29
Jul
11

a new day at Heritage!

What an auspicious and just plain awesome day this is in the life of Heritage United Methodist Church! It has felt like there is something worth celebrating every week of the four weeks I have been here, but this one is really the cherry on top of the sundae! Thursday at around 2:30 in the afternoon the final “I’s” were dotted and “t’s” were crossed to finalize the sale of 27.5 acres of land that the church has owned and has been trying to sell for a LONG time. The finalization of this process owes a lot to the persistence and tireless dedication of Jim Atwood in particular, but I want to thank and praise our treasurer Ken Clark, our chair of Finance Doug Van Dyke, the people who have served on the church council and both of my predecessor pastors, Rev. Tom Brady and Rev. Jeannie Jensen for everything that they did to help bring about today’s amazing developments.

One of my first questions on getting to Heritage and hearing about this protracted effort to sell the land was, “What if God decides it is time for Heritage to grow by adding more members and expanding our space? Will we still have enough land left to respond?” I was shown a plan that shows that even if we QUADRUPLE our current size and attendance and build a sanctuary and parking lot to suit, everything will fit comfortably within the remaining, unsold land area.

There are still many, many more discussions ahead about the implications of this sale for the church’s ministry budgets, for urgent maintenance items, and for long-postponed projects. But it is clear that we are absolutely on brand new footing as a church as we prepare to celebrate 25 years of history. Please make a note that we will have a special celebration for the whole church next Sunday (August 7) immediately following the 10:30 worship service to give thanks to God and say a very orderly, Midwest Methodist “YEEEEHHHAAAAWWWW!”

In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts about what this sale means to you and to the church. Please feel free to email those to me at: russellb@heritageumc.org.

THANKS FOR YOUR THOUGHTS!

Last week at the end of the sermon time I asked people to write down on a sheet of paper their answer to the question: “The reason I have decided to make Heritage UMC my church home is…” We got a stack of responses a couple of inches thick! I sat down with those the other day to get a sense of the kind of things people were saying and two themes kept coming up over and over again: the music and the PEOPLE! I have already experienced the truth of both of those, even in the short time of my tenure. It really does go a long way toward demonstrating what the real heart of the church is. Let’s be honest… you really do need a talented leader like Becky Waters to have a truly top-notch music program. But the fact that so many people talked about the grace, the friendliness, the warm, caring acts of kindness they have received from other Heritage members really underscores the truth of the old saying that the church is what is left over after the building burns down and the pastor leaves town. YOU are reason someone chose Heritage over all other alternatives. YOU make this church what it is and what it WILL BE in the future.

HOW DOES GOD SPEAK?

Have you ever wondered how God communicates with all these people who say they heard from God? I imagine God (being God, after all) is able to use an unlimited number of channels to communicate with us. The trick is whether or not we are ready to listen. Come this weekend for the beginning of a new sermon series, “Unexpected Lessons from Unexpected Places” and be ready to hear God speak directly to YOU.

God’s abundant blessings to you and yours today. Try to stay out of the horrible heat!

 


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