Pastor’s Report to Church Conference, 2020
A snapshot of my last week at John Wesley captures the message I seek to covey in my first Church Conference Report as your pastor. This past Sunday, September 13, we re-opened for in-person worship. What a glorious day! My wife Donna was invited to a meeting of one of our UMW’s devoted circles, which she attended this past Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, I had an hour and a half long conversation with one of our younger leaders in the church about our present and future ministries, and it was so energizing that it felt like we only talked for a half hour. Then today, Thursday, I had my latest interaction with It’s a Blessing to Be a Blessing and its outstanding leadership and volunteers, who operate their feeding outreach out of our Rowe Building. I then had a meeting with our Worship Technology Team about growing the reach of our worship even further, by livestreaming our Sunday morning gathered worship as soon as we are able. On my way out for lunch, I met Jay, the owner and operator of Senor’s Cookies, catching him in the middle of his many batches of cookies! I really met him earlier in the morning in my office, when I smelled his cookies baking in our kitchen! The proceeds from the cookies Jay sells are donated to a variety of community services that are busy making our community a better place. Tonight, I will meet with our Nominations Committee to complete the list of those nominated to fill the valuable committee positions in our church for 2021.
Whew! That’s actually just 5 days, but it’s still plenty full enough of what’s going on in our church to give you a good idea of how we’re doing.
The welcome offered to my wife by UMW is just the latest gesture from a church that could not have welcomed us more generously and with more love. There was the very nice sign on the front steps of the church; the Meet and Greet at Marty Snook Park; the UMW’s house-warming gift for us and our dogs; and all the countless “welcomes” and well-wishes from the congregation. It all speaks to a loving church!
When we re-opened for in-person worship, it showed our passion for praising our Lord, our passion for being together, and it showed our passion for taking care of each other and our neighbors. We were able to re-open because of the outstanding work of our Re-Opening Well Task Force. Over many months, beginning with Pastor Katie’s shepherding and then continuing with mine, this team worked long and hard and with so much love and care to help us re-open SAFELY and AS SOON AS WE COULD! I saw in my opening weeks with you the high quality of lay leadership we have, and how well we can function when we are praying together for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and for the discernment to faithfully follow.
The Worship Technology Team has worked side by side with the Re-Opening Team to focus on providing high quality virtual worship on-line, until we were able to gather in-person. Even now that we are gathering for in-person worship, we remain committed to offering quality virtual worship for those who cannot worship in-person with us, or who are too at-risk for Covid-19 to worship in-person with us.
We have a top-quality outreach serving platters of hot food and distributing bags and boxes of longer lasting food sustenance for our neighbors in need. While the food nourishes the body, the love and care that the outstanding volunteers provide the recipients nourishes their spirits. Interacting with It’s a Blessing to Be a Blessing always makes my day! This outreach is so well named, and we are blessed to have a part in it! Together with Jay and Senor’s Cookies and other valuable outreach that we host, we are blessed to be a part of what Jesus is doing to extend His love. It all helps us be known for our love!
My first months with you have introduced me to so much that is good about our church. I am excited to see how we will continue to grow relevant ministry that makes disciples for our Lord Jesus Christ!
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Doug Hoffman