As I tie up loose ends this week before Lanny and I travel to Florida for a late Christmas celebration with our newly wed daughter and husband, one gesture I have not yet made, and want to do so on behalf of all of Pilgrim staff, is to thank each of you for your generosity at Christmas. From the Auxiliary goodies, to treats and sweets left on our desks, to the Christmas bonuses generously given–thank you. It is truly a joy to serve with and alongside such an incredible community.
Upon our return, we will hit the ground running–as if we ever stopped, it seems. Let me draw your attention to the Christian Unity service on January 24, of which Pilgrim is the host. We will have ministers, and hopefully members, from an expansive list of Durham congregations, who will join us in prayer, worship and solidarity. Our justice focus for the evening draws our attention to the ongoing Sanctuary movement in Durham, which will be the night’s offertory recipient. I ask Pilgrims to turn out to support and participate. We need greeters, voices for singing, and hosts for fellowship for this special evening.
A week following this special service, we will enter Black History month with our new campus ministry partner from NCCU. The directors of NCCU’s campus ministry and LGBTQ Center will bring us God’s word and worship. Students will join us in song and dance. My hope is we will conclude with table fellowship so we might begin to build relationship. Pilgrim’s Board of Christian Service is coordinating our effort, so please reach out to Nancy Ruth to learn of ways in which you might help.
Saturday, February 23, Pilgrim leaders mark your calendars for an all board/council morning retreat. Following the example of the Deacons and Christian Education, we will set aside that day to imagine, plan and coordinate Pilgrim efforts and activities for the Spring and Summer seasons.
Finally, I encourage you to read a thoughtful invitation from Suzanne Tyler Stock about letting God’s Word be heard in a new way. I welcome her reflection and suggest that her invitation is a both/and for me. I truly want us to fully participate in worship, engaged by listening for God’s word. I also want us to be a biblically literate community that knows our sacred texts well. The spoken and written word are amazing liturgical partners. With the words of our text written into the liturgy (and here in the NL) for prayer and study, we can then lift our eyes to the heavens (or to the lectern and pulpit) to receive them anew, allowing the living-ness of God’s word to enter us in ways only God can imagine.