Thoughts for the new year

Dear Ankeny UCC Family-

In my letter from January 2015, I included the following hope: ” By the end of the year, I want us to point back and talk about four different things that we did as a church in our community. Four different times we took Christ’s light out into the world together. Four different times we took the opportunity to work and laugh together side by side to grow in our love of God and our neighbor.” But, as you all know, the moving of God in the world is not something we can plan for, and so 2015 became a year of caring for our family in the midst of grief and sorrow. In 2015, we found new ways to worship, and ways to incorporate new voices into the life of our church. In 2015, we made good on the promise of 2014 and have a new Coordinator for Christian Education, the Rev. Medea Saunders. In 2015, we found new ways to fund more mission partners, and increased our aid both to community organizations and to international partners like Doctors Without Borders. In 2015, we restored traditions from the past like our Advent craft workshop, our Outdoor Worship, and our Quiet Service. But we struggled with some things in 2015, too. With all that was happening, it was increasingly difficult for us to welcome visitors into worship and to look past a current month on the calendar to see what was coming next.

My hope for the end of 2016 is that we can look back on the year and say, “this is the year that we began to really understand who we are and who we are called by God to be as a church. This is the year that we put together our plan for the future, and began to know what we need to do to make it real. And this is the year that, through the grace of God, we came to know ourselves better as builders of the realm of God.”