Our lives do not follow an obvious trajectory of truly happy or truly sad periods, but very often a year has a certain tone or feel to it as we cross into what is to come. Births, deaths, anniversaries and milestones slip in and out of memory like gems across the lens of a kaleidoscope, changing the hue of what lies before us. There are those who have died since we last toasted a new year, and those who have been born. As a church, our community has celebrated life with baptisms, funerals and weddings, and we know there will be more to come.
I joined the leadership of Northern Lights MCC just before Easter this year, and have shared with you some profound changes and been enormously privileged to see how the church has grown with it. There are more preachers, worship leaders, and communion celebrants on the rota than there were in the beginning of the year. Student Peta (whom this church taught and nurtured for 6 weeks this time last year) has been ordained. Family Service is going from strength to strength, as are the all-age evening worship services. The Refreshment, AV, Welcome, and Music teams fill the rota every month without fail and provide the structure for the services and hospitality. Every week a member of the church blogs for Rainbow News and 80-200 people read RN and the blog each week. There have been 11 Feasts on Friday (or similar), which bring our extended family together. In addition to the regular Pride vigil, members of Northern Lights MCC have served the wider community in providing a faith presence at vigils for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre, and at World AIDS Day this month. With the assistance of Northern Lights MCC, Rainbow Home continues to serve some of the most vulnerable refugees in the North East. Thank you all for your inspirational work.
Globally, this was the year of MCC General Conference, and the selection and installation of our Interim Moderator, Rev. Rachelle Brown. It was the year when MCC churches around the world committeed to speak up for the Black Lives Matter movement, and the year when we have seen renewed political anxiety in our own country and globally. It has tested our faith.
This is also the year of our Silver Jubilee, which we began to mark at the end of November. We are grateful for the ministries that have made this anniversary possible.
Trusting in the promises of God, I invite you all to thank God for the blessings of 2017 - even though we don't know what they will be yet. In our prayers, we are all called to seek how we can be part of that blessing in the months and years to come. After all, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me". (Phil. 4:13)
Happy New Year!