Bragging On Our Church

Written by admin on Mar 19, 2014 in - No Comments

We have an incredible church!

If somehow you didn’t notice, we had a lot happening over the weekend. On Friday night, Tom and Denise Kessler met with the How We Love Our Kids class, an extension of the How We Love class from last winter. These classes have been very well attended, and as a result, many in our church have grown in their understanding of themselves, while cultivating tools for building healthy relationships. It happened that the folks at First Baptist changed the locks during the week. No worries. They moved the class to Tom’s classroom at South Burlington High School and didn’t skip a beat.

Also on Friday night, thirty people from The Well headed out to Starksboro for our first ever Real Time Retreat. We had families with children, college students, and young adults. We had long-time members of the community and people who’ve only been at The Well for a couple of months. It was a great opportunity to connect and build friendship, and it happened because Annie King and Jon and Jenn Ayers did all of the legwork. They found the site, priced the retreat, planned the food and activities, and talked up the event. On Saturday, we had forty people at the retreat. We snow-shoed together, shared bowls of (a little bit) spicy chili, and learned from the book of Esther about communication.

On Saturday as my family was heading home, Sunshine and Mia arrived. I was reminded of when Sunshine and Mia first showed up at our church with the Duncans last spring. Sunshine spoke very little English, and Mia clung to her mom. Now Sunshine was taking part in games with the adults while Mia ran around the room, chasing the other children, a giant smile blooming on her face. I’m incredibly proud of the difference our church has made in their lives, providing friendship and support for those who were strangers in a strange land. You invited them over for dinner. You helped them move into a new apartment. You helped Sunshine find a job, taking care of Mia on Saturdays so Sunshine can go to work. You have transformed their lives.

But that’s not all. Also on Saturday night, a group from The Well cooked a whole lot of food, and then took that food to the Burlington Emergency Shelter, sharing a meal with the residents. Sarah Wright has led the charge for serving monthly meals at the shelter, and my guess is that twenty to thirty people from The Well have been involved in this service at some point.

Then came Sunday morning when we held not one but two worship services at the same time—one at Main Street Landing and a second at the retreat center.  We had seven musicians leading worship; Adam delivered an inspiring message at Main Street Landing while Abby Carroll taught on the topic, “Friends of God,” at the retreat.

A weekend like this is only possible when a church is made up of people who are committed: committed to God, committed to one another, and committed to demonstrating Christ’s compassion in our world. There’s no way we could have pulled off half of that if it had depended on our staff to make it happen. The retreat happened because Jon, Jenn, and Annie planned a great retreat while Rebecca planned a program for kids, Lydia and Erin planned the music for worship, and Abby planned a powerful teaching. The incredible opportunity to learn about healthy relationships through How We Love can only happen because Denise and Tom have a passion to share their training with the church community, in spite of their busy schedules. The Emergency Shelter meals happen because Sarah, and a few other key servants, have been faithful to do the hard work of caring for those who are hurting on a day-in, day-out basis. And the incredible blessing that God has poured out on Mia and Sunshine has happened because we have a church community that believes whole-heartedly in a love that reaches out far beyond ourselves.

I love being your pastor, and I know that Adam feels the same way. It is an honor to lead you, to teach you, and to worship God with you.