New Again

Last year I visited a church. Well, many of them actually. It’s a vocational hazard of sorts. The church I’m thinking about today was one in transition.

Old church. Old neighborhood. The population/ethnic make up around the church had changed and the church had not. Its congregation was made up of folks who drove into the city to attend because that’s where they had always gone. And this congregation was ready to fold. It wasn’t sustainable.

So this church called a new pastor in hopes of giving it one last go before they closed the doors. The pastor’s job was to be the pastor of the existing congregation and simultaneously start a new congregation that was more representational of the neighborhood. New name, new time (evenings), new people, new life, new language, etc…

As he worked with the new and old two things stood out. The new congregation wanted to worship in the mornings when the old congregation worshiped. And the old congregation wanted to worship with the new congregation.

And so there was no longer an old congregation. It died. And it was raised to new life in this new congregation that met in the same place at the same time with many of the same people. It had been made new. New faces. A new call. A new life.

With a new year upon us change and transition are on our minds. Me? I’m ready to start over. How I’ve done things in the past is no longer sustainable. I could use a new set of rules to play by. That’s scary. And may lead to the unknown. But my identity remains. In my tradition I’m carried forward by the promises made in baptism. That I have been made new. That I am whole and loved and welcomed into God’s work in this world.

Whatever the new year holds I need you to remind me of that.

Posted: January 2nd, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized
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