“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Today as I am pondering this particular text, I am doing so because I am feeling the loosening of the pandemic restrictions and because the Summer season is upon us. Last year at this time there were many unknowns due to COVID and many of us had anxiety about what was safe to do and what was not. People skipped vacations and cancelled family gatherings. Everything seemed to be on hold and it took much of the fun out of what is typically an active social time of year. The discouragement and depression many of us experienced due to the cancellations of our major holiday festivities was compounded when warmer weather arrived and we still had to endure the restrictions due to COVID. The church was not spared from the required restrictions; so, we felt the impact on our fellowship activities here at HCOB too.
But things are changing. What a relief! We have a lot of catching-up to do. One of the things at the top of the list is getting to know one another. We have grown. There are many new faces in our congregation and there are people returning to worship now that the pandemic restrictions are lifting. So, it’s time to play and get to know one another…to build strong relationships with each other. I’m excited for what this means for us. Not only does it mean making new friends to fellowship with; but upon the building and the strengthening of these relationships, we can also crack open doors for exploring the possibilities of renewing and of creating new ministries that we can do together. I’m sure God is smiling down on us.
Fellowship is foundational to strengthening our relationships with one another. The stronger our ties are with one another, the better we are able to encourage and support one another, the more productive we become in fulfilling the ministries God calls us to do, and the better able we are to help one another grow in our spiritual lives and faithfulness to God. God created us for one another; and, I believe, God brought us together.
So now that the restrictions from the pandemic are loosening up, let’s get to know one another better. I want to encourage you to wear your nametags. They really make it easier for learning to know names. If you do not have one or if you lost yours, there are plenty more available. You will find them at the west entrance to the church. Don’t be afraid to be creative with designing your nametag. Have fun with it. If you feel inspired, you can use a small drawing or picture, to tell others something about yourself. That might help open the door for asking questions or making connections with one another.
Another activity I want to encourage is coming to the all-church picnic on Sunday, June 6, at 11:30 AM at Doubs Woods in the North Pavilion. You can find more information about this activity elsewhere in this newsletter. Gathering for a meal is a great way for getting to know one another. Make sure you introduce yourself and talk with others you may not know. Let’s play together.
And of course, as you feel comfortable and safe in reference to COVID, attend worship. Our bond with one another grows stronger when we offer our hearts in worship of our Heavenly Father who makes us one. We are a family because of God. Along with worship, get involved and help with the various ministries we offer. Our unity and participation make them stronger and more successful in accomplishing God’s mission to reach others. Volunteer to help with Vacation Bible School, with our own HCOB community workcamp, and with the Fall Festival and with volunteering to teach Sunday School in the Fall. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas and inspirations with me or with ministry team chairs for ministries our church family could do together. These things may fall under the category we consider as the work of the church; but they also are an avenue through which we fellowship together. Okay…so, can you tell I’m excited? The pandemic forced us into a period of rest; but it also put before us new open doors to walk through. Let’s not miss the opportunities to work and play together that have been put before us. Let’s move ahead as the family of God and surely God’s blessings will be our reward. Blessings and Peace, Pastor Twyla