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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

November 2007

Love One Another by Rev. Laurie & Rev. Leonard


  Last month, the newsletter cover talked about learning to pray, and Laurie shared that the session has been discussing the book, Becoming a Blessed Church by N. Graham Standish.  As your session has been exploring our identity as the spiritual leaders of the church, our session meetings have included a time to learn a spiritual discipline and we have been spending some time in prayerful discernment.  In the book Holy Conversations, by Gil Rendle and Alice Mann, discernment is described as “the process by which we notice, ponder, and interpret our experience in light of faith.  In spiritual discernment, we perceive sacred significance in a current moment and in the winding path by which we have arrived.  We listen for the still small voice that beckons us onward, quietly revealing what we are here on earth to do and to become.”  Basically, your session has been inviting God more fully into our process of decision making as we seek together to discover where God is leading Bower Hill.  In the midst of a discussion about how to include our children and youth more consistently in worship, we were led to a discussion about worship in general and our present Sunday morning schedule.  There was a consensus that we needed to spend some time in prayerful discernment about what we were doing, why we were doing it and if we were called to continue doing things the way we have been doing them on Sunday morning.  After two months of prayerful discernment both in session meetings and in our personal devotional life, the session has felt led by God to try an experiment.  This experiment grew out of God’s leading and session’s belief that one of our congregation’s core values is community. 

     Community has been part of Bower Hill’s identity since the beginning.  Community is one of the values that was spoken about over and over again as the MAT team led us in worship in September.  We live out our call to be a community together when we show love and compassion for one another and when we work together as a community of faith through our mission work.  The session believes that the core theological foundation of Bower Hill is that God has called us to be a community together and it is our desire as the leadership of the church to envision that community into a more profound reality. 

     With that core belief in mind and after prayerful discernment, we are inviting you to help us envision and prayerfully enact a stronger community into reality by joining us in an experiment of worshiping together during the month of December with one service at 10:00 am.  In the weeks ahead, your worship committee and session will be working together with God’s help to create a new worship experience that will include some of the cherished pieces of the contemporary and traditional services.  We will be working hard to ensure that worship is a time when we come together to experience the awesome presence of our Almighty God. 

     As we prepare for this experiment in the month ahead, we ask you to join with us in praying for a deeper sense of community.  We ask you to consider Jesus’ call and charge for his disciples to “love one another.”  As we consider these words about love and our call to be in communion together, we can live out these beliefs by loving one another enough to learn and value the words and styles of music that are different from our own.  We can love one another by smiling encouragingly at the parent with the fussy child to let them know we are glad they are a part of our family.  We can love one another by entering into this experiment with an open heart.  We can love one another by letting each other know how glad we are, that each person here is a part of our family.  We can love one another by standing side by side in worship together as unique individuals who have been called by God to love one another and treasure the uniqueness and gifts of each person. Your pastors commend the session for their openness to God and for their spiritual leadership and we hope that you will join us in celebrating the discerning work of your session.