The State of the Church 2017
“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you;
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.
Getting to know you, putting it my way, but nicely,
You are precisely my cup of tea.
Getting to know you.”
That’s what we have been doing these last three months: getting to know one another. For me, it has been a glorious time of matching names with faces, sharing in worship and ministry, and finding my way home without needing the GPS. You have opened your hearts and homes to me, and I treasure the stories you have shared. You have welcomed me, included me, and even learned how to pronounce my last name! You are awesome!
As for the State of the Church, I have hardly been here long enough to fully know that, but I will offer some early observations as the new kid on the block. I see you as a strong and faithful people, with a sound financial base and an amazing core of volunteers and staff. You have a true love for the community, reaching out to the children, youth, adults and elders of Clio with food for the body, mind, heart and soul. You proclaim your faith in word, song, prayer and action, in lives filled with courage and hope, and I admire that.
I have also experienced you as a people who have been wounded, in small or bigger ways. There is a sense of sadness here, a feeling of deep loss and hurt and disappointment. The wounds may be recent or years old, personal or congregational, partially healed or still raw, but I feel them as I move among you. I don’t fully understand them yet, but I do hope we will answer God’s invitation to healing and joy together. In spite of this pain (or perhaps because of it) you are a very warm and hospitable people, with a gentle compassion and welcoming love for the stranger and the outcast.
It is a joy and blessing to me to serve among and with you. I am thankful for my appointment to Bethany, and for the wisdom of God’s Spirit in guiding the Bishop and Cabinet to think of me. I am thankful for the beautiful home you have provided, and your patience in the midst of my settling in. I am thankful for this call upon my life, and for the assurance that each of you will now have a place in my heart forever. But most of all, I am thankful for God’s promise to lead, empower, guide and be with us all as we move into the future together. May everything we do bring honor and glory to God.
Pastor Cathi Huvaere