Thursday, January 18, 2018

Return to Vocation

Sunrise over Chambersburg Hospital

A calling, a vocation, is something that God created us to be, become and to do. Sometimes it takes a while to figure it out. God waits until the right time to give us that nudge, or open the path that leads to discovering what we are to be. There are many callings, like marriage, becoming a parent, that would have us be of service to something greater than ourselves. A vocation is a holy calling; it doesn’t make us better than anyone else, but it makes clear what we are to do with the gifts, the time, and the resources over which we are set to steward.

Other times, it’s not at all clear. In can be downright frustrating to try one thing, then the next, and find nothing seems to work or work well. Where is God in such situations!

And normally, as our lifetime approaches a conclusion, or as illness hits, or tragedy strikes, all the roles, responsibilities, the titles, and tasks, get pealed away like the skin on an onion. We can find our self having a crisis of identity and purpose.

It’s our job, brothers and sisters to remember, to remind, return to the one calling, the one vocation we all share. And that is our identity as children of God and our purpose of sharing the light of Christ.

Third Sunday after Epiphany 
January 21, 2018
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 
Psalm 62:5-12 
1 Corinthians 7:29-31 
Mark 1:14-20 

The word “Epiphany” means “the showing forth of God,” and the readings on the Sundays after Epiphany and our participation in the sacrament continue to show forth Jesus to be our God. This Sunday, Jesus calls the disciples—and us—to repent, believe, and follow him. And Jonah, after trying to run away, finally heeds God’s call and preaches repentance in Nineveh, the capital city of Israel’s enemy Assyria.

Winter Walk, 1990

Annual Report of Pastor Frye
Epiphany 2018

Annual reports can be a burden to read. I trust that what I offer here is not a rehash of statistics and things I have already reported in monthly reports to council.  Rather, I see this as an opportunity to step back a bit and review the larger scene, the bigger picture, and provide my insight and reflect on major themes, currents, and activities in relation to the ministry we share.

Perhaps the most obvious activity recently has been the building project.  We will hold a dedication and celebration on Transfiguration Sunday, February 11, at 2:00 PM with a brief program and ceremony followed by a celebration reception for the congregation and community.  We will take time together on that day to review our achievements and offer the appropriate thanks to God and to all involved in bringing it to fruition on time at at budget.

Thank you for your financial support of the ministry of the congregation this past year. Not only have we made significant progress on our 2020 Vision Capital Campaign, our regular giving and support was up by 5.5% over the previous year and we ended the year with a surplus.  The efforts of the Stewardship Committee, the 2020 Vision Campaign Committee and new strategies of communication have obviously made an impact. Finally, however, your commitment and support has been instrumental in our healthy stewardship ministry and is greatly appreciated as it enables us to function with Boldness and Hope!

In November, Lynn Fry, our Coordinator of Faith Formation, left for a new job with Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Pennsylvania. While her position has not yet been filled, the congregational council and leadership are meeting in retreat on Saturday, January 27 for a time of discernment and prioritizing as we look at staffing possibilities.  In December, Jamie Trotty and her family moved to Philadelphia. Jamie served as both our Choir Director and as Director of Rejoicing Spirits. Anne Copenhaver was appointed by the church council just before Christmas to serve as interim choir director.  The Rejoicing Spirits ministry will resume in February.  A renewed effort will be made to reach out to Franklin County group homes and other agencies that work with individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. This ministry will continue in partnership with the Mosaic organization.

A reorganized Evangelism Committee emerged last summer as the Mission Outreach Team. Being intentional about our calling to reach others beyond our walls and campus with the gospel of Jesus Christ will be an emphasis of this group. They have been meeting and organizing these past months and have plans for a cooperative ministry with neighboring churches focused on children and their families from our neighboring elementary schools.

It is my honor to continue to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of SpiritTrust Lutheran and as a Trustee and the Treasurer of the SpiriTrust Lutheran Foundation. Our partnership with SpiriTrust Lutheran is an asset to our life together,

I am grateful for the mutual ministry that we share together. Your prayerful support is greatly appreciated. May God be with each of us in this year ahead. Most importantly, may we be attentive to where God is leading us as we are about the mission of sharing the light of Christ,