Pastor’s Annual Report 2015

Dear members and friends of St. John’s United Church of Christ,
2015 was a wonderfully busy year in the life of our church:

Besides our weekly 10 am Sunday Service we added a new worship service: Once a month we hold a communion service in the Foyer of Cambridge Square which is open to everyone. This additional worship opportunity has quickly gained a loyal attendance. Yes, as Family Ministry is fixin’ to turn five years old on March 6th 2016, they remain a powerhouse in our congregation.

For the younger side of the house we have fine-tuned our annual cycle of events. There is now a nice rotation of Spring Fun Day, Vacation Bible School, St. Martin’s Day, and Breakfast with Santa. Each of these events allows us to serve the children in our congregation, our neighborhood and our families.

Also, the kids continue to enjoy their weekly Children’s Church which includes adventure, exciting stories, science experiments, arts and crafts, animated video storytelling, and active games-all combined into a living–faith experience that will help children discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ today.

As children grow older they will learn to upgrade to a grown-up version of faith. In our tradition Confirmation marks that transition. This year I am able to teach a confirmation class which will lead to a joyous celebration on Pentecost Sunday, May 15th 2016.

I want to thank Leo Niemeyer for taken on the responsibility of teaching Adult Sunday School. This has been a wonderful program. If you can make it to church an hour early I highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity for spiritual growth. If you are not an early-riser or just want more biblical input, I suggest you look into joining our Bible Study Group which meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month from 6-7 pm.

Our church is a learning community. That is not only true in our local congregation programming but especially for our church’s wider church mission. Members of St. John’s United Church of Christ serve as delegates to the Houston Association and the South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ. Individuals hold Association offices on the committee of ministry, as treasurer and on the executive council. We have strong ties to Slumber Falls Camp. In 2015 we hosted the Spring Meeting of the Houston Association in Rosenberg celebrating our connectedness to everything UCC and to engage in fruitful dialogue with our wider church family. Mirjam and I even had the opportunity to attend General Synod in Cleveland, Ohio, this summer.

We are a pretty diverse group of people where in different stages of life the church means different things to everybody: We baptized five little ones this year, one new member affirmed her faith and we celebrated the lives of eleven persons who died in 2015.

In 2016 I keep asking my old question: Whom are we sent to?
When we are intentional about reaching out to a very specific group of people we get great response. The Sunday we invited the German community attendance went up to 90. When we invited neighborhood kids for Breakfast with Santa 48 turned out. When we add an additional monthly worship service in a retirement home, attendance is very good. I would like for the new council, and ultimately the entire congregation, to start a visioning process for our church. We have great potential, but we must learn to focus our mission and ministry.

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