A Variety of Gifts: As I reflect on this past year and look to the time ahead, I am mindful of the many who have contributed so much in service to our Lord and the Church. The Apostle Paul reminds us that in the church, the Body of Christ, there are a variety of gifts. I am grateful to all of you who employ your gifts in the life and ministry of this congregation.
I can’t name everyone, but we should all be grateful for the dedication and service of Helen Hessler over the years. She has been the coordinator of the Prayer Chain Ministry. While she continues to participate in prayer ministry, the coordination responsibilities have now been entrusted to Robert Kane. Further, our two office secretaries, Vicki Long and Norma Huss, have stepped down after fruitful and dedicated years of work. Earlier this fall, we welcomed Susan Mayer as our new office secretary. Thank you all for your gifts!
Homebound: A group of seven have been involved in study and formation to begin service as visitors to homebound members and friends with the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This is an extension of the Lord’s Table to those unable to attend regular worship. These visits will complement, not replace, the regular visits that I conduct. Please keep Diane Koch, Bob Kane, Bob Huss, Tim Frye, Mary Ellen Fairbairn, Carleen Skiles, and Rich Garner in your prayers as they anticipate the beginning of this ministry in the weeks and months ahead.
Plans: A result of much prayer, deliberation, hard work, and teamwork, the masterplan for our congregation’s physical plant was presented and approved at a special congregational meeting earlier this fall. A two-phase approach will be utilized as we move forward. Currently the selection of a capital campaign consultant is underway. We look forward to progress being made early in the new year.
Council Study: Throughout this past year, the church council, has been engaged in a study of Dave Daubert’s book, Living Lutheran: Renewing Your Congregation. We took up this study at the suggestion of Pastor Richard E. Jorgensen, Jr., Director for Evangelical Mission, Lower Susquehanna Synod, ELCA. Pastor Jorgensen has consulted with us on several occasions at council meetings and with me to encourage, equip, and support us as we seek faithful ways to engage in mission and ministry. This year’s study, prayer, and discernment has been essential to our continued openness and willingness to pursue God’s purpose for our life as church. We are all grateful for the wisdom and faithfulness of our council president, Jodi Forrester.
Retreat: It has been a blessing to many of our members (and members of our community and other congregations in our area and region) to be able to attend our Lent and Advent Retreats this past year. Sisters Thelma and Jo Anne from the Tau Hermitage conducted retreats here for participants of many and various backgrounds and faith traditions. I look forward to continuing these semiannual events into the near future.
Looking Forward: There is a great deal of transition going on in the life of the Chambersburg Conference (Lutheran congregations in Franklin County). A sister congregation (Greenvillage) is closing, and others are in precarious positions as they anticipate the future. Over the years, as a congregation, we have been blessed. This congregation has demonstrated time and time again a willingness to risk and step out in faith. We need to remember this character trait when we sometimes get anxious about change and the uncertainties of growth. With this blessing comes responsibility and opportunity. While we necessarily spend time and resources in the year ahead to strengthen and expand our physical facility and capacity for worship and ministry in this place, I pray that we would also be open to ways that we might continue to strengthen and extend our outreach – specifically in our local community and neighborhoods. This could involve shared and cooperative ministry with other established Lutheran congregations. And it might well involve perusing the renewal of relationships with our ecumenical friends in the greater Scotland and Fayetteville communities. For several days in February I will be attending a training conference for new Mission Developers and Redevelopers in the ELCA. I covet your prayers and support for this opportunity.
On a personal note, thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to our mutual ministry. You are probably tired already of hearing me say this: We’re in this together. I know it would make a good bumper-sticker slogan. Yet it rings true. And I believe it without question. This togetherness is a gift that we get to live out of our baptismal identity as sisters and brothers in Christ. On behalf of Heidi and our children, Isabelle, Gabriel and Rowan, thank you for all your prayers, acts of kindness and support. It has made all the difference!
May God bless you.
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Christopher Frye