Cautiously we slide into the New Year, first dipping a toe into the cold waters of winter, testing to see how 2018 might affect us. In turning away from 2017 we leave behind memories, yet we take with us legacies of the year just past. In 2017, we finished the railing project along the outside wall of the sanctuary, providing more stability for those who walk that long walk each Sunday, we renovated the kitchen to a more modern look, and we replaced the stage curtains. In 2017, two small groups continued the work of the New Beginnings process started in 2016, creating the Person of the Planet and inaugurating a monthly speaker series on the nexus of justice and environmentalism. As well, three long-term Council members, Ruth Robinson, Elena Caruthers, and Dorothy Streutker stepped off Council at the end of the year.
2018 brings three new Council members, Carol Lloyd, Linda Young, and Sara Laferte, and we are looking toward a Council retreat soon to get ready for this year. We have set a plan to redo our landscaping, with the generous donation from Jill Bryans’ Estate, as soon as the rains stop, and we are discerning the timing of redoing the patio, stairs, and deck outside the Social Hall. Meanwhile, the Person of the Planet team, working with the Board of Mission and Social Justice, are writing a Covenant statement to be part of the application to the United Church of Christ asking that ACC is designated a Creation Justice Church. The Covenant will also be used as a liturgical element periodically in worship as we welcome new members and celebrate who we are as a congregation. I have also asked the Pastor Parish Relations Team (Elena Caruthers, Barry Cammer, and Susan Yourd) to work with me, Council, and the congregation to evaluate all of our ministries at Arlington Community Church and how each of us connects to them, which I hope will lead to a frank discussion about my job description and duties.
Well then, that is a lot of stuff already in the works for 2018. Perhaps we are not just testing the waters of 2018, but moving from a shallow end to deeper waters. The waters we swim in surround us and hold us afloat. They are the waters of baptism, the water that makes up most of our body mass, and the waters that make up the bulk of the earth’s surface. The waters we swim in are the blessing waters of God, and they are part of the body of God. As we glide from 2017 to 2018, we see that we do not leave behind anything, because the pool we swim in is continuous from year to year. Our work is still in God, and our work is an extension of what we did last year. Even so, you can see that what lies ahead are some big tasks, and we can always use your prayers, your gifts, and your service to accomplish them.
On this the 12th day of Christmas, I wish you a blessed New Year, filled with the Epiphany Light of Christ.