Pastor’s Newsletter Message – April 2017

~ Risen Indeed ~

“ The Lord is risen indeed and has appeared unto Simon.”

~ Luke 24:34

 

Dear Members and Friends,

Sometimes in the busy season of Lent, I share a poem or long quote from a well-known writer.  Here’s a thought about the resurrection from the devotional author Frederick Buechner, given in a PBS interview:

“I have no idea what happened except, as I say, what really matters is not so much what happened there as what happens now — what happens in your life and my life, what happens in the world, what happens the next five days, five years of human history. Is God making himself known in some powerful and saving way among people, even [people] who don’t give a hoot about God? Is this still a reality which is part of the madness and self-destructiveness and darkness of the world? That’s what really matters…

The essential message is that nothing, no horror can happen that can permanently, irrevocably quench the presence of holiness that is always there “underneath the everlasting arms.” No matter what dreadful things take place, that remains the heart of reality. There is that wonderful thing from the British saint, Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all manner of things will be well.” That somehow remains true no matter what. That’s, I think, the message of Easter. Yes, this hideous death of a good man abandoned, as it would seem, by God. Yet the best has come out of it, which is this nourishing current of hope and new life that still flows in spite of everything. There must be a God. How else could it happen? Why else would it happen?”

“TALKING ABOUT TOMORROW” RESULTS

Briefly, here are some of the results from our “Talking About Tomorrow” event, which was held on February 26.  (Detailed results will be published at our next all-church TAT lunch.)  More than 80 people attended.  Where possible, people were seated with strangers and church members of different generations.  Many people gave more than one answer to the questions, so the math doesn’t exactly add up.

To the question, “What do you love about Bower Hill Church?”

41 responded with some variation of “The people are welcoming, accepting, and feel like family.”

35 responded with some variation of “Our outward missional focus, relevance, social awareness.”

29 responded with some variation of “Our open-minded identity, nonjudgmental ‘red letter faith’.”

16 responded with some variation of “The quality of our worship, the music, choir, or preaching.”

Another 10 valued our commitment to children and youth; 10 more said they loved our local community focus and openness to outside organizations.  7 mentioned the pastor.

To the question, “What could Bower Hill Church be doing better?”

20 replied with some form of “We need more marketing, church growth, or evangelism.”

15 replied with some form of “We need more intergenerational social events like this TAT lunch.”

10 replied with some form of “We need a Sunday morning Bible study for adults.”

10 replied with some form of “We need to update, remodel, or care more for the building.”

10 replied with some form of “We need to involve more members in the life of the church.”

Another 7 thought we needed to do a better job of integrating newcomers. 7 thought the youth program needed expansion, especially with regard to mission opportunities for youth.

To the question, “If money were no object, what dreams would you have for our church?”

19 asked for more professional staff, including an associate pastor or full time CE or youth director; 15 would like to

update and repair the building; 11 want to reach out to immigrants and refugees; 4 mentioned signage; and 3 want a van.

Again, full results will be published at the next event.  I look forward to exploring these answers with you!

~Brian

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