Connie Altman of Jackson, OH, USA
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever! all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it. -Psalm 22:23-24, 26-28, 30-31
Last Sunday I was privileged to attend a newly consolidated congregation at Wellston, Ohio. Three congregations in a small geographical area were struggling to have four to six people attend each Sunday. They were wonderful people who had given outstanding ministry in years past, but they had dwindled away to a very small attendance.
We talked of closing and consolidating, but there were always those voices that whispered, “It won’t work. Every time groups consolidate, it turns out that most of the people won’t come, and it will still be the same few in attendance.” We worried; but most of all we prayed, met together, discerned the way forward, and then decided to make it happen.
The first blended service was the first Sunday of January. We had a good turnout and rejoiced that almost everyone from all congregations had come. There were some glitches, but everyone worked together, and the service went well. Love was experienced and hope fulfilled. As mission center president, I was privileged to be a guest and watch as people who had worshiped separately moved together in support and encouragement.
I returned last Sunday to conduct their budget business meeting. They were led in worship by a young man who is not yet baptized in the church. He was nervous, but had prepared using the Worship Helps, and he provided a beautiful worship experience. I marveled at the singing of thirty people with lovely voices. I was in tears at the transformation that had taken place as these few people had come together to envision something that could be and it had come to fruition.
After the service, five people decided they wanted to be baptized or confirmed into Community of Christ. They had been coming for a while, but now they were sure. I am so blessed to be part of a people with vision! Alleluia! Amen!
In God we all belong.
Sustaining Our Connections
Many find themselves isolated around the world to protect each other and the most vulnerable during this global pandemic. Spend time prayerfully imagining those people that you might normally come into contact with on a regular basis, known and unknown. Remember all the connections that sustain our lives each day. Even in this time of intentional separation, how are you experiencing deep, intrinsic belonging in God?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.