A New Year brings New Things...
As we begin the journey that will be 2016, we pause to reflect on 2015. As we reflect on the year just past, we recall that we gathered to worship for almost 120 times counting special worship celebrations, we said hello to some new faces and bade farewell to some familiar faces, we prayed together, laughed and cried together. We studied together, served together and sought to be faithful in living out our shared commitment to making disciples and transforming lives. Thank you for your faithful support of our shared ministry that made 2015 a great year of Kingdom building!
As we look forward to the New Year of 2016, there are some “NEW” things that will begin as the New Year begins. In order to fully appreciate the new things the New Year holds for us we need to reflect and review some of the things that happened to bring us to this place; things that allow us to have the good fortune to be strategically positioned to give prayerful consideration for a growth trajectory for the mission and ministries of Rome First.
As you may remember, the Bold, Big Step we attempted in 2015 was to consider a New Ministry Initiative on Broad Street. Your Church Council appointed members of the Broad Street Ministry Initiative. We give a huge special Thank You much deserved adulation and appreciation to the members of the Broad Street Ministry Initiative Team – Team Chair Penny Evans-Plants, Bob Rogers, Kirsten Taylor, Tom Brown, Cindy McGehee, Renee Webb, Allison Watters, Cathy Kearce, Lay Leader Will Wood, and Church Council Chair Beth Rogers. Anjie Woodworth and Chris Barbieri were the staff representatives related to the Broad Street Ministry Team. The Broad Street Ministry Initiative Team was formed after a congregation wide vote on February 22, 2015.
The Broad Street Ministry Initiative Team was diligent in their research, study and due diligence. They spent countless hours individually and as a team praying, reading, researching, discussing, gathering data, assembling financial models, building a data base of “like” business models, comparing known ministry models from across the country and researching possible sites on Broad Street for such an endeavor. They had meetings with lawyers, architects, business and community leaders, bankers, business owners, neighbors and countless others in an attempt to formulate a business plan that would be faithful to the mandate given by the Congregational Vote held on February 22, 2015. The Broad Street Ministry Initiative Team made a report to the Church Council at the October 17, 2015 meeting and made several recommendations. (If you want to know more please read the entire report that is a part of this Herald) – Broad Street Ministry Update for Church Council October 2015
One of the outcomes of the Broad Street Ministry Initiative Team Report was a request to the Church Council to articulate a clear vision and pathway for future ministry at Rome First.
So, the first new “thing” for the New Year is the formation of a “Vision/Pathway” Team. The purpose of the Vision/Pathway Team is to discern God’s Vision and Pathway for future ministry and mission through the Christian Community at Rome First. Would you join me in praying for the Vision/Pathway Team Members? They are – Susi Edwards, Bill Steinhauer, Gaines Dempsey, Jason Dunn, Renee Webb, Kirsten Taylor, Tom Brown, Lisa Schlenk, Brett Horton, Cindy McGehee.
These individuals have committed to weekly prayer, study and discussions to discover and discern God’s preferred future pathway for ministries at Rome First. If you would like to know more about the Vision/Pathway team – please see the “Vision Pathway” article also in this edition of the Herald. The article gives the rationale and purpose of the Vision/Pathway Team and the schedule of team meetings. The members of the Vision/Pathway Team will be soliciting your input and feedback on several issues in the first part of the New Year, please give prayerful consideration to their request.
The second new “thing” for the New Year is the reorganization of the Church Governance from a Church Council with administrative Teams to a One Board/Church Council form of Governance. The Church Council at the October 17 meeting voted to reorganize the governance for Rome First by adopting the One Board/Church Council model for 2016. (If you would like to know more about the One Board/Church Council please read the “full article” in this edition of the Herald titled – “Church Council Reorganization”. The members of the One Board/Church Council that were nominated by the Committee on Lay Leadership and Nominations and elected by the Church Council on October 17 can be found at the link below:
The third new thing for the New Year will be an eleven week study and congregational wide conversation entitled – Making Sense of What We Cannot Know”. The study “Making Sense of
What We Cannot Know – An Eleven Week Study and Congregational Wide Conversation”
will be held on Wednesday nights from January 13- March 23. Dinner will be available by reservation to begin at 5:30PM and the class/study will begin at 5:50, ending at 7:00 PM. Registration for the Course will begin January 1. There will be a $25.00 per person registration fee to cover the cost of the printed/copied materials. If you would like more information, please go to the article in this edition of the Herald – “New Wednesday Night Study”.
The study will be one of the ways we may prepare for the changes that are ahead in 2016. We do not know what the changes will be, but we can be certain that there will be change! The purpose of the study will be to invite members of Rome First and our surrounding community to enter to a time of prayer, reflection and Christian Conferencing about some of the issues that the larger Church faces and to consider a faithful response to the issues that we face together.
If the year 2016 is anything like 2015 there will be many new developments in our world. The General Conference of the United Methodist Church will meet in Oregon in May and will have many will have many issues to debate and decide. Some of the issues that will be discussed at the General Conference meeting in May of 2016 will be issues that have been debated and discussed before and there will be new issues that will require the prayerful consideration of the delegates to the General Conference. I pray you will join me in praying for the delegates and the decisions they make that will shape the future of the United Methodist Church.
Who knows what 2016 holds? No one! But of this we can be certain, Our Loving Heavenly Father holds all creation in His Loving Hands! As we enter this New Year, will you join me in giving Thanks for the year just past and in giving Thanks for the possibilities and potential that the New Year holds?
I count it a high privilege to be a part of the Christian Community at Rome First. We begin the New Year with the Blessed Assurance that God is God and that we face the future with the certainty that God is with us.
I look forward to seeing you in worship and in a small group in 2016. I invite you to join me in the Wednesday night Study – “Making Sense of What we Cannot Know – An Eleven Week Study and Congregational Wide Conversation”.
Shalom, Robert ><>
P.S. – If you haven’t given to the “It’s in Your Hands – Capital Campaign” in support of the MATCH for the Organ repair, It’s not too late. Send your gift or make your pledge today!