Pastor's Letter - August
Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.
I want to take this space to thank you for allowing us to take part in the wonderful undertaking that was our Mission Trip to Roanoke. Elsewhere in the newsletter you can get details on what happened, but I want you to know that it was an extremely meaningful experience and was filled with spiritual fulfillment.
We met complete strangers and served complete strangers. And by the time it was all over, we weren't complete strangers anymore. Perhaps we won't talk with our work groups anymore, but those shared experiences are something that will keep coming up in our memory banks. They will last far longer than the four days that it took to undertake the trip. I occasionally get text messages from some of the kids that worked with me, but those are fleeting. This trip proved to your pastor something that I always felt but couldn't quite grasp.
Our church is bigger than one denomination.
Our church is bigger than one tradition.
Our church is bigger than one geographic area.
Our church is bigger than "traditional" church activities.
We didn't quite worship in the same way we do here on a Sunday morning. It was quick. The songs were different. There was always sharing and discussion within the group of over 400 people gathered from all across the country. But there was, if you will, a holiness to our work. There was a holiness in our sharing. And though I can't speak for everyone, I came out of the experience thinking about church quite differently than I had before. Perhaps that was the Holy Spirit working.
As I write this letter, there is heavy flooding coming through our area because of rain that is coming and coming seemingly without an end in sight. You may have seen the pictures of Tremont and Pine Grove. Emergency services are already at work in those towns, and I suspect there will be more need as time passes. You might remember the massive flood of 2011 that almost completely submerged Klingerstown and took houses apart from their foundations in Bloomsburg. There is a great chance that we might be seeing something similar.
As time passes, I think it's important that we seek out opportunities to serve people in our community and link up to other churches and organizations in doing so. If that can happen in Roanoke in an non-emergency environment, it can certainly happen in Schuylkill County where we live, work, and play.
As for now, we will be collecting flood bucket supplies to help people clean up their homes and property. This is every bit as holy as worship, I believe. It is an act that calls us to put our faith into practice and make sure that someone else has what they need. While it's not as structured as our liturgy and not as large as our Christmas Eve service, it is every bit as important.
Here are supplies that we will be collecting for the next month. This is a different list than in years past: 5 Gallon Buckets, all-purpose sponges, disposable green gloves, soft grip scrub brushes, Sharpie permanent markers, retractable utility knives, wide mouth sprayers, mold control spray, bleach, all-purpose cleaner, 33gal drawstring garbage bags, and terry towels.
If and when I find out need for active bodies to engage in service projects, we will get organized to do something there as well. Rise up, church!