Greetings of the Season,
Grace and peace, hope and love, joy, and fellowship to you in the Name of the Lord!
We’ve just experienced Christmas, New Year, the 12 Days of Christmas, and Epiphany as a church family. We especially needed the coming of God to be with us this year, more reflective time, and the arrival of the Magi from the East to reveal Jesus as the promised King, Priest, and Sacrifice to center ourselves and our worship on him as we move forward into 2021. Because God in Christ came, we are promised that, in the midst of darkness, the Light will not be overcome. No doubt 2021 will present new and continuing challenges and dark places in coronavirus management, the divisiveness of politics, the pursuit of social and racial justice, isolation, disconnection, and ministry at Community Church, but it’s important to hold up our candles and continue faithfully.
Your own family may be experiencing painful losses and struggling to find where God is and to be assured that he cares. God in Christ does care. Community Church, as his gathered people, cares. Jesus’ care shines through us! Sustaining prayers and quick adaptations to worship in crisis; providing meals for homeless Baltimoreans; standing in solidarity against racism; connecting via care callers and prayer or physical support; participating in virtual Sunday classes, book study, Advent activities, online fellowship, and ZOOM meetings; helping our child development program in tough times; sharing Wee Praise smiles and noise-making love with Crofton Convalescent Center; and, meeting urgent needs of friends, near or as far as Zimbabwe–all of these reflect our caring and being his church.
With trust in God, and with you, our church is looking beyond current separations from stabilizing relationships of family, church, friends, and workplaces toward a year brimming with expectant hope and willingness to try new things. In 2021, even in this time of great loss and unrest, church leaders are feeling the call of Jesus beckoning to us. His “come, follow me” is inviting us into the hope of a future woven together with care, provision, and new potential. Jesus also says, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.”
We remind you about this because our approved plans and budget not only include COVID responses but also intentional changes in staff support and redirection of resourcing to areas important to address. At the same time, critical demands, such as the significant reduction in enrollments in the childcare program, reductions in attendance, and reduced stewardship pledges with which to plan, demanded immediate responses. There is much to be done. Staff will not be able to accomplish all we prayerfully aspire to do without our commitment. In brief, here are 2021 highlights and the personnel assignments:
- Creation of the position of Director of Christian Formation (Hilary Golden, 15 hrs.) to give focus to discipleship for all ages, including Sunday formation, so that we can further emphasize the importance of knowing God in Christ more deeply as individuals, and widely as a congregation;
- Expansion of the communication coordinator position to a Director of Communication (Hilary Golden, 15 hrs.) to enhance visibility, overall consistency, and coordination of messaging, including worship plus re-branding of our early childcare development program as explicitly Christian;
- Creation of the position of Director of Outreach (Michelle Cardwell, 15 hrs.), to support Christian formation and to equip serving ministries for all ages into the community, continuing or building relationships with sister churches and community partnerships to express the love of Christ for others;
- Expanded coordination and support for the pastor, new staff efforts, caring ministry, and communications (Marissa Fischer, 30 hrs.)
- Contracted support (To be determined) to enhance the consistency, training, coordination, and development of an audio/visual team, including needs of live streaming and its hospitality;
- A renewed emphasis on aspects of in-reach, which includes lay and pastoral support, caring ministry, intentional focus on connections and maintenance of relationships, data collection and follow up from all our activities and serving one another as sisters and brothers;
- Elimination of staff resources with reliance on talented lay leadership for youth ministry (previously Hilary Golden) and choral and bell music direction during 2021 (previously Lynn Bogovich);
- Reduction of rehearsal time and augmentation of accompanist position (John Park) to include worship planning, coordination of hymn singers and preludes and postludes;
- Continuation of the Director of Contemporary Worship position (Paul Doughty) as is;
- Management of our 30-40-year-old facility and equipment, especially sanctuary roofing and phased replacement of air-conditioning units;
- Extended repayment of debt incurred in 2020 to re-roof the Multi-ministries building by 1.5 years to 6.5 years; and,
- Encouragement of the child development center with communications support and reduction of shared expenses through June.
Friends, God is with us for 2021 and always. He is alive in us and working through us. Each of us is being created-and-in-process of becoming like Jesus. As his followers in worship, praying, teaching and studying, giving, telling our stories, and serving others, we will have new opportunities to share our gifts and to love God, to love one another, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing.
We are grateful that you and your family are part of Community Church and are glad to serve alongside you,
Pastor Stan, Church Council, Staff-Parish Relations Team and members of Community Church
There will be opportunities for your comments, suggestions, and questions at multiple ZOOM meetings on Wednesday, January 13, and Thursday, January 14. Please use the following links to join those meetings:
Wednesday, January 13 at 2:00 pm (Meeting ID: 742 1654 9862, Passcode: XGSSd6) Join the meeting >>
Wednesday, January 13 at 7:00 pm (Meeting ID: 729 5221 8599, Passcode: j7tfHp) Join the meeting >>
Thursday, January 14 at 6:00 pm (Meeting ID: 734 5136 1138, Passcode: Za3QH3) Join the meeting >>