Doing Enough? Being Enough?
If you think about it (and I have), the first five months of this year have been eventful ones at Tryon UMC. And in the summer months ahead, we have much to look forward to. In case you missed something, here’s a recap:
· We began the year with a challenge—fixing broken water pipes and having the resulting damage repaired, which we did. As a result, we cleaned up and cleaned out some spaces, rearranged some other spaces, and did some good work that needed doing.
· We celebrated a baptism and we’ve welcomed new members.
· In January our new leadership team began their work as we shifted into implementing a new governance model for the administrative work of the church.
· We’ve had two quarterly gatherings (in January and April) to share a meal and share information about what’s going on in the life of the church.
· Changes were made on our staff, and they have been challenging. But these adjustments are teaching us some things that will improve how we operate day-to-day.
· We had a Soup Supper and Movie Night on Shrove Tuesday and then Ash Wednesday began the season of Lent.
· The season of Lent and Holy Week were filled with opportunities to study, reflect, and grow in our faith and to worship God in meaningful ways. Wednesday devotions, Sunday Bible Study, Stations of the Cross, and shared services with brothers and sisters in neighboring congregations were some of the ways we came together to worship a Risen Christ.
· We lost three of our beloved friends—Chuck Davis, Mac Wallace, and Rachel Mullins. We will miss them very much, but their spirit remains with us and they are always part of who we are. Thanks be to God! We also offered our love and care to the Petoia family in March when they needed us to help them grieve the loss of their daughter, Talia. Thank you for your care of these families.
· In June, July, and August, we will be partnering with other local churches and Outreach on our Summer Meals Program, Feed-A-Kid, which will provide weekly food packages to more than 175 children/over 60 families in Polk County during the summer months. We will also partner with Outreach to pack and deliver classrooms supplies to every teacher in Polk County as they begin the 2023-2024 school year.
· In June, you will send a representative to the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC to Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska.
· You have stepped up to support UMCOR, the Wollins’ ministry in Albania, provided comfort shawls to neighbors in need, and offered meals and support to each other in times of sickness.
It is not unusual for me to get the question (and sometimes I ask it myself), “Are we doing enough?” Well, I guess one answer is “No, you can never do enough because there’s always something that needs doing.” And that’s a true statement. But I would respectfully offer that it’s an incomplete question.
Sometimes it’s not so much about what we are doing, as much as it is about what we are being. Doing things matters, of course. But so does being. When you all are asked to do something, you show up. Every time. No matter what. If someone needs something and you become aware of it, you do your best to make sure they get it. You are doing the work that’s asked or that is an apparent need. But, you are also being. You are being the hands and feet of Jesus. You are being salt and light. You are being a loving presence when you show up and sit with a friend; when you send a card that expresses care; when you say something kind when it would be too easy to do otherwise. You are showing others what it means to be a follower of Christ when you love another in the ways you do and the ways Jesus taught us.
You know one of my favorite hymns is “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” (Honestly, I would sing it every week in worship if I could.) And that’s what I hope people will know about us and our church when they come to worship with us, when we participate in community events and projects, and when we are just being who we are every day.
July 1 will begin my sixth year with you at Tryon UMC as your pastor. My prayer for us and my hope for us is that this year will be one that allows us to grow in many different ways—perhaps in numbers, but also in strength, wisdom, discernment, and a passion to serve God and neighbor that reflect the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in bold and caring ways. I look forward to the journey with you and all that God has to show us in the days ahead.
May God bless you and keep you. I wish you peace.