our newer members to get to know us. This project builds on the hard work of our Membership Committee, chaired by Sandra Ballington and JoAnn Gunter, who invested many weeks of their personal time to get our membership rolls up to date. Thank you, ladies.
· Our thanks to Bruce Wyndham for his many years of faithful service as our Church School Superintendent. Bruce’s years of dedication to our children of all ages is unparalleled in the history of Boiling Springs UMC. Thank you, Bruce. We welcome Betsy Goodman and Tina Allemond as our new Co-Superintendents this year. Work has already begun to automate our Church School attendance record-keeping, thereby enabling better follow-up by our teachers when students are absent. This will also flag the need for follow-up by me, for those families who may seem to be drifting away from participation in Church programs and activities.
· A requirement in our UM Conference is to have a Safe Sanctuaries policy firmly in place, to protect all those using our facilities and/or participating in our programs—especially our children, youth and vulnerable adults. Our thanks to Sandra Padgett (Coordinator for Age-Level Ministries) and Betsy Goodman (Church School Co-Superintendent) who are creating an updated and revised PowerPoint tutorial. This will enable all those who come in contact with our children, youth and vulnerable adults to be certified by being able to view the tutorial and take the required examination via an on-line presentation.
· Having just held the election of officers for our Board of Trustees , our 2018 Church Leadership Team is now firmly in place. A listing of officers, work area coordinators and committee members has been sent out to our members and community friends via our Prayer Chain e-mail list. Hard copies of this list are available on the table in the Church sanctuary narthex. Please give all these persons your prayers, support, advice and gratitude!
· Our Strategic Planning and “Forward Focus” Team, chaired by Walt Crozier, has been in place for over a year. My thanks to those who have agreed to serve. Unfortunately, other than the cleaning our membership rolls and doing our Pictorial Directory, we have done little—through no fault of our own—to move forward. Sylvia Backman and I had signed up almost immediately when this initiative was first presented by our Conference. Having moved well beyond crisis mode here at Boiling Springs UMC, we were eager to begin the process to look further into what our future might look like. I am pleased to report, through meetings with some of our District officers, that a “Coach” is about to be assigned to us, so that we might begin “Forward Focus.” If rumors become fact we will have, I believe, a great “Coach” choice to help and assist us. As soon as this person is assigned, we will call a meeting of our Strategic Planning and ”Forward Focus” Team and continue our progress!
· According to our United Methodist Book of Discipline, the Pastor is the “chief administrator of the local Church,” and mandated to implement and carry out policies as formulated by the Charge Conference and/or Church Council. My personal thanks Rose Bass (Church Office Secretary and Financial Secretary), to Dot Black (Church Council Chairperson) and to Sylvia Backman (Lay Leader). These are the folks who help and assist me in fulfilling my duties as Pastor. Their help and assistance cannot be overstated. Also, in my “pastoral care” role, I could not do what I do without the prayers and visits by our In-Touch Ministries team, coordinated by Charles and Carolyn Taylor. These disciples, in teams of two, visit our ill and shut-in members, send cards and greetings to them, and provide extra needed sets of “eyes and ears” to an always busy Pastor. My gratitude goes out to all of you!
· And what about our ever-expanding Youth Group Ministries??? Continued thanks and appreciation to Ben Treaster and his wife Melissa, along with Sheila Mack, Tina Allemond and Vicky Pankow. Our Youth Group, which gets together on Wednesday nights during “Wonderful Wednesdays” and also on Sunday mornings during Church School time, is among the most faithfully attended small groups in our Church. Youth Group provides a place for fun, fellowship, trust and learning to young people whose families are BUMC members as well as other families from our community. At this writing, over twenty persons will be attending “Revolution 2018” this month. Ben Treaster, who is also a Patrol Sergeant with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, provides additional leadership to our Safe Sanctuaries Task Force and is a constant source for information, advice and support for this Pastor. Iam most grateful for his many ministries among us. Plans are also underway for a priority Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) Policy to be developed and implemented, with Sgt. Treaster’s help and expertise, for the safety and well-being of all who come here!
As I have been sharing each year (for the past three years, I know) I anticipate being here as Pastor for at least a couple of years more, before I retire for the second and last time. I think we have come so far together, yet there is much that we need to do, in order to prepare for Boiling Springs UMC’s future. May God continue to guard and guide us. May we continue to realize that it is not our Church, but the Church of Jesus Christ that we serve. May we continue to know that no one person is the head of this Church except Jesus Christ himself. May we continue to respect each other’s individual beliefs, opinions and ideas—continue at times to agree to disagree—but to leave it to the Holy Spirit to reveal what is best for this fellowship of faith here on Calks Ferry Road!
May God bless you all, as we travel this “road” together! And the journey continues…