Dear First Pres,
Last Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing three sisters: Maile, Addison, and Carly Allen. It’s always a touching time when we, as a Christian community, welcome children into God’s covenant people in this way. What joy! One of the vows the congregation takes says we will assume responsibility with the parents for the spiritual nurture of the children, “acting in behalf of ourselves and the whole Body of Christ.”
I added the italics for emphasis because I’ve been thinking about many ways that First Pres is connected to other parts of the Body, specifically how your pastors are taking a very active role right now with the EPC and the Presbytery of the Pacific. Last week, Jeremy participated in the installation of Rev. Greg Haroutunian, the new senior pastor at First Armenian Presbyterian Church. Greg is from Fresno, so this is a homecoming for him. Second, for several months we have nurtured a strong and growing connection with the San Francisco church plant, and this week Troy Wilson will be preaching here again. Sadly, I’ll miss connecting with Troy because on Saturday and Sunday, I won’t be here. The great news is I’ll be in Woodlake (the church where Jeremy grew up), helping install that congregation, and its elders and pastor, into the EPC and our presbytery. And finally, from the 27th to the 29th of this month, I’ll be leading a team (Rachel Hamlin, Beth Paz, and Rachel York) as we travel to Greenwood, CO, for the EPC’s first national Women in Ministry Networking Forum. I’m feeling excited about connecting Rachel, Beth, and Rachel – each one a leader in her own right – to other women leaders in the EPC. And I’m looking forward to what we’ll bring back that can enrich our congregation and city. That’s a lot of connections to the whole Body of Christ outside our four walls. It’s a good thing to celebrate God’s Church and mission reaching far beyond our corner on M Street and Calaveras!
It’s a little like breathing – that regular “in and out” process that keeps our bodies alive and kickin’. At any given moment we should be somewhere in the process: reaching outside ourselves for the very purpose of drawing others in, and enfolding those who come to Christ so they can be sent out on God’s mission wherever they go. May our physical breathing remind us of that “breathing” of the Body of Christ. Today, please pray with me that the Holy Spirit will be our “fresh air”, and that we will use His energy to do God’s work. May the Lord guard you when you leave and when you return, now and always. (Ps. 121:8)