Rally Day this Sunday

posted Sep 13, 2019, 9:33 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Triune God!

It’s official. The time for summer vacation is gone and fall is peeking around the corner, with the hint of cooler temperatures, pumpkin decorations, and fall wreaths already adorning front porches. With these signs of autumn around us, this means it’s the start of a new program year. 

As I looked back on what I wrote to you last year at this time, I realized much of what I said remains the same, but with even greater excitement concerning your faithfulness and witness in our world. Allow me to share my previous thoughts from 2018:

Over the summer, I’ve been planning and dreaming, asking afresh what God wants MRC to do and where God wants MRC to go in our local and global communities. I’ve been wondering what is the Holy Spirit up to now for the fabulous church of love. As you are aware, Red Bank Pre-K is no longer with us, and we are currently seeking a new ministry partner for the Education Building. At the same time, though, we are already enjoying having more space for events and classes, and a dedicated room for our Youth Group. 

That said, I remain committed to the vision that over time (It ain’t gonna happen over night!), we will become financially self-sufficient through our generous giving, have the space we need for the spiritual life of the church, AND have a partner in the Education Building. I have complete trust in God for this vision because I’ve been sensing the Spirit moving in our congregation over the summer . . . that is for sure.

And guess what? Even though a year later we are continuing to look for a full-time ministry partner/tenant for the Education Building, we’ve enjoyed a greater and deeper spiritual life together because of the easy availability of our building. We’ve had a town-wide rummage sale; fundraising dinners and BBQ gatherings; First Sunday brunches; New Member classes; and Confirmation classes. And we’ve extended our welcome further out by hosting Vacation Bible School again this year; we’ve been a venue for several baby showers, and we now are the meeting place for the Middletown Lions Club and a Girl Scouts troop. Our Education Building has become a type of community center for Middletown! Whereas previously many people didn’t even know about the property “up the hill” (I’ve heard this comment a lot in the last year), now they are aware of a fabulous church of God’s love.

Not only do people have a greater knowledge about us in the town, but you have been generous in your giving, pledging yourself to our goal of becoming financially self-sufficient. Sure, we still have a few building and grounds projects that need our pressing/immediate attention, and more will be said about that at our Congregational meeting on September 29. But for now, let me say thank you for your ongoing generosity in giving to the ministries of MRC. I continue to believe in our vision of financial independence; I continue to trust God — and you — as we remain steadfast in sharing the powerful legacy of love that MRC has had for almost 183 years. 

So, come this Rally Day Sunday at 10:30 AM and let us celebrate our continued vision with a new program year! The New Jericho Choir will bring us the Word from the Children singing, “Power of God” and “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying.” We will have our annual Blessing of the Backpacks, Students, and Teachers. I will be preaching a message for all ages from Luke 15.1-10, and my sermon title is God’s Lost and Found Box. We will also be taking a special offering for Hurricane Dorian Disaster Relief with our partner World Renew Disaster Response Services. For those who wish to give, please make your checks payable to Middletown Reformed Church, and we will then send one check from the church. After worship, we will celebrate our new program year with a brunch in the Education Building. A free will offering will be taken to support the ministries of the church. My goodness. Look at what the Spirit is doing at MRC just this Sunday! 

If you’ve been away for the summer, or maybe even longer, I invite you to come “home” to MRC for Rally Day. As you are aware, all of God’s beloved are welcomed, all are affirmed, and all are celebrated. And if you know someone who is looking for a church to attend, this is the perfect time to invite them. I know many in our congregation have come because they were extended a personal invitation from a member of MRC. That’s how the Holy Spirit works. That’s how we build the reign of God here on earth, by telling someone that we know a place where they will feel the love of God in a meaningful and profound way; then that person brings all their gifts for ministry, and the concentric circles of God’s love and grace keep going out and out and out into our world. Thanks be to God!

In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish