2021 Annual Charge Conference Pastor’s Report
As I reviewed last year’s annual report, I remembered the optimism that by this October the pandemic would be a thing of the past and we would be back to “normal” – no masks, fully vaccinated, worship services and ministries all back up to pre-pandemic levels. Of course, that has not happened. And yet
We are still engaged in vital worship:
Thanks to our amazing team of volunteers, especially Rob Pongallo and John Motley, our service has been livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube each week and has been broadcast via Zoom audio. We have a call-in line where you can listen to the service or just the sermon with the push of a button.
Our incredible organist/accompanist/pianist/bell choir director Roy Buser has ensured that we continue to celebrate the arts in worship. Recently he instituted a “Worshiping God through the Arts” time for sharing of different art forms during our service. The bell choir has been practicing and will have a musical offering soon. We have been meeting in person practicing safe COVID protocols and hope to continue and of course pray that infection rates will continue to decrease.
We are still engaged in vital ministries and mission:
We have continued to engage with the community. Our summer rummage sale made over $2000 for the general fund and we donated many bags of clothing and household items to local charities following the sale. We have recently installed a food pantry box that has been under heavy use by the community, and we continue to collect community prayers with our prayer box outside the east office door. Kathy Motley and I have continued on the board of the Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation, helping us to increase visibility of the church in the neighborhood. Gillianne and Jan Pongallo, Becky Pavick, Barb Emery, Kathy Motley and I all staffed a kids’ craft table at Jefferson Rocks on two consecutive Thursdays in August. And we served meals to our congregation and the community using the produce from our wonderful plots at the community garden, which once again produced 200 pounds of vegetables and fruits. In November, we will join with West Park United Church of Christ to pack 10,000 meals for hungry people around the world via the Rise Against Hunger network.
We have much to look forward to:
We are just beginning a visioning process with the North Coast District Coordinator of New Ministry Development Joy Fenton-Jones. It is my prayer that this process will provide a means to focus our energies and increase our joy and excitement in serving this community together. As Advent approaches, we look forward to our annual Advent book study and worship with West Park UCC. We are welcoming new members and opening our doors wide for visitors. The future looks bright and God is guiding us!
I leave you with these words from Paul’s letter to the Romans: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.