Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The Christ child has arrived and beckons us all into a new year with God’s peace, hope and presence alive in our lives. God came for us and as we remember the birth of Jesus, let us remember that God found us worthy of entering our world and still does. God’s desire to intimately be in our lives—healing, teaching, leading and guiding us to shalom, a life of peace-filled well-being, remains God’s steadfast promise to us.
In the Good News this month, you will find a number of ways to keep the Spirit of Christ alive in your lives. The Men’s Bible Study has written an article about their devotional lives and the daily devotionals that help to keep God in the center of their busy routines. If you do not already have a devotional that you use, please take a look at what some of our men are using.
Christian Education is offering a class this winter called Being Presbyterian hosted by Mark Mizer and George Branch-Trevathan on Jan. 14th, Jan. 21st and Feb. 4th. It is not only a walk through the basic beliefs and practices that make us Presbyterian, but a chance to get to know one another and see how God uses people from a variety of backgrounds to compose today’s church. We encourage the entire congregation to participate in this gathering event!
Christian Education will also be expanding Children’s Sunday school to include a third class of children in order to nurture and teach our children with age-appropriate material and fellowship. Additionally, they will be hosting a Confirmation Class for our teens for the first time in a number of years. For the spring (Jan. through May), CE will maintain our current worship-Sunday school schedule with worship and children’s Sunday school at 10:00 a.m. and adult Sunday school hosted in the hour following worship at 11:00 a.m. We will provide children’s programming and care during the 11:00 adult education time so that all adults are able to participate.
Beginning in 2018, Session is expanding our Young Adult leadership. Elders Melissa Bigelow and Stephen Ford, along with their spouses Richard and Stacy, would like to gather our “young” adults—and by “young” we mean any adults under the age of 50 (or so). We have a number of adults in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s who are looking for connection and church programming to nurture and support their lives. So, Melissa and Stephen will be reaching out to you throughout the spring to create a stronger adult community here at Sharon for our Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z faithful to talk and plan.
Finally, the Session remains committed to responding to the missional objectives that the congregation discussed at our annual stewardship and visioning meeting, “Dream the Future,” in October. The congregation expressed four main themes in which they believe God is present and guiding Sharon Church to pursue:
1. To increase resources and programming for children and youth, young/adults and families.
2. More emphasis on relational, hands-on mission.
3. Continue to nurture spiritual growth in our congregation.
4. Continue to foster caring and fellowship within our congregation.
The Mission and Stewardship committee noted that these objectives have been the same for the last three years. So, the Session is responding to what God is saying to the church through our people by using these missional objectives to plan all programming and budgeting for 2018.
I’m not going to lie… this planning and budgeting process has challenged us all to think differently about the church and has kept our focus on where God is leading, not where we have been or the ways we have always done things. And on January 28th, we will have our Annual Congregational Meeting and Lunch after church where we will eat, fellowship and each of the elders/committee chairs will discuss with everyone the various plans, opportunities and ongoing conversations about strengthening our faith and following God in 2018.
It is an exciting time in the life of Sharon Church as the New Year harkens! And Sharon Church is your church. It is the place that God has called you to carry on the light and witness of Jesus Christ—no matter what age or station of life you are in. And without you, there is no church. So, please come and make a friend, participate in a fellowship or education opportunity, worship and rejoice that Christ is committed to the renewal of our lives and the prophetic voice of the church in the world in 2018!