Friends in the Faith,
Last month the church’s leadership had a holy conversation. A holy conversation is a candid, open, and guided conversation about a difficult or important topic with the intention of listening and diving deeper every time we have it. We started the process of devising a mission and vision for our ministry, by considering the things we value at Totowa UMC. After sharing many thoughts, we have narrowed our values down to these five: Love, Community, Learning, Compassion, and Faith.
These five values will become the north for all our succeeding conversations and processes of decision-making. But, what is most important to me, as your religious/spiritual leader, is that we live out these values every day. We are already doing that in many ways. We are only going to intentionally infuse these into everything we do! Let’s look at them separately.
Love: “But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 13:13 In which ways are we to infuse LOVE into everything we do? One way is to consider: Who benefits from what we are doing? Are our actions coming out of our desire to please ourselves or to be kind, just, and open to others?
Community: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2 God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a community. From the beginning God has made it clear that communal living is important. We infuse the value of community into every plan or decision when we consider how it affects the whole rather than individuals.
Learning: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up”1 Thess. 5:11 Learning is about growing. To grow we must first identify our areas of weakness, which can be an uncomfortable place to be. We must make a commitment to embrace that discomfort, and trust each other with our vulnerabilities. And, forgive ourselves: We do not have to get it right, all the time.
Compassion: “live in harmony with one another; […] be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8 This is the trademark of Jesus’ ministry. Compassion requires that we put others first before our own desires. It requires we stop and pay attention to each other’s and others’ needs.
Faith: “And without faith it is impossible to please him.” Heb. 11:6 To make faith one of our core values, is not only because it comes with the territory of being a church. Faith ought to challenge us to try things; especially those that seem impossible, with the sole intention of bringing glory to God.
I look forward to experiencing the journey together of living intentionally in love, in community, always striving to learn, extending compassion to everyone, and taking leaps of faith along the way
With You On the Journey,