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Pastor’s Annual Report – January 2014

It is typical in the church to put together an annual report to the congregation. It is a way of looking back so that we can see more clearly how to move forward in the coming year. Below are my renderings fo the past year and what I look forward to in 2014.

As I begin this report to the congregation I serve, two scriptures come to mind.

shutterstock_44647378The first is from Hebrews 1:1-2a, it was written, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith

This first verse is for the members of the church, because they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, both visible and invisible. Particularly, I am thinking about the two members who moved onto the church triumphant this year: Donald Millikin and Ibi Hermanovski. Donald was with the church for a very short time and Ibi for several decades, yet they both taught the church something about perseverance, strength of character and faith. Both had crosses to bear, yet they lived lives that are worthy of our aspirations. The church will carry them in their hearts and minds forever and always.

Then there are the visible witnesses that I see when I look out at this congregation. There are the women, men, youth and children that the church nurtures and cares for every day. This was the year the congregation decided on a statement that articulated what the church value most, “Everyday people sharing faith, friendship and fellowship!”

This year the church baptized four young people: James, Thomas, Owen James and Victoria Lynn. Two young people made their first communion, James and Jack. One young man was confirmed, Joshua. The church also had two people become members, David and Tracy. These are all signs of the growth that has taken place in this congregation over the past year.

This past year, I have seen the church throw off those things that were hindering them, making it possible to begin to run the race with perseverance, strength and courage and to live into the race that has been set before them. There has been more outreach into the community. The highlights were that the church participated in a coat drive, set up a booth at the Farmingville street fair and visited a nursing home twice to sing to the residents. In addition, once again, the people of the church helped to make Christmas very special for two families.

Music was a big theme this year. The choir shifted to singing from one Sunday a month to two Sundays. Women’s Fellowship replaced the old piano and organ with a new electric piano that sounds wonderful! The church did say goodbye to Ling, who moved to Maryland but the church continues to be blessed by the ministry of music Maria, Jim and Luiza bring to worship services.

The second verse is for me. In the Book of Acts 20:24, Paul said, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

This will most likely be my last report to to this church as the Interim Pastor. The congregation formed a Pastor Search Committee and they will be getting ready to circulate the church profile. The committee has done some good work in just a few short months. Therefore, it seems that the task that I came to do is almost completed.

Yes, there are things that I would like to see the church do in the coming year. I pray that the church could find the desire to do spiritual work in small groups outside of worship. I believe there is a hunger for this but also, it is necessary to feed the fire that burns within the church. There are more work to do to build the church community, but it will come in God’s time not our own. Remember to pray that God’s will be done. All any of us can do is to stay focused on the task that lies before us—“the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

I thank the church for a year that is well worth celebrating! It continues to be my joy to be with this church during this time in its history!

I thank God for you,

Pastor Kathy Nealand
Interim Pastor

A note to my followers: I agree with the Apostle Paul, when he says, “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” For me, answering the call of God has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It is most satisfying to me to see a church blossom and catch on fire as this one has over the past two years. Change can happen, people can be transformed, churches can be revitalized,not through our own human attempts but through the grace of God.and the power of the Holy Spirit, who works through us, around us and in spite of us for the glory of God!

I am looking forward to the new things that God will do in 2014!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2014 in Pastor's Letters

 

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View of a Leader

“A leader is someone who unites people to work towards a common goal. A leader is someone who creates collaboration.”

“Choose your battlefields.”

–Spokesmen by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia in an interview found in How Great Women Lead by Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Inspirational Quotes

 

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Pastor’s Letter for June 2012

shutterstock_95564470Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

By the time you read this letter, Pentecost will be upon us.  Jesus would have ascended back to heaven and the Holy Spirit would come as promised to be our helper here on earth.  When we think about the Holy Spirit, we may think about the wind.  You might recall that as far back as creation,

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.´ (Genesis 1:1)

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Pastor's Letters

 

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The Greatest Gift

In the song “A Strange Way to Save the World”, it notes that Joseph and May was just ordinary people and that the birth took place in an ordinary place.  Mary was an innocent girl of sixteen.  Joseph, even though he was a descendant of King David, was a carpenter by trade.  The manger was a place where animals lived.  Yet a miracle happened!  To this young couple a child was born who would save the world.

If God could do such an extra-ordinary thing through the ordinariness of everyday life and the least expected people, imagine what God can do through us.  We are ordinary people, with all kinds of warts and foibles, yet God has the capacity to do extra-ordinary things through us, as well.

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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Sermons

 

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Pastor’s Letter for January 2012 – Looking Forward to a New Year

Peace and grace to you,

A friend of mine sends out each year a synopsis of everything she has accomplished during the past year.  She writes about her trips, meetings and accomplishments achieved.  At the end, she encourages each of her friends and families to do the same.

If you were to write such a summary of 2011 (or maybe you do this as a regular practice), what would you write?  What have been your accomplishments?  What would you do better next year?

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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Pastor's Letters

 

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Pastor’s Letter for December 2011 – Preparing for Christmas

shutterstock_62079538Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,

I am looking forward to Christmas this year.  Over the past three years, I have postponed sending Christmas cards, buying Christmas gifts and putting up Christmas decorations until the last minute, and sometimes doing the bare minimum.  This year, I can hardly contain my desire to decorate.

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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Pastor's Letters

 

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