Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Church is a Verb" (but what kind?)

Dust off your 8th grade English grammar class knowledge, if you will.  (For some of us, that's a LOT of dust!)  If you recall, there are two types of verbs -- active and state of being.  He hit the ball; she rode her bike. vs.  He is kind; she was sick. My point is this: When we say at Girdwood Chapel that "church is a verb," what kind of verb are we talking about?

I just returned from a short vacation to my hometown in Southern California.  While there I worshipped at my home church.  I was struck by the vast differences between it and Girdwood Chapel.  It wasn't just the size of the congregation (three services!) or the music (choir/orchestra/interpretive dance) or the message (with multimedia).

Perhaps it's unfair to evaluate a church from one service or to suppose that everyone attends church with the same purpose in mind.  But it seemed to me on that Sunday morning I was seated with a huge audience that appeared to assemble for a different reason and purpose than I what I feel I experience at Girdwood Chapel.  Perhaps the difference can be summed up this way:

As I reflected upon my experience, I thought back to Supt. Beckett's February sermon at Girdwood Chapel regarding "preference-driven" and "purpose-driven" Christians.  Is my choice of church based upon what *I* am getting from the church, or do I attend church because I want to be part of a community of believers, supporting each other as we live out the idea: "church is an (active) verb"? 

When I first moved to Girdwood I commuted regularly to Anchorage, looking for a church home.  I was looking for an "experience" that would meet my spiritual needs.  But it slowly dawned on me that I was overlooking an essential element of "church" -- to be a part of a local community of believers, accountable to each other and serving together to reach out to those around us here ... not "there."

Girdwood Chapel has five major tasks for the congregation to consider during this interim period between pastors.  One of them is: "discovering a new identity."  Perhaps we should be asking ourselves, "what kind of verb do we want Girdwood Chapel to be?" (And, by extension, what kind of Christian do I want to be?)  A "be-er" or a "do-er"?


Friday, May 10, 2013

At the conclusion of last Sunday's 10 a.m. service, Leo McLoughlin stood before the congregation to announce that Superintendent Beckett had made a decision regarding the appointment of a pastor for Girdwood Chapel.  His decision was ...

to extend the appointment of our interim pastor, Linda Jean Myers, for another year.

Linda Jean will continue to minister to our congregation on a part-time basis.  We will provide her with a place here in Girdwood to live and work on weekends.  Her family will remain in Anchorage where her husband, Ron Myers, is the minister at the downtown United Methodist Church.