A Message From our Rector, (Fall, 2016)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am delighted to see how our ministry is taking shape here at Redeemer. Laura, Phereby, and I feel very warmly welcomed. I am getting to know many of you and learning to love every single person I have met here. You are as you said: a diverse, faithful group of people who love our Lord Jesus and are trying to make that love manifest in the world. I'm not sure there has been a better time to be part of the Diocese of Florida and the Church of the Redeemer. I am excited by your optimism, your enthusiasm, and your hope.
At Bishop Howard's request, we have been including a prayer of his in our prayers every Sunday morning that we might “get a special measure of [God's] grace as we seek to be obedient to [His] great commission” given to us in Matthew 28:16-20. At our convention in 2016, Bishop Howard gave us a five-year vision of growth and evangelism. I hope and pray with him that we might turn back to the gospel and turn outward into the world with invitation and opportunity.
In support of these efforts, your vestry and I met for a retreat and subsequent regular monthly meeting in June and prayerfully considered a vision of our own. We set a plan for the next 18 months and dreamed about the next 3-5 years together. This newsletter outlines the programming and opportunities for evangelism coming this fall. I want to take this opportunity to give you a few details and outline some necessary changes which will make this new programming possible.
First, in thinking about how we might provide both temporal and physical space for programming to happen, we have added a temporary storage unit in our parking lot to help alleviate some of the pressure on our classrooms. We have cleaned out and cleaned up with the help of Sam, our sexton, to turn these rooms back into available meeting space. We have rearranged our children's area to make room for Godly Play and sent leaders to be trained for programs targeting newcomers for classes in the Spring. We will offer programming for ages 2 and up after Rally Day in the fall and need to make room for these new offerings.
Which brings me to the final piece of information for now. In order to enable programming to happen in between the services, we intend to start our early service at 8am beginning Sunday, September 4. Our Rally Day will be a single-service Sunday on August 28 at 10:30am and we will proceed with the new schedule the following week. We hope this will encourage fellowship following our early service and greater opportunity for depth for our programming in between. This also puts our schedule in line with most of the churches in our area with two-service Sundays and Christian Education.
We hope you will be as excited as we are for the new possibilities these changes bring for better learning for the Christian life, and find new ways to reach out in loving service to the world in Christ's name.