After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way, bringing news and curing diseases everywhere.
Welcoming a New Expression of Ministry
As I write this, we are just finished with the congregational vote to call Reverend Sarah Vetter as our Minister of Community Life. I am grateful to everyone who made this new position possible: to Doug Ewers and the members of the Church Board to helping to shape the idea of this new position; to David Beecher, Kristen Skonieczny and Cynthia Nethercut, who served on an ad hoc Discernment Team, that helped imagine this position as meeting specific needs we face as a congregation, and to Kristen and the members of the Search Committee for their time, energy and diligence in evaluating Sarah and determining her suitability for the position, and as importantly, her ‘fit’ with our church.
And finally, my thanks to all the members of First Congregational Church to attended the ‘listening forums,’ to voice support and raise necessary questions; and everyone of you for your faith in this new enterprise. It is something different, an idea for ministry that is something new to our church’s life. Your confidence is very much appreciated.
As Luke gospel makes clear, the church does not rely on one person, but on many, each called and sent as a minister. When Jesus sends out the 70, he recognizes and affirms that God invests each of us with gifts, experience, knowledge – with capacities to manifest the love of God to the world we seek to serve.
When our church’s leadership first began to discern the position of a Minister for Community Life, one important consideration was the need for a staff person who would help to raise up the gifts of our members, help them to reflect upon the ways God might be calling them to ministry, and to serve as a contact and resource person to help people bring their ideas for programs to realization.
We were intentional in choosing to avoid the older title, ‘Associate Minister,’ because in many ways that title belongs to a past age. Our hope is that the Minister of Community Life will be a part of a new vision for First Congregational Church, a way towards enriching our current vitality as a church and inviting more people to take an active role in developing exciting new ministries that will carry us into the future.
Again, our thanks to you for your support. A bountiful harvest awaits; and I very much look forward to all that God has yet to do with us and through us.