The past year has been a remarkable stretch of seeing God at work in our community. Looking back on the 2008 I’m deeply encouraged when I think about the courageous decisions, dozens of new volunteers, marriages strengthened, people finding a Christian community, or even Christ Himself, for the first time. That’s just a start! I thank God for the privilege of being your pastor and leading this gifted and devoted congregation in mission.
Here are a few things for us to celebrate from 2008:
We love to have fun! God brought us all together through some fantastic church-wide events like our Parish Picnic at the Friesens, the Fall Hoedown and our annual Men’s Chili Cook-off and Ceili.
During our Alpha Course in the spring of 2008 we were able to plant seeds of the gospel with several spiritual seekers.
Our Group Life ministry saw growth by addition and in depth as we’ve gained new groups and seen others take big strides in become authentic communities of Christ followers. We had 3 groups at this time last year; we now have 8. Small groups are vital to Christ Church’s life and mission, the place where we do life together; serving, studying Scripture, praying, building friendships, reaching out to the unchurched and the needy. Find one now!
God continues to lead us in mission. The youth went to Juarez, Mexico again. We sent Shyra Darr to Afghanistan. And we were able to give thousands of dollars away to God’s mission locally and globally.
Karen Friesen and her team led our Vacation Bible School, involving more volunteers and children than ever before, as they learned about God’s power. They learned about God’s power in all of our life, but especially for our salvation. We had close to 100 people participate in some form or another; that was the majority of the church!
We added several new staff: Stacie Murphy as Nursery Coordinator, Sue Schneider as Facility Coordinator, Jodi Wicker as Pastor of Connection and Community, and Rusty St. Cyr as Youth Pastor. God has assembled a truly gifted and wonderful pastoral team for 2009 and beyond!
The biggest event for us as a community was our Anglican realignment with different part of the global Anglican Communion that shares our commitment to the authority of Scripture, the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the priority of evangelism and mission. No longer part of the Episcopal Church, we are now part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (a mission of the Province of Rwanda), with oversight from Bishop Philip Jones.
We have seen dozens of new servants volunteer for ministry at Christ Church.
The Vestry, small group leaders and staff went on retreat to discern our core values for the years ahead. These values will serve as a touchstone or guide to keep us on track with our congregational identity. They describe who we want to be and the biblical values we want to be known for: worship, community, changed lives, changed world, generosity.
Here are some of the things we’ll be focusing on for 2009: living our values and vision, launching a Global Outreach Team, initiating a Membership Process and Class, strengthening our Youth Ministry, stepping out in mission to the city, and accommodating our growth.
May God give us His heart for the city, the lost, the poor and a passion for His glory. And may 2009 be full of the riches of His grace at Christ Church.