I was talking with my husband at lunch today. Some of you know that Mike is doing transitional ministry and recently began working with a congregation in Michigan. He has been spending the last two months talking individually with members either by phone or by zoom to get an initial feel for the ministry of this particular church. He’s almost through with this initial individual interview phase and so I asked him, “So what do you know about this church?”
He responded that there were lots of really good people in this congregation. (That is my general experience of Presbyterian churches. They are full of good people.) He also said this congregation was really sad they were not who they used to be. The church Mike is serving at the moment used to be a really big church with a large and very fine music program. They miss being who they once were. I didn’t even pause, but said immediately, “I think the Elkhart church is over that.”
I hope I’m right in that assessment because our church used to be a really large church as well. I’ve heard the stories and I’ve seen the pictures, but my impression is that our church is over “missing who we used to be.” I hope so because I really like the church we are today. I like the really good people that make up our church. I like the kindness and patience that our church has shown in this last difficult year during the pandemic. I like the commitment to loving one another and welcoming everyone regardless of where you come from, or what you’ve done or what you look like. I like the obvious love of children and support of families. I like the theological curiosity of our people. I like the passion for caring for our elderly. I like the tolerance of each other’s preferences for music. I like the compassion this church has for people in need. I like the sincere desire to reach out with the love of Christ. I like the generosity of our people. And I especially like the passion this church has for ensuring First Presbyterian has a solid future.
If you don’t know it already, please know it today. This is a good church. It’s a really good church right now. It’s a good place to nurture your faith, to raise your family and to find companionship in your sunset years. Of course we have room to grow and lots of hope for a new future together. But in the meantime, remember… this is God’s Presbyterian church in Elkhart and God can see, “It is good.”
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