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Loving All People, Living Our Faith, and Following Jesus

The COVID pandemic presented both opportunity and challenge as the Session began to reflect on the church’s mission statement and whether it might be time to put pen to paper and craft a new one. If taken, the changes introduced by COVID made space and opportunity for reflection on who God is calling us to be as a congregation and how we follow that call. The trouble is that meeting to have conversations and reflect as a community became more difficult, but this was not an issue related to the mission statement alone and so we proceeded. After conversations, surveys, and a vote we finally have a new mission statement.

Loving All People, Living Our Faith, and Following Jesus.

Nothing in this mission statement is new to BPC or to Christianity, but it does sum up well an active life of faith centered on Jesus Christ.

Loving All People

Whether its teachings on how to live in community with God and others in the Torah, the words of the prophets, Jesus’ ministry, or the writings of the apostles, the theme of love, love of neighbor, enemy, and self, is found throughout scripture. In this teaching about loving people is also the understanding that loving others and loving God are intimately connected. We see in Micah 6 that the sacrifice God requires is a life of justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. In Matthew 25 we hear Jesus tell a parable about a king with sheep and goats, which he uses as a way of teaching that the way we treat those in need, those who are marginalized or oppressed, is how we treat him.

Living Our Faith

Learning to love others (and even ourselves) better is a lifelong process, it takes humility, courage, and the ability to live with difference and diversity. Loving all people is a huge part of living our faith and there are other parts of our faith that can aid us in learning to love better. Through prayer we come to know both God and ourselves better, allowing the Spirit to encourage, council, and correct us. As a community we come together and learn with and from each other about our faith. One important opportunity to learn more about our faith and LGBTQ+ folks in the Church will take place during CCC on September 19th. During this time we’ll learn how to move past welcome and towards affirmation. Hopefully what we learn during Austen Hartke’s presentation will help us live our faith better, not just as we seek to more fully include LGBTQ+ folks in our congregation, but also as we seek to include all people more fully in our shared life.

Following Jesus

As Christians, how we live and how we love flows from and points to Jesus. As the founder of our faith it all starts with Jesus. As the Judge and Redeemer of the world it all ends with Jesus, he is after all the Alpha and Omega. As Christians we are called not only to believe in him, but follow him, letting him lead us through life and ultimately through death to resurrected life. Thus our faith is a journey and one we have been called to walk together as a community and family of faith. This September we are launching a new faith formation program called T.G.I.F., which is geared at helping people of all ages, especially children, grow in their faith. This program starts at the household level, but includes the whole congregation in regular prayer, scripture study, dialogue, and practice. We hope that you will continue to follow Jesus with us, whether through T.G.I.F. or any of the other studies and activities happening at BPC.

For more information about T.G.I.F. and Austen Hartke’s presentation on September 19th, please see the announcements in the September newsletter.

Grace and Peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Brian

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