Happy New Year
We blink and another year has come to an end! How can that be?
One of the year-end tasks to both the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ is expecting each congregation to submit statistical information.
In 2019 there were five baptisms and sixteen individuals were brought into membership. The year was also sadly marked by two deaths: Nancy Galloway in June, and Janie Jones in December.
There was also some shifting from friends category to members as several folk decided to become members. There was also some switching from members category to friends category for a number of reasons – moving away being primary. Our most current directory reflects that we have 70 members, while we have 34 listings in the friends category. Small but mighty!
Numbers can tell us a lot, but they don’t come close to telling the whole story. Numbers do not reflect the reasons I hear about people joining us in worship on a Sunday morning and what it is that keeps them coming back and building a relationship with First Christian Church on El Paseo. It has to do with YOU! The sincere warmth of your greeting and sincere welcoming the stranger to join us, your commitment to social justice and creation justice, the way you live out your faith – all make an impact on those seeking to deepen their spirituality and relationship with the Creator of All – the God of abiding love.
A true story: Recently we put up the rainbow flag to be seen by all who pass the church, letting them know that the LGBTQ community is welcome in our sanctuary and to join us in this safe environment. The first call received about this was from a relatively young mother of a high school student who was not happy that the flag was seen across the street from the high school. This woman came to the church to confront us about giving the “high school children permission to do whatever they want” because of this flag. Her rhetoric did not allow for any significant conversation between us.
Two other phone calls were made to the church. Both were made by young mothers who thanked the church for being so inclusive and welcoming. Very different interactions. First Christian Church stands for justice and perhaps more significantly, we represent the love God birthed into the world and continues to birth into the world through each of us. This the Christmas Story in action.