This weekend, I sat down to write my annual report for the end of the year business meeting we held this afternoon. It was a huge task to try to sum up this year in a page or less. I share the print copy here for those of you who missed the meeting– from my desk to yours.
This year has been an exciting time of growth and new life in Washington Plaza Baptist Church.
Among our big accomplishments: we’ve celebrated three baptisms. We’ve welcomed 17 new members—some brand new to the church and some long time attendees making their commitment to the congregation “official.” In a year of economic decline in our country, we’ve set a different tone—increasing our giving, increasing our pledging by 40% for next year, and giving cheerfully to mission efforts as they are presented to us. And, we’ve enjoyed the warm fellowship of being together along the way. Doing what WPBC folks do best: eat and talk!
Other notable moments for us have included: welcoming over 100 folks in our sanctuary for Easter, purchasing new baptismal robes (because yes we believe that more of these services are going to occur in the future), securing a new more colorful sign for the front of our building, hosting our Reston community again for special Good Friday services, celebrating a joint worship service with our Hispanic friends from Igesia Mission Cristina, celebrating three community based children’s events on the Plaza called Family Fun Night, welcoming new beautiful altar cloths for the seasons of the church year, receiving more community notoriety through the concert series in our building and the efforts of the choir to participate in community concerts too. And the list could go on. It has been a busy year!
We are church that lives on in this community to say that we are here and have much to give to our community. It is a time of renewing our vision to God’s best for this particular community of faith.
You know that I sign all of my correspondence by saying that I am proud to be your pastor. The same is true as I reach the end of 2009 as it was when I started. I eagerly look forward to sharing the joys, sorrows and new opportunities for growth in 2010 with you!
In a sermon titled: “The State of the Church” that I will give in January, I will share more in-depth observations I have about where we are as a community and where I see us going from here. It will be a great service to mark the beginning of my second year as your pastor and a time for us to have a conversation about what this second year of our time together might mean.
However, I want to give you a preview right now, encouraging you that the reports you will hear from the Community Needs Assessment team, the Finance Committee and the Church Council are all a part, I believe of God’s vision for us in 2010. There are some exciting challenges laid before us in these recommendations but, these are challenges we can meet! I see us thriving even more as a community when we increase our focus even more on outreach and attending to some needed administrative functions within our own building.
In particular, I am excited about the possibility of being supported in my pastoral duties by the spiritual leadership of deacons in the coming years. I am excited about the continued growth of the young adult and youth representation in our church. I am excited about us all continuing to be strengthened spiritually by even more opportunities for study and spiritual formation through classes.
For these things and many more blessings that I am confident God will shower on us in the coming year, I give thanks first to God and then to you for this gift of being your pastor.