SUPC: Character Welcome
I had a wonderful time at the annual meeting last Sunday.
I have gotten a few strange looks this week for saying that to different family and friends, some of whom had their own annual meetings to attend recently, but it is true. From where I stood at the lectern, I witnessed the spark of character, the core that binds a diverse body together. Just hearing about good memories of times past, the current reasons why you enjoy coming to church, and even frustrations and fears about the future, as well as some ideas about what we can do and talk about and be a part of, all this filled me with a lot of excitement. Most importantly, these stories and ideas and emotions and facts of reality speak to the character of SUPC as a whole, and also as individuals responding to that whole.
The day before our SUPC annual meeting, I attended an Albany Presbytery meeting. I confess, some of the courage I had to present those tabletop discussion questions, and also to re-arrange the tables, and even to end our worship service by saying grace so everyone could eat lunch upon arriving in the CE building, was encouraged by the tone of the Presbytery meeting. There was a cautious hopeful aura, tempered by the knowledge and warnings of financial uncertainty, but the hope sought to grab the faith to find a niche, a space in the current and future mission and service circles. It may look different from the church and Presbytery of the 1950's, but that is ok. Telephones look different, transportation looks different, even cartoon characters look different. Despite looks, and some apps, the purpose of the phone is still connection through words, transportation is connection through presence, and cartoon characters and other popular culture is connection through shared common ground and experience. The church, local and universal, may look different from how it did 50 years ago, but the purpose is the same as it has been for 2000 years - bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. The only way it will work is to have all characters on board, so bring your whole self, your caring self, your active self, your listening self. What character do you bring to the heart of SUPC?
~Rev. Andrea Joy Holroyd