St. John’s participated in the “Spirited Brunch” visitation of downtown churches on Sunday, April 22. This “Spirited Brunch” event is in its second year and during 2018 there were 21 churches participating. The event asked churches participating to remain open from 12:30 PM till 3:30 PM for visitors to come tour the sanctuary. Additionally, the sponsors asked that as a treat, churches have some sort of refreshment to offer those who did come to visit your church. As you would expect, those members of St. John’s who took on the responsibility for carrying out our participation made certain we were prepared, that everyone felt welcome, and that our refreshments were “to die for!” I want to express my thanks to those who served as Docents, those who prepared refreshments, those who stayed around to help out, and those who made certain we were included in this wonderful event. The ‘unofficial’ count for persons who visited St. John’s was approximately 150 persons. Great job everyone!
Our elected leadership team at St. John’s (the Vestry) has, for the last several years, been selecting a theme word to describe a central focus for each year. As we prepared to celebrate our 275th Anniversary, we selected the word “PREPARE” as the theme word for 2016. During the celebration, we selected “CELEBRATE” as the theme word. This year the Vestry selected as our theme word “CONNECT.” What does that mean?
You will often hear me refer to the words of the disciple Philip in my prayers and sermons. Come and See. Come and See the Lord we follow and worship. Come and See the church where we serve. Come and See the friends we so enjoy being a part of. Come and See this wonderful church that we know and call St. John’s.
In carrying out this Come and See invitation, CONNECT encourages us to be involved in our Christian calling on multiple levels. The easiest level and the one we can most easily be involved with is all the ‘connections’ that we establish and enjoy with others who are members of St. John’s and are involved with the same ministries we are involved with. But that is just one level. We are hoping to be intentionally involved this year in CONNECTING on additional levels. What are those levels we are anticipating being involved with?
For starters, we are hoping to CONNECT to the neighborhood where our church is located. Where once the majority of our membership lived close to the church, the development of suburban areas and wonderful neighborhoods located off the peninsula has provided our membership the opportunity to spread out. But there still exists a neighborhood around us. We want to CONNECT with our neighbors and invite them to come and know us as we learn to know them. So during this year we will hold events that invite our neighborhood to come see us and our church. The “Spirited Brunch” was just such an opportunity. Our sponsorship of the waiting room at the Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic was another.
Another opportunity to “CONNECT” is when we involve our family and friends in the activities of our church. St. John’s is always excited to welcome guests to worship or any activity going on. Most of the invitations for these events though, need to be offered by you. Invite your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to come “CONNECT” with us for a service, an event, a conversation, a concert, a lecture, or a meal. Worship, Sunday School, Lutheran Men, Ladies Circles, Vacation Bible School, Bible study, even a supper club, are wonderful opportunities for a connection to be made.
We are also hoping to make larger connections with our faith and ministry as we explore the ways we, and the ELCA, are connected and sharing the gospel throughout the world. Did you know we help support two missionaries? Did you know we contribute to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal? Did you know we provide scholarships for Lutheridge to give to children who can’t afford to come without assistance? These are just a few of the ways we are trying to CONNECT and share the gospel in the world.
This year, our hope is that we will develop, learn about, and enjoy all the ways we can CONNECT with each other, our neighborhood and community, and the world. Let’s CONNECT as we all Come and See the Lord we know and worship.
Let’s CONNECT this Sunday as we gather in thanksgiving and praise.
Pastor Butler +