The church of Christ in every age beset by change, but Spirit led,
must claim and test its heritage and keep on rising from the dead. –
Change happens. Every day, it seems, there is more to reflect upon and learn about, actions to take, and policies and people that need our advocacy. Which direction will we take? How will our actions (or inaction) affect our future and life for those on the margins of our society? These are just a few questions we might be asking – I’m sure there are more. As followers of Jesus, we are called to love, to serve, and most of all, to have faith, no matter the circumstances, mindful that in Christ we have been gracefully forgiven, gifted, and sent to minister to our neighbors in way we can. With everything we do, we keep in mind the values we have lifted up as a congregation: to Equip, Serve, Share, Welcome, Give, and Grow together in Jesus’ name.
As we continue to practice physical distancing, we are still equipping and serving together. Our Friday morning Bible Study has met via Zoom, in local parks, and is now meeting again each week at Makers & Finders coffee (Fridays 7:30am). The Sunday morning Bible Study continues on Zoom and Facebook. GriefShare meetings are happening now on Tuesday evenings on Zoom. And for those not connected online, we are sending our bulletins, sermons, personal notes, and devotional materials. We are serving our neighbors through the Senior Meal program – with plans to expand in the next 12 months to a location at the LSSN building (currently under construction) on Boulder Highway. We have provided groceries to families, young adults, and church members in the last few weeks thanks to a grant from our Synod partners. AA, Al-Anon, & AlaTeen, meetings remain a place for neighbors to find help and heal from addictions. We have 25 kits ready to be gifted to new moms and babies at UMC. Soon, we will work on school supply donations for Fremont Middle School once again.
We are working on our protocols to re-open the church, with safety measures in place, in order to protect people from infection and keep our vulnerable elders as healthy as possible. I’m grateful for Mary and Danny, who support this ongoing work. While we may lament the ways we cannot participate as we once did, we can give thanks for the ways we have sustained our ministry in this difficult time with online worhip, music, prayer, and fellowship. With the gifts of Linda and Pastor Matt, we continue to bring worship online and connect with new families. We know that Christ is always near. I’m grateful to our council president and team of leaders working on drafting our future worship plan.
This month, we are focused on moving forward on a plan for our church’s future. We will continue to discuss ideas with the congregation at the semi-annual meeting, and work toward greater welcome and invitation, with a vision for new ways of being the body of Christ in the heart of the city. We continue to respond to the needs around us, and that includes frank discussions about the racial tensions that still exist in our communities. I have been in contact with Las Vegas Metro Police, and will be meeting with officers to build up our relationships with those who serve here. In the meantime, I do want to encourage us all to learn – to read and discuss the issues facing people of color in our congregation and in our city, to build relationships with those who face issues of racism every day, and to boldly proclaim God’s grace in ways that lift up those who have suffered for too long.
Our families have been working on confirmation with their students, and hope to gather for the rite of Affirmation of Baptism on August 9th. Our youth are meeting online with Super Cyber Wednesday and Leadership Lab, and will soon begin preparations for next summer Youth Gathering. Thank you to Marissa for leading our students in new ways and helping them build strong relationships in Christ.
When we are faithful, we are not overcome by the worries of the world, but encouraged to move forward, to grow, and to give thanks for God’s blessings most often found in our neighbor. When we are centered in God’s grace we are freed to live for others, to serve, and to rejoice in God’s abundance. When we are found and forgiven in Jesus, we can know that our past does not determine our future, and are built up in hope, to be the church, the body of Christ in the world. Thank you for all the ways you continue to witness to God’s love in your lives, in our community, and in this place.
Pastor Jason Adams