Dear Members and Friends,
Grace and peace to you in the name of God our Creator, Christ Jesus our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our Sustainer! I write to you just after I have returned from our Upper New York Annual Conference Session, held on May 30-June 2, where, among other business, pastoral appointments are “fixed,” and I officially became your pastor for another year! I feel blessed to serve alongside the best, and I am excited to begin another year with you in ministry!
A year ago, we were wrapping up our “Matthew 25 Ministry – Lessons for Faithful Living” worship series. Two of the ministry efforts that grew out of that worship series achieved milestones in the past month. On May 16, the first (of hopefully many) “Senior Luncheon” was enjoyed by over 65 people! On now to planning for the next one. And on June 14, our “Bath Community Clothing Closet” (BC3 for short) held its opening day. The Clothing Closet provides free clothing for infants and children up to four times a year, operating on referrals from village churches and social services agencies. Eight infants and children were served on that very first day! I am encouraged in our ongoing efforts to reflect on our church’s mission for ministry, our spiritual growth, and our efforts to serve God and our neighbors in all places. The two ministry efforts I’ve highlighted here are some of the many ways we are intentionally striving to reach, welcome, and make disciples, and then grow disciples of Jesus Christ.
As we begin our fifth (!!) year side-by-side in ministry, I find myself once again looking forward in eager anticipation to what lies ahead, even after five years into this journey with you all. I am surely thankful for that! And by way of reminding you, here’s how I describe “eager anticipation” – it’s when you take in a deep breath and hold it, as your heart flutters, ahead of something you believe will be wonderful, or exciting – something you expect will bring you great pleasure, or great joy, or both. It’s the feeling I get as I near the top of that first exhilarating drop on a roller coaster ride! Hmmm – pastoral ministry is like riding a roller coaster…that’ll preach! Or perhaps it’s the feeling you get as you are about watch a special bride walk down the aisle to greet her groom. Or for me, it’s the feeling I get as I cross the big bridge that connects New Hampshire and Maine!
Here at Centenary UMC, August is Vacation Bible School month! This year, it happens on Monday-Thursday, August 6-9. Our church facilities are never more alive and lively than they are during VBS week, and it’s often hard to figure out who is having more fun – the children, the youth, or the adults! This newsletter contains more information about this year’s VBS adventures.
As we begin the summer season, I pray that it is a time of rest, relaxation, and renewal – time to rest our bodies and minds, time to relax from the stresses that come with a busy schedule of appointments, commitments, events, and time to renew our hearts and spirits in the places and activities that are most meaningful for each of us. I know that your summer adventures will take you away from regular attendance at worship services. Please remember how important it is to keep up your financial support of our faith community in these summer months. And then, as a new program year approaches, may we together know the joy, in one way or another, of eager anticipation!
Together in Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Eleanor Collinsworth