What would it look like if a community came together across three counties to share their resources and energies so they could help lift up the neighbors around them? What could it look like if eight church buildings were each open throughout the week so that people could come pray, sing, be silent, be reconciled on any day of the week, including Sundays? If, instead of worrying that one church seems to be growing faster than another, we looked at the corporation of eight churches as a team seeking to serve outside of their walls just as much as within their walls? As people across the nation are wringing their hands over numbers, becoming more and more afraid of ‘strangers,’ wouldn’t it be a great witness to the power of love if eight congregations worked together as a sign of unity across our diverse economics and politics? What if, instead of feeling guilty that you’ve missed another worship service for a little league game, or you can’t commit to a Bible study because you might not make it every week, there were more options to come together and pray, more ways to connect for mutual support and wider positive impact in the communities where we work and live and play?
Four northern Columbia congregations, including Christ our Emmanuel, two from Rensselear County, and two from Greene County, are coming together to brainstorm the possibilities, and we want your input: Where do you see the church can be more supportive? Where would you like more opportunities to engage your faith and big questions and find connections and strength for the day-to-day grind?
We are hoping to have a plan, a project proposal, if you will, in a few months, to be voted on by each congregation. Might it be organized with two pastors serving full-time with an intern? Might it look like more deacons stepping into leadership? Might it sound like children running up the stairs from Sunday School when it’s time for all to come to the communion table?
God has a mission, and a purpose, for our congregation and for the wider parish area. We see grace and forgiveness in the face of Christ, and we seek to be that face, those hands of God at work in the world, all the more as we continue in this process, this movement of the Holy Spirit among us.