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“Defined by So Much More”

By Rev. Julie Sterling, published in the “Bridge” September, 2020

       Blessings to you, dear friends.  I hope all is well with you and yours.  As I write this article today my thoughts drift off to plans for the fall.  A new church year is only a few weeks away and I am excited to see what possibilities await us.  This summer has been rich with ministry.  I am amazed with all we have accomplished online and during our 4th Sunday worship services.  The Spirit is working hard within our church family.  Matthew 18:20 reminds us “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Whether online or in person, we are the church.

Some things this year are different, yet so much of who we are is very much the same.  It made me so proud last Sunday to see the amount of food we collected for the SCF food pantry.  Your love and kindness collected a trunk load of food.  We are a mission church.  This is what we do!  We like to use our hands and hearts to share our faith in God.  So how do we maneuver the challenge of mission during social distancing?  What can we do together safely that reflects our mission for the community and the larger church? I think we are ready to get back to work, but what does that look like in terms of our new normal.  How do we live out our mission to be a “bridge through faith and service”?

This week the church will be sending out a survey to the congregation, asking for an evaluation of the past 6 months.  We want to know what worked well and what we may need to change.  Please be honest, we know that each member experiences their faith with God differently.  We want to do what we can to make your worship and mission experience meaningful. We are also asking questions concerning things you might interest you in the fall.  We would like to offer revised experiences of traditions we know you love.  I am sure we could find a way to have a “Trunk or Treat” experience that would be safe for everyone.  I would also like to try a Rally Day picnic to kick of the new year.  We really do need to hear from you so we can start to put plans into action.  Do not worry, any plans will include small group pods or clusters and procedure for social distancing.

Friends, I look forward to the next few months with you.  I know your heart and I believe that we can do some great things for our neighbors.  Our community needs our support more than ever.  Last fall our Rally Day included a challenge to be a Matthew 25 Initiative church.  I think that is challenge is extremely relevant today.  We see more than ever the need for the faithful to support the least of these.  We may be in a “new normal” but we are still Suffolk Presbyterian Church.  We will do everything we can to continue to support the missions and fellowship activities that have defined this church community.

       Once again, I am excited to see what God has in store for us this year.  Please fill out your surveys and contact me or your flock leader if you have any ideas or concerns for the future. 

Peace be with you till we meet again.

Rev. Julie Sterling