To Kick Off the New Year

January 2023

To kick off the new year, we are bringing back a short “column” to the Friday email.  Oftentimes there are things “I really want to say,” but it’s not appropriate for worship; and the Tuesday email is already full of all the awesome opportunities to connect with our ministries.  So, what I really want to say has made its return.  Some weeks Rev. Ryan might have something to say or perhaps our moderator, George Flanagan will share.  You’ll always be able to find these blogs archived on our website and we hope they keep us more connected and communication flowing.

This week,  what I really want to say is, “you can’t make this stuff up!”  Many of you drew star words over the last two weeks - a word to think about, pray with and allow to inspire/challenge/guide your year.  I’ve decided to share my word with you - COMMUNITY.  Like I said, “Can’t make it up.”  I shook my head in disbelief at the Spirit’s sense of humor.  I’ve been sitting with what this word might mean for me this year and remembered a line from my first sermon at Community…I met Community  in a formal way on Epiphany Sunday in 2015.  On that morning, I shared a quote from Deepak Chopra about how more people than ever were seeking a place to make sense of the craziness of the world and their place in it.  People yearning for “real life…that is rich in meaning and purpose, that brings fulfillment.”  Chopra continued by explaining that  these “seekers are people willing to risk ridicule but with the courage to think outside the box as to what might be possible.”   I wondered aloud that day if that’s what I might find under the strange light that shines in the Kansas City sky.  And as we begin our eighth year together, that really is the COMMUNITY we’ve created together.  We are real and honest with each other.  We seek a community of purpose and fulfillment.  And we are people willing to risk to discover what might be possible. We could not have known the craziness these last years would hold but I am deeply assured of our commitment to creating and sustaining that kind of community moving forward.  

I say all of that because I’m more excited to discover what God has in store for our Community this year than any before - including that first year!  Truly.  Together, we have survived the “7-year itch”(whatever that means).  We have come out of the pandemic time strong through 2022 and we are headed into 2023 thriving.  We had the best commitment campaign in a decade and we had 15 new members last year. We are risking an uncertain dream with Park Hill Christian. All that is because of our shared commitment to practicing God’s real, radical and inclusive love so that all people might be known as God’s beloved and live in COMMUNITY. I’m not sure why year eight feels like a little special magic but this star word reinforced that for me.  So I’m excited and hopeful for all this year holds!

Finally, just one more thing (thanks if you are still reading this - too long - I know)....Rev. Ryan and I drew a star word for the congregation for this year.  Our collective word is….ALIGN.

More on that next time.  Until then….

You are doing great.

Rev. Shanna