For the last few weeks, always around this time of year, a lot of groups are doing their “year-in-review” lists. A blog I read showed me the top ten most popular articles (not surprisingly they were all titled similarly; what will the post-pandemic church look like?) One of my favorite lists is The Bitter Southerner’s Top Southern Albums of the year. It is from this list I discovered some of my favorite artists.
So, I thought it might be a good idea to do a “year-in-review” for our church, and in looking back, it’s been quite a year. Personally, I started the year as the pastor of a different church and had just come through a frustrating Christmas season as we were not able to gather for our Christmas Eve services. I then got the call that I was projected to be the pastor of Embry Hills UMC and was overjoyed. Because I knew this church, and I was excited to join y’all. Before I arrived, a new roof had been put on the education wing, and in-person worship had started in the newly renovated Family Life Center because the AC was out in the sanctuary.
Through a lot of hard work and generous giving, we were able to start the preschool in person in the fall. We were able to get the Air Conditioner fixed and have plans in place to replace the sound system and lighting to make the room as effective as it can be. We reestablished a Sunday School class and got the youth and children going again with Sunday School. The mission and giving work have been tremendous, with new partnerships with the Welcome Coop, and new ventures with NetWorks.
We’ve also lost a lot over the past year, as we read 22 names at our All Saints service, and there were more that didn’t get mentioned as they are connected to our church but not named in our service.
We gave out third grade Bibles, said goodbye to longtime ministers and friends, we confirmed youth, and began singing again. Through it all, you have remained steadfast members of Embry Hills UMC, and I want to say thank you. It makes me so proud that when I am out and about in the community and people ask me what I do, I get to say that I am the pastor of Embry Hills UMC, and we are a wonderful church.
We have a lot to look forward to in 2022. We will continue to open up. We will continue to gather for worship and study. We will find new ways to be in mission and ministry. I hope you are as excited as I am for the road that is ahead of us, and I am excited to go on this journey with you.