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“The Grace for 2023”

How wonderful it was to have our first Annual Meeting in our Mission Outpost and Worship House. And so good to spend time together enjoying the Fellowship Committee’s food, and getting to meet the several visitors that joined us for worship on Sunday!

We had a good in-person turnout for the Parish Meeting, and several others joined us via livestream. The meeting began by electing our three new vestry members by a “vote of acclamation”, then commissioning Janice Flynn, Kathy Oravetz, and Becky Ragon. We gave a grateful farewell to our outgoing Vestry members, Kent Avery, Karen Navas, and Cheryl Timmons, and then received reports from several people on God’s faithfulness to Immanuel. I encourage you to pick up a copy of the Annual Report this Sunday and read the details.

For my part, I once again articulated the grace that God is giving to Immanuel for 2023. Here is the summary for your prayerful consideration:

“You Are Loved: Abide. Invite. Welcome.”

· You are loved. Our starting place is being loved by the Father, expressed through the coming of Jesus to rescue us by laying down his life, and to recreate us through the Holy Spirit. Being loved by the Father necessarily flows into rescuing love for each other at Immanuel. We will receive grace to grow in God’s love and to grow in love for each other.

· Abide. Our response is to abide in God’s love, to cultivate current and new practices to grow in our knowledge and experience of Jesus in our worship services, in small groups, on retreats, and in our personal lives. We will receive grace to abide in God’s love.

· Invite and Welcome. Our call is to invite others to “Come & See” Jesus in our worship services, our small groups, our events, and Alpha, and for us to be ready to welcome those who come. We will receive grace to invite and welcome people into God’s love.

We will flesh out this grace in the days to come, in both teaching and action. This will also require giving prayerful, strategic attention to a number of specific areas not least of which is the need to move soon to two services on Sunday mornings. We will keep you informed of upcoming actions – indeed, every one of you will play an important role in giving attention to these needs!

All of them, of course, are expressions of Immanuel’s call to Worship, Grow, and Serve in response to God’s presence among us. As we address needs in these areas, we will make decisions in keeping with our Priorities: Reflective Listening, Adventurous Thinking, Intentional Unity, and Creative Connecting.

In these and other unforeseen ways, we will receive the grace to live our vocation, “God with Us…for the Sake of Others.”


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