Dear Friends in Christ,
As I write this month’s letter to you, I am preparing to take a week’s leave to celebrate the marriage of my son Derek and his fiancée Audrey. Adrian and I are excited that our family tree is expanding, and to spend this time with our family and friends from England and California.
What a wonderful month this church has ahead of us. We have our church spiritual retreat Get Out of the Boat? on October 7 as we explore the times throughout our lives when God has called to us and we have made choices to follow or not to follow. How do we know God is calling and how do we know what to answer? The following weekend. we have a group of pilgrims (including myself) and their sponsors who are going to Walk to Emmaus, an experience of Christian spiritual renewal and formation, so please hold us in your prayers. It is also our Stewardship time as we consider our fears around scarcity and our quest for enough versus how we are being called to live abundant lives. And then on October 29 comes the highlight of the month as we celebrate our 30th Church Anniversary, and also 25 years since our chartering as a United Methodist Church. We will look to our historic roots as God’s people as we remember who we are, where we have been and where we are going.
The apostle Peter wrote,
You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9-10, The Message).
For the past 30 years, SPUMC has made a difference in this community by spreading Christ’s love to the sick and grieving, to the homeless and the hungry, to the poor and the rich, to gay and straight, to cis-gendered and transgendered, to the young and to the old, to recovering alcoholics and the co-dependent, to those who believe and those who do not. From passionate worship and Bible and book studies, to fellowship and laughter and meals together, from serving in the church to going out in mission, SPUMC, as our Boy Scout troop would say, has been ‘the place to be’.
The Bible is ultimately a story about who God is and God’s mission in the world. But God’s story is also our personal story and the church’s story. Individually and as a church we are part of God’s extraordinary work of salvation for the whole world. God’s story and our story are intertwined. So, let’s celebrate together, as we give thanks for the last three decades, and the wonderful people who were and are a part of Sierra Pines UMC. And let us also remember that God is not finished with us yet!
— Pastor Joan