“Checking-in” – November 2013

Our annual church Charge Conference (a Methodist term for annual meeting) will be Monday, November 18 at the Bourne church, starting with a potluck supper at 5:30, meeting to begin at 6:30. All are invited and strongly encouraged to attend if at all possible. Charge Conference is a time for taking stock together of where we’ve been during the year past, and where we hope to be heading in the year ahead. Our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Seok Hwan Hong, will share a brief meditation from scripture and Methodist tradition, we’ll watch a video from our Bishop Suda Devadhar, and we’ll hear a few very brief reports. We won’t spend much time on numbers or detailed reports. We will spend time talking about the two questions asked of us by our Bishop and District Superintend: 1) If your church has one goal that is practical, concrete, and tangible next year, what would it be? And – 2) Does your congregation have Spiritual Disciplines to be transformed by the Spirit? We have been running these questions in our Worship Bulletins every week for more than a month now, because we want to be prepared to share our understanding of where we are in our practice of spiritual disciplines, and be ready to talk about our top priorities in practical terms. Charge Conference is about becoming more consciously focused in our priorities. We can celebrate the spiritual disciplines we are already embracing and practicing. In Church Council meetings and other informal discussions we’ve been recognizing and naming our main practical congregational spiritual practices (disciplines) as prayer, worship, and service – the essential spiritual disciples from which all other spiritual practices flow… We are people of prayer. Many pray regularly, deeply, from the heart, engaging with the mind, remembering all the local body of Christ daily in prayer. One parishioner told me recently that it now takes her 45 minutes every morning to pray for the church. (Which indeed is about how long it should take…) As I write this article the Red Sox have just won the World Series last night. And I’m struck by news articles this morning that mention the Sox path from last to first place in a year, as characterized by team work – the whole team together practicing the details of the game with great care and persistence.  For example yesterday the whole team showed up at Fenway Park for practice seven hours before game time… (and after the game the team and fans together stayed on the field til past 3 in the morning celebrating together…) Prayer is our most essential spiritual practice. When we give our every issue, struggle, question and joy to God in prayer, we are doing the practice that leads to transformation. Likewise worship. When we enter into worship with prayer as the body of Christ together, and carry the spirit of worship with us back into the community and the world around us when Sunday worship’s over, our congregational prayers go with us, taking on tangible form, as we serve God and neighbor together through the week… We’ve begun reaching consensus as a Parish, I believe, on the priority of engaging the community around us in deeper dialogue about community issues and our roles as people of faith. We recognize...

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