A huge welcome for our friends from NCCU to join with us in worship Sunday. I am excited to see where God will take this relationship as we grow as ministry partners. Sunday is but a first step in true relationship.
A wonderful part of relationships is sharing in Table fellowship together. Thank you everyone who is filling our table with their love through food:) I think we will have a spread and hungry students will be fed.
Another important part of this Sunday will be the beginning of your reflection of Pilgrim’s ministry in 2018 and our collective discernment of how God is calling us forward in 2019.
On Marty’s desk are documents for you to take home to read through and pray over. The first is Pilgrim’s 2018 Annual Report, replete with Moderator, Pastor, Boards, Auxiliary and Treasurer reflections of the year we have just concluded. The second is our proposed 2019 budget with an accompanying narrative from Pilgrim’s moderator. Let me invite and encourage you to take these documents with you as you leave for the day.
I am grateful for the way in which we have journeyed together in 2018 and hope-filled for God’s possibility for our future.
I hope you have had a week with the Spirit of God upon you! For those of us who gathered last night for the Service of Christian Unity, God’s Breath was certainly flowing through our preacher, Rev. Mark-Anthony Middleton, Abundant Hope Christian Church, for he truly brought us the Word Enfleshed.
Thank you all who gave of their time and talent last night to offer welcome and hospitality to our guests who came to join us in this spirit of unity. From our clergy colleagues, to those who came just to hear….all appreciated the sacred space we created. A special word of gratitude to Julie and Roman who brought the house to its feet with their special musical offering!
It has been a short full week, capped by our ecumenical service, and jump started by our Council discernment and deliberation for our 2019 budget which was unanimously approved for your consideration and adoption. My prayer for our 2019 budget is that it will allow us to lean into God’s Spirit upon us for the coming year. Wonderful, joy-filled opportunities are before us so that we, too, can proclaim and live into God’s good news for our community. Please mark your calendars for our Congregational Meeting on Sunday, February 10.
Finally, it has been brought to my attention that somehow the sign-up sheet for our annual Pilgrim Women’s Retreat has disappeared from signup genius.com. As I did not have space in my schedule to address this hiccup, let’s use this interim period to go old school. We still have a number of spaces for Pilgrim women to join in this spiritual journey. We have one single room and a number of shared spaces for you to gather with your fellow Pilgrims for the weekend of March 29-31. If you are interested, we need to lock in our numbers immediately, so please email me if you have not previously signed up and would like to.
Total cost for the retreat (room and board) if you share a room with another Pilgrim is $132/person. This cost includes two nights accommodation plus lunch and dinner for Saturday.Total cost for private accommodations—$232/person.
On Jan 29, Pilgrims will be preparing and serving dinner at the Urban Ministries Center. We usually serve about 225 diners who otherwise might not have a meal. We need 6 people to prepare the meal and 6-7 people to serve the meal. The meal is a simple one. You do not need to be a gourmet cook. The meal preparers work from 4-6 pm and the servers work from 6-8 pm. No previous experience is necessary.
There is no clean up involved. It is an opportunity to meet some interesting folks, your fellow Pilgrims and the diners.
Please see Shellie Beason to sign up or if you have any questions.
Pilgrim children led the congregation in a prayer litany on Jan. 20, 2019 during worship:
One: I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
One: I have a dream
All: that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” ….
Good Saturday morning to you from sunny Orlando where the temperature is forecasted to reach a lovely 78 degrees this afternoon. Lanny and I reminisced about this being one of the draws of living in Florida. If only it could stay this way all year.
I hope your week has gone well. Lanny and I have been in project mode– replacing water heaters, toilets, fences, blinds….just to name a few items on our “honey do” check list. I guess all part of our role as parents of newlyweds.
Our coming week brings your role as part of the Pilgrim community to the forefront as our budget process moves closer to a congregational decision. Pilgrim’s 2019 budget will be presented to Council Tuesday evening for their recommendation to submit it to you for review and study.
Please mark your calendars for February 10 for our congregational meeting. There will be a number of items for your consideration beyond the budget, so I hope you will attend and add your voice to imagining our future forward.
Sunday, Jan. 20, 3:00 pm — Duke University Chapel Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration! ‘Why Words Matter: From Dissent to Dialogue’. Free and open to public. Free parking available in the Bryan Center Parking Garage (see map at http://myatlascms.com/map/?id=21&mrkIid=39570).. For more information call (919) 684-8353 or visit mlk.duke.edu. Tarana Burke, an African-American civil rights activist and “me too” movement founder, will deliver the keynote address, linking King’s civil rights legacy to the continuing struggle for equity and justice in all facets of our society.
Service for Christian Unity—Thursday, January 24 at 7:00 pm at Pilgrim UCC. Sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Mark Anthony Middleton, Senior Pastor, Abundant Hope Christian Church. An offering will be collected to benefit immigrants in sanctuary in the Triangle through the NC Sanctuary Coalition.
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.
The angels have already picked up and delivered our prayers of gratitude for this year’s Christmas pageant to the Holy One. And we’d like to thank the cast, crew, chauffeurs, sound technicians, and audience! What a wonder! Thank you!