Dear Church Family and Friends,
We may never appreciate the power of gathering together in person more than we do today. Although the pandemic has filled our lives with challenges and concerns, one good thing it has done for us is that it made us all thankful for things that we once may have taken for granted. I for one am thankful for being able to worship together in person again and to gather with church family and friends for fellowship and mission activities.
In Psalm 100, the psalmist writes that we are to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and praise. We are to give thanks to God because God’s steadfast love endures forever. I do give thanks. I give thanks for the beauty of worship … it allows us to gather together in the midst of a world full of distance. I give thanks for the wonder of music … it allows us to sing God’s song together in the midst of a world full of silence and loneliness. I give thanks for the sweetness of sacraments … they allow us to celebrate together the waters of baptism and the nourishment of Communion in the midst of a world full of dust and hunger. And I give thanks for the joy of service … it allows us to work together for good in the midst of a world full of broken systems and broken hearts.
While parts of our world may sometimes feel like places of exile, Avondale UMC is a community of return. It’s a place to come home to, again and again. It’s a congregation in which we can tangibly experience God’s ancient promise to “bring [us] back to this place” and to “give [us] a future with hope.”
And here’s one more thing that’s true: even when this pandemic is a distant memory, the world will still be full of need. It will still be a place that longs for home, for community, for reunion, for return. That’s why we’re here … to be that place of hope along life’s way. It’s the same reason that God chose to break into our world through Jesus Christ. God came to help us build bridges of connection and companionship so that everyone might experience the fullness of God’s amazing love.
As we envision “a future filled with hope” in 2022, I invite you to prayerfully consider what you might be able to give in the coming year for the work of God through our church. You can click here to go online to make your 2022 pledge. Then on Sunday, November 21, we’ll celebrate in worship the pledges and gifts we’ve received as we look with hope toward the future. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Avondale as we seek to build bridges of love, hope, connection, and companionship in our community.
Rev. Malinda Weaver