Our church’s first name is St. John’s: Johanniskirche, Jan kostel, Iglesia de San Juan, St. John’s Church… That’s what we call ourselves. We are part of a loud tradition of St. John’s churches all around the world. People of every generation in every nation have been inspired by this grunting prophet. In movies he usually looks like a descendant of Samson, the fine arts depict him as a sophisticated messenger. According to the Gospels he has one purpose: “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” It takes a trailblazer to open peoples’ hearts and minds. That’s the mission of St. John. That’s what we are here for. The first article of our by-laws spells it out: “It shall be the purpose of this organization to establish in its community a Christian Congregation for worship, to promote the Christian life, and to advance the Kingdom of God by all available means, both at home and abroad.” How do we do it?
With so many members celebrating their German and Czech heritage, with God’s hands holding the whole world in the parish hall, with the congregation supporting Church World Service through the CROP walk, and giving to all five UCC offerings I think St. John’s is a global mission church. This summer we participated in Global Ministries’ Caribbean Initiative by utilizing their VBS curriculum. During that week three mission coworkers from Colombia and Jamaica spoke via Skype to our students. We asked questions about where they lived and what they did in their mission work. Students asked questions about daily routines, food, weather, and pets. The coworker in Colombia shared the screen with his large cat. We learned local church missions in the Caribbean host Global Ministries coworkers who work in successful local programs. It is amazing to feel our own church at work all over the world. In everything we do St. John’s connects with the wider church and is out there to help the world, making the Lord’s paths straight.
Building on the excitement that was sparked by our VBS experience I invite you to take a look at the process outlined by Global Ministries to officially designate our congregation as a Global Mission Church. It is a five-step process:
1. Gather a team to coordinate the Global Mission Church process
2. Learn about UCC global mission understandings and commitments
3. Evaluate your past and current global mission involvement
4. Create your new action plan for engaging in God’s global mission
5. Commit to carrying out your plan in covenant with Global Ministries
On Sunday, October 16th 2018, right after worship, please gather in Parish Hall for a Table Talk. If you are excited about getting more involved in the Global Church you may even consider joining a coordinating team should we decide to gather one.
Also, on that same Sunday, right before church there will be a makeup session for our spiritual summer reading meeting. If you have not caught up on all of Augustine’s Confessions that’s fine. Books 2 and 5 will probably at the heart of our conversation.