Growing up in northeast Ohio, one of the radio stations to which I listened was CKLW, a Canadian station out of Windsor, Ontario.  They played Motown.  So it should come as little surprise that I was and am a Gladys Knight fan.  During high school, she released a recording of “Try to Remember” combined with “Memories”.  Both pieces recall the “good old days” but also demonstrate that we cannot live in the past.

During the past eight years, yes, I have been here that long, I heard a lot about how things used to be in this congregation.  Full worship services, large groups going to youth events, active groups.  This was mixed in with a regret that things were no longer that way.  As I have said on many occasions, be careful what you ask for…you might just get it.

We are beginning to get it.  We have more people in worship.  If everyone turns in forms that have talked with me about summer camp, we will send 12 children and youth and three adults to seven different camps (remember camp forms need to be turned in by the last Sunday of April).  A new adult Sunday school class is moving along well, as well as the new CWF group.  However, all this new activity and new participants requires more work from more people.  We need more people involved as teachers and group volunteers to help with Sunday school, children and youth programs.  We need to generate outreach visions for work to be done in our community and beyond.  We need people not only willing to pray for the church but to tell the people of the congregation that they are praying for the elders, the deacons,  the CMF (Christian Men’s Fellowship); also praying for the CWF (Christian Women’s Fellow), the CCF (Christian Children’s Fellowship), the Chi Rho (middle school youth group), and the CYF (Christian Youth Fellowship-high school youth).  Oh yeah, I can always use a little prayer as well.

The Prayer Triads that were formed last year completed their work and their energy and prayers have contributed in many ways to the surge of hope and positive energy we are now experiencing.  This month I want to encourage those who were in triads last year to help form new triads this year.  I also want to encourage those who did not get involved to seriously consider taking part in the new triads.  Previously, the triads were tasked to pray for the church, its direction and its needs and for one another.  The new triads will continue this, but with an addition.  During the months of April through July, I want the triads to look at the needs of the community and seriously discuss what we, as a church, can do to fulfill the words of Matthew 25:40– “When you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me”.

We are a growing, loving community that invites others to be embraced in loving fellowship.  Now let us turn our efforts to reaching outward with that loving fellowship and embracing those who are hungry, thirsty, oppressed, and alone.  We are capable so let us ask God to guide our efforts and show us the ways we can share the Good News of liberty and wholeness to all those around us.

Shalom, Darrell