Our 2017 Annual Conference theme was “Risk Hope.” During our Sunday morning worship on August 20, we will spend some time reflecting on the week of Annual Conference, both the business and the theme. To prepare for this time, I am going to give you some of my initial reflections from the week of conference. We don’t often think about hope being a risky venture, but it is, in fact, something that comes with a cost. Hope often means looking beyond what seems to be our current reality.
Pastor Audrey's blog
Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians by John Paul Lederach
I have been reading this book that I bought at last year’s Annual Conference. I read several books written by John Paul Lederach in college as a Peace Studies minor and was pleased to see that he had written a new book. Lederach is well known by Anabaptists for his work in conflict transformation. This new book, Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians, is a different style for Lederach.
As we enter into June, Pastor Tim and I begin our fourth year of ministry with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren. Can you believe how fast the time flies? Each year we have marked the movement into another year of ministry by naming a focus for the new year. Hopefully, you remember that this past year we focused on strengthening our biblical call to hospitality. This focus was to prepare us for this year’s focus on being invitational.
The transition from March to April brings with it the hope of spring. It has always made perfect sense to me that it is during this seasonal change that we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. A season that is abounding with images of re-creation and new life is the perfect time to remember the resurrection of Jesus and the new life he offers to each of us. Holy Week is a special time in the life of the Church, carrying us from Palm Sunday to Easter morning.
We’ve all done it. Someone comes to us with something they are struggling with and instead of walking with them through the struggle we respond with a simple sentence all wrapped up and topped with a beautiful bow. “Ta-da” we say.
February is one of the hardest months for those who struggle with any level of seasonal depression. It is a little strange to me that the shortest month of the year is also one of the hardest. February is one of the hardest months for those who struggle with any level of seasonal depression. It is a little strange to me that the shortest month of the year is also one of the hardest.
Our goal with this blog is to give you an idea of the books that your pastors are reading. So even though the book we are going to highlight this month is not a new book to our bookshelf, it is one that we have dusted off and brought back out recently.
As I have mentioned before one of my favorite Contemporary Christian singers is Steven Curtis Chapman. Just a few years ago he released a Christmas Album called “Joy” that has become one of my favorites. On this album is a song called “Christmas Card.”
As you know by now, Pastor Tim and I have named this, our third year of ministry with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, a year to focus on hospitality. Hospitality stems from Christ’s greatest commandments to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. At the end of October, we will have a worship series on hospitality as we explore how we as a church can be more hospitable to not only the stranger who walks through our doors or through our parking lot, but to each other.
I love gardening. Pastor Tim and I are very excited that we were able to get our own personal plot at the community garden this year and spend a lot of our downtime in this space. We have already enjoyed harvesting a variety of greens and peppers, yellow zucchini, and green beans and we are looking forward to the tomatoes, carrots, squash, and eggplant to come. The growth of spring and the harvest of summer and fall feel to me like Gospel because they speak to new life and slow growth and God’s grace.