The words from Ecclesiastes 3 never fail to resonate deeply within me this time of year as summer fades to fall. This scripture grounds me in the knowledge that no matter what we face in life, God is with us through all of it, in every season.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.”
This season of every year is when we, as the church, reflect on what all God has done in and through us over the past year. It’s a time of harvest (taking stock) and a time of giving thanks and celebrating the harvest.
This past year our congregation has worked to embody Christ and to share his love with others in so many wonderful ways. To name a few:
- we provided opportunities for people to connect through worship, fellowship lunches, Bible Study, sporting events, holiday activities, Pride, and more.
- we formed two new groups, one for women and one for men, that connected people with one another in fellowship and service.
- we provided food for our homeless neighbors as well as low-income Avondale families and individuals.
- we launched a summer enrichment program that yielded amazing results in helping elementary students who were below grade level to improve their reading and math skills.
- we completed the first phase of our capital projects to repair and restore our historic building so that it can continue for another century to be a place where people encounter and come to know the living God. The projects included a new HVAC system for our sanctuary, restoration of our historic doors, and fire safety improvements across our campus.
- we continued to support local groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Girl Scouts by providing them with a safe and welcoming place to gather.
As we look to 2024 and consider what God is calling us to do in the coming year, I invite you to prayerfully reflect on the blessings God has provided in your life. Then, consider your household budget to determine what you are able to pledge to give to the church in 2024. Your pledge signifies a Spirit-inspired goal for you to grow in faithful generosity over this next year. In addition, pledges greatly help church leaders plan and budget for the ministries God is calling us to in the year ahead. You can make your 2024 pledge online by clicking here. If possible, please make your pledge by the end of October.
In addition, I hope you’ll join me on Sunday, October 29, for worship at 10:00am. Then plan to stick around for trick or treating on the lawn and lunch afterward as each person makes or renews their commitment to the church, and we celebrate all that God is doing among us. The luncheon and celebration will serve as our annual charge conference.
I pray with the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:11 that each of “you will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God!”
Rev. Malinda Weaver