The past 6 weeks have been a whirlwind of change. Packing up and getting ready to move, meeting new people, making new friends and learning about Haverhill. Finding the perfect house near the 400 year old Worshiping Oak tree, the very spot a small band of visionaries founded Haverhill lead by John Ward their first minister. Having lunch on the Roma Patio and watching the Eagle flying above us. I am grateful that I have been awake and aware of all the spiritual implications that have helped affirm my call and make meaning for the reemerging FCC Phoenix Rising UCC.
My conversations with folks has been insightful; I will share two stories:
One person who referred to himself as a recovering catholic with a small “c” shared:
“I was raised in the Church did all the sacraments but when my kids came along My wife and I did not want to subject our kids to the doctrines that promoted more fear than love. I now question if that was a good idea. They are good kids. But they don’t even entertain the idea that there is a God who exists. I may not go to church but I am spiritual and it bothers me. I wish there was a place that I could go and discover why I have these conflicting thoughts.”
As we continued to talk it became clear to me that he was a seeker. I was able to tell him that church is much more than right doctrine, or right sacraments. Church is about connecting to God, being a part of a community who believe they not only belong to God but to each other and beyond! Then I challenged him saying, “Maybe you are more than a Recovering Catholic! You sound more like a rediscovering catholic with a small “c”. He sat back and laughed out loud. He said, “You know what, I think that is what I am.” We are now Face Book friends and look forward to talking more.
Another person wrote to me from the website:
“For many years I was around people who wondered where there first love and excitement over finding God’s love had gone. We were in an evangelical, independent church that was becoming more conservative, fundamental, and political. When we first started to attend there, we were mildly out of step with the thinking of the average attender. But over time, the distance between us grew greater. It was the rediscovery of God’s grace and amazing love that helped to lead us away from that church. We are looking for a place where everyone is welcome and people are intentional about their interconnectedness with God, self and others. I went to your website and filled up with tears. It sounds like Phoenix Rising might be a place to consider. Can you tell me more?”
Moving to and around Haverhill, informs me that the Spirit of God has been preparing the way. It excites me to think that FCC Phoenix Rising UCC was not simply an idea in the minds of a few people. This reemerging Christian Community is emerging from the very heart of God! The people I have encountered are spiritually aware of God and want to experience more! The interesting thing about being a seeker is that you may be unaware that you are one. You may not know exactly what you are looking for. I can tell you this that when you find it, you will not only know it, but you will be transformed in the process. Another interesting component concerns my call as pastor of this new church start. I go out with the expectation and intention to find seekers and together we will become a Phoenix Rising!
A prayer for you: As you venture out this Fourth of July weekend remember to Live simply, care deeply, love generously, forgive freely and know you belong to God, God Belongs to you and We belong to each other. AMEN