Monday, February 29, 2016

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

March 2016: "New Life from Old Bricks"

Dear Church,

Many--but not all--years, March is the month of Easter Sunday, marking the Resurrection of the Lord and the promise of new life now that the grave has been well and truly conquered by God's eternal love.  Today, it is a time of egg hunts and brunches, but I also want it to be a time for genuine renewal, rejoicing, and revivification for our church--both our humble parish and the entire, worldwide church.

The promise of Easter is absolutely central to the Christian faith.  Indeed, without it, we likely would have never heard of Jesus of Nazareth to begin with; He would likely have become a bullet point on a long list of Israelites crucified by the Roman Empire and never heard from again.

An increasing worry for many congregations--including, at times in its history, our own--is that they too might go the way of this hypothetical Jesus to the depths of obscurity and death as they face down a host of nationwide cultural factors: declining church attendance, declining giving and declining disposable income, and an overall declining trust or interest in organized religion.  Many of those cultural factors are multipled by us being in the Pacific Northwest, where even fewer people are inclined to show much involvement in a faith community.

However, as you said in your search and call papers that I first read almost five years ago, Jesus is not finished with us yet.  I believe that to be a part of the promise of the Easter Resurrection as well!  If Jesus had been finished with the world, He would never have returned to it.

We all know, however, that was not the case.  Jesus did return to us to further instruct us in how to living faithfully, lovingly, and compassionately with all as we seek to build the kingdom, make disciples, and spread the Good News of the Gospel to others.

Part of this work of living faithfully in accordance to Christ's will is us being responsible with the financial gifts we have been given, just as His original disciples were.  To that end, as you know, the Board of Directors and I have been actively exploring how to best do this in light of the liquid assets remaining in FCC's modest coffers.  We are blessed, however, with an abundance of other riches, and under the Board's supervision, I have initiated contact with multiple real estate brokers in town concerning our education building and how we might better leverage it as an asset, including its potential sale.

Easter Sunday does fall in March this year--on March 27--and leading up to it, on Sundays March 6 and March 20, we will continue after worship the conversations we have initiated during January's Annual General Meeting about the financial security of the congregation and the future in particular of our education building.  I want to stress, as I did at the Annual General Meeting in January, that the education building does not represent the *only* possible option for the church to decide upon, and that decision does indeed rest with all of you.  For any formal course of action to be taken, a congregational vote would be in order, and I will of course make myself available to answer any questions that I am able to during the March 6 and 20 meetings.

I remain faithfully yours as we continue to work together, strive together, and dream together for a greater and more wondrous kingdom of God here on our little, tiny Earth.  I wish you and yours a blessed Easter, and I hope to see you here to celebrate the Resurrection and its promise of new life with us at the end of the month!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

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