Launching to New Reaches

Within this month, we welcome three new interns who will serve our congregation in servant leader roles.  Melissa Smith (Pittsburg, PA) is a student at Seattle University’s School of Theology, Stephen Gumber (Tyler, TX) is a student at Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and Margie Quinn is a Young Adult Service Community member (Nashville).  As we welcome the choir back this Sunday (15th), the 22nd will be welcoming and commissioning Margie, Stephen, and Mia for a year of ministry with us.

The blessing of these additions to a pastoral team is no surprise to me.  The work on our building is not about meeting code or an effort to preserve a historical building.   At its foundation, it is not even about keeping warm, safe, and dry.  While those are wonderful and important outcomes of the renovation effort, they are consolations of our faith and the work of the Spirit.  God is at work, calling and preparing All Pilgrims for a continued expansion of transforming ministry, doing it from a warm, safe, and dry building with great history.

Something that deserves recognition and respect as our building has parts torn off and apart, as it is surrounded by scaffolding and dumpsters, and as our sidewalk areas are either blocked or disrupted is how our community of faith remains focused on its vibrant ministry.  It is true that many congregations misunderstand building efforts as the end goal, allowing that effort to become the primary reference and reason for a restricting, internal focus.  For us, we know that God calls us to join in ministry and inspires work on the building to that end.

Look around and see that our ministries, ones many of you are involved in, have not missed a beat.  Listen for complaint about inconvenience, and our ears will be overwhelmed by meaningful conversation, laughter, and the sound of a rehearsing choir.  We have no confusion about the call and joy that comes from practicing our faith as we journey together.  Your faithing (yes, a verb) is grand!

In order for such vibrancy and focus on ministry to be maintained in this time of construction, a few have agreed to take on the heavier tasks of managing and monitoring our construction progress.  This allows us as a community to not feel more distraction and disruption.  While there have been more involved over time, now that work is going on, Kathleen Hosfeld and Ray Nutter are two who are carrying much of the load.  Thank you both!

When a child receives a gift of an instrument it is with the expectation that she/he will use it.  When a person is given a hat and coat as a gift it is expected that she/he will wear them.  The same is true for a congregation and their building.  God expects that we will use it, and from it we will launch to new reaches as we animate the courageously compassionate Gospel to change the world.  As three interns show up, we see the work of the Spirit.  We need them…..and more to do ministry that God has for us!

We will serve from a warm, safe, and dry building, practicing our faith through our vibrant ministries and  discovering new callings and invitations to respond.  Expanding our Sunday evening activities – monthly, creative worship experiences, Young Adult Group, and Beer and Hymns (starting the 22nd at 6:30 pm) – is in response to our call to diversify our connection points and experiences.  Connecting and adding small group as people feel inspired to lead provide intimate, trusting groups for spiritual growth, exploration, and ministry.  Our children and youth ministry has increasing adult participation and calls for more to assist and volunteer as we prepare for more families to join us and share our journey.  And, an exploratory team has begun work on discovering and shaping mission trip possibilities to offer the congregation that we may go.  It is no surprise that we have been blessed with three wonderful, servant-leader interns to join such a faithful community that we may boldly practice our faith, together.  Gracious God, give us what we need to faithfully keep up with your call, and give us the faith to know and respond to your Wild Spirit and vision!

– Pastor Greg