There’s an old, traditional Christmas song which states that “there’s no place like home for the holidays.” For all of us the concept of home brings up familiar places, sights, sounds and traditions. But what exactly is home? I think it’s something a little different for each and every one of us. Yet, at the same time I believe for all of us it incorporates many of the same elements. In March of this year, I was told that I would be moving to a new “home” at the end of June. I knew I would be going to Rock Hill and I would become the pastor of Friendship and Heath Memorial United Methodist Churches. I knew the name and the location of the new place but what would my new home really be like? Shortly after I moved in I set out to let the people who knew this home best tell me what it was like to be a part of it. On August 15th we began a series of once a week home meetings for 8 weeks. These meetings were based on a Conference sponsored program called “Transitions.” During these 8 weeks I met with approximately 70 members of Friendship and asked each group to tell me how they became a member of the church and answer 3 questions: 1) As you think about your experiences at Friendship can you tell me when you felt the most alive, excited and motivated about the church? 2) What do you value the most about the church? 3) What 3 wishes would you make for our church? I would like to share with you what you told me about this home. While many of you may have come here by a different route (born into this church, married into this church, visited this church, invited to this church) you stayed at this church because this church is about the people. Friendship is a church where the people embrace you, inspire you, motivate you, and encourage you to grow in faith and in your relationship with God and the family of God. Here you can learn God’s word through dynamic Sunday School classes and Bible Studies, experience the story of Christ through a Last Supper play, worship with your hands and hearts lifted up in praise, serve in ministry through Agape Meals, the Bethel Warming Center, and reach out to the community through Fish Fries, Beach Bashes and other programs. But, most importantly, with God’s people at Friendship you can catch hold of a vision for the church that is yet to be. What will that church look like? If wishes come true Friendship will be a Christ-centered, vibrant church filled with people who are a family connected through the bonds of love of God, and love of God’s people. We will be a beacon of light shining in our community and drawing people home to God and home to Friendship. Last week many of you spent time placing invitations to our December 1 st Christmas Sing-Along on mailboxes throughout our community. The invitations said, “A Place for You this Christmas.” What I have learned from you, and what you want everyone to learn, is that Friendship United Methodist Church is a place where everyone can come home to God and be family.
In Christ’s Love,