For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Over the past weekend the weather changed dramatically. The high temperatures dropped 20 degrees overnight. That sudden change in temperature mirrors some substantial changes in the church as well. During the September board meeting, the church board decided that it is time for us to release the Bread of Life ministry which has been a central part of our mission and identity for the last seven years. Admittedly I am sad to see this ministry go. However, I do understand that times change and trust that some group in our community will take up the challenge of helping to supply food to our neighbors in need. We have committed to Ozarks Food Harvest that we will host the food distribution through the end of the year, to give them time to find an organization to take over this project in Webster County. I have already been in contact with our Regional Ministers and they are standing by to help us as we discern God’s call into the next season of our lives.
As we wrap up this mission I want to extend my sincere thanks to all who have worked so hard through the years to make this ministry so very successful. And a special “THANK YOU!” to Alea Clark and Lacey Stokes who have served as the volunteer leaders for this ministry. Your work, dedication, and service have meant so much to our church and to our community.
Along that same theme of change, please remember that our congregational meeting to elect the executive committee, elders, and deacons is coming up at the end of October. On October 25th, we will have a congregational meeting following worship to formally approve the nominees. The nominating committee presented the list of nominees during the September board meeting, and that slate was approved by the board. The board also decided to offer a mail-in voting option this year, to ensure those who are uncomfortable or unable to come to worship have a chance to have their voices heard.
Mail-in ballots will be sent along with the October newsletter (which will be mailed to the entire congregation.) To ensure that only members of the congregation are voting (as required by our constitution and by-laws) you are asked to sign your ballot if you choose the mail-in voting option. The board decided that ballots mailed to the church need to be postmarked by October 20th and received at the church by October 23rd. You will find the list of the nominees on the ballot, and in another “article” in this newsletter as well.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the church, and for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate these unique and uncertain times. My prayer for us all is that we continue to notice God’s presence in our lives and in the world. God has promised to walk through our lives with us, even in the darkest of valleys. God’s presence means we can live without fear. However, more than the absence of fear, we are assured of the loving presence of God. That presence, God’s presence, helps us all to live out God’s call on our lives.