Pastor's Notes

February 2017

posted Feb 3, 2017, 12:40 PM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Christ,

It seems that just mere days ago we were celebrating the joyous birth of Jesus, but looking at the calendar reminds me that February approaches quickly.  I do want to thank all of you for your prayers during my husband’s time of hospitalization, surgery and recovery.  We are both very grateful for your support and, I in particular, am appreciative of being given the time and space to care for Larry at home.  He is making a very good recovery – which is always great news.

This year, February and the Annual Meeting will be a time of tough decision making, around budget issues.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide our thoughts and lead us to choices that benefit not only the life of the church, but also will be places of blessing to the community that we serve. I am confident that prayer and wise discernment will
result in decisions that will be good and sound.

May God’s Word continue to shine through the work that we do in His name.

Blessings,

Pastor Gail

 

January 2017

posted Feb 3, 2017, 12:39 PM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Christ,

As the calendar turns, my hope for the New Year is for the blessings of faith – serenity, calm, hope, joy, love and peace.  May we all feel the presence of God’s Spirit upon us and within us as we journey together into the future that God has planned for us.

2017 is the 150th anniversary year for Lee Church Congregational, and as I suggested a few months ago, I would like to celebrate a different aspect of what we are about as a community of faith each month – January will be social justice.  This seemed to be an
appropriate focus for January, as it is the month in which we remember, with praise to God, the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who have labored for the cause of social justice in our country.  What are the social justice causes that are
important to us and how are we engaging these issues in our community?  This is an
important topic for consideration as we begin to think about our identity as a community of faith, called to serve in the name of the Christ.

As we embrace the New Year, let us be grateful for the blessings of 2016, even as we hold in our hearts the losses and challenges that the last 12 months also brought to our lives.  Our comfort is that through all of these experience, God has been with us, loving us and guiding us all of our days.

Blessings,

Pastor Gail

 

December 2016

posted Feb 3, 2017, 12:39 PM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Christ,

The season of Advent preparation for Christmas is upon us and, once more, our thoughts are filled with the music and symbols that are so familiar and dear.  The Christmas cartoon specials have begun to air on the television, although in all fairness, Frosty the Snowman is really not symbolic of Christmas.  However, clearly the season of celebration is here, and we are drawn into it – willingly or unwillingly.  And in the midst of the excitement of gift giving and receiving, Christmas card stamping and mailing, baking, baking and more baking, quietly in softly lit chapels, churches, and cathedrals around the world, the birth of a sweet baby will be remembered.  The Son of God, born to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world, will make his peaceful entry into our hearts once again.  We will be filled with nostalgia as we reminisce about the Christmas Eve’s of our childhood, pause to remember with longing the beloved presence of those to whom we have said good-bye, and feel the deep joy within as we celebrate God’s great love made manifest in the gift of a singular life – love that has no end.

So I wish you the blessings of the Christmas season – hope, love, peace and joy.  May you know enough hope to always keep you dreaming; may you receive enough love that your cup continually overflows; may you experience enough peace that your heart is filled with contentment; may you be filled with enough joy that everyone that you meet will be inspired and blessed by your presence.

Blessings,

Pastor Gail

 

November 2016

posted Nov 2, 2016, 8:23 AM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Christ,

On December 3, 2017, Lee Church Congregational will celebrate its 150th birthday. This milestone is something that fills us with gratitude and praise to God.  We are fortunate to be a part of this great community and blessed by what we share together – not only in our worship time, but also in our deep relationships of fellowship and friendship.

In anticipation of this great moment in our church’s history, I would like to dedicate each of the 11 months leading up to December 3rd to ways in which our church makes a difference.  The theme for the 2015 Stewardship campaign revolved in part around the question “Who would miss the Lee Church if it wasn’t here?”  Well, we are here and our presence touches many areas in the life of the town as a whole, and the lives of our members and friends in particular.  So I have chosen items of focus for us to consider as we journey during this unique time.

            January – social justice                              July – play and restoration

            February – loving presence                       August – bounty/plenty

            March – discipleship                                   September – joy of reunion

            April – resurrection/new life                       October – new discoveries

            May – nurture and support                         November – gratitude/appreciation

            June – models of grace                              December – celebration/praise

I pray that 2017, and yes, I know that it is only November , will be a year of truly thinking about who we are as church and what is the witness that we bring to our daily and worshiping lives.  Consider this an invitation to think about these monthly opportunities to share your stories and increase our corporate awareness of the places where we truly are making a difference – 150 years worth!

With gratitude for the ministry that we share,

Pastor Gail

October 2016

posted Oct 3, 2016, 8:48 AM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Christ,

              Fall always feels like a time of new beginnings for me.  While it is true that spring is traditionally considered in that way, in the life of the church it is September when activities start up following the lull of summer and the church calendar becomes filled with suppers, fund-raisers, mission opportunities and many other activities.

As a time of new beginnings, and building on the work of my Sabbatical leave, I have been giving a lot of thought to who we are as a church community and how that is expressed in both our worship together and our outreach to the community.  I hope that many of you read one or both of the books that I purchased last spring.  I know that Pastor Cat facilitated two discussions – one on each book – and I am looking forward to building on that foundation.  I will be setting up an occasion for conversation, with a time to be announced.  The purpose will be to begin the conversation on thinking deeply about who God through Christ calls us to be.  We are a congregation that comes from a variety of Christian traditions, and the time has come for us to determine what beliefs we hold in common and how we live out those beliefs in our daily, and worshipping, lives.  I encourage you to begin to give this some thought.

So fall…..a time of fresh starts, cooler temperatures, falling leaves, pumpkins on the porch, apple pies in the oven, and love and gratitude to God in our hearts.

Blessings all,

Pastor Gail

 

September 2016

posted Aug 26, 2016, 11:30 AM by Lee Church

Dear Friends in Christ,

Greetings from Sabbatical!  It has been good and fruitful time, so far, and I am grateful for the gift that these days of study, reflection, rest and family time have been, and continue to be.  That being said, I miss you all and the ministry that we share, so I will be glad to return on September 18th and see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us in the years ahead.

I have spent much time reading about and reflecting on where the Lee Church is headed – what our priorities and vision will be for the ministry and witness that we bring to the community.  I know that many of you have read the books as I requested, and that some discussion has already taken place under Pastor Cat’s leadership.  I am looking forward to continuing the conversation about discerning what might lie ahead.  But first, we will take a brief look backward, as we celebrate Heritage Sunday on September 18th.  The service has been formed around selections from an 1877 hymnal found in the Chapman Library.  We will reflect together about the roles that the church has played in the
history of the town of Lee, and celebrate the dedication of the faithful who have preceded us, and
upon whose shoulders we stand.  This will be so appropriate as we bring this gift to the town as part of the 250th celebration.  Then we will begin the process of looking to the future.

I know that Holy Spirit has powerful gifts to bring through the efforts of our hearts and hands, and I look forward to discerning this together.

Blessings and Peace,

Pastor Gail

 

November 2015

posted Oct 30, 2015, 7:56 AM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Christ, 

On November 13, 2005, I began my ministry with Lee Church Congregational.  It is quite a wonder to me that 10 years have passed so quickly and that we continue to share this
journey of discovery and service to which God through Christ calls us.  Further, the work of the church unfolds before us as we meet the challenges of being the Body of Christ in the 21st Century.  The ways in which the Holy Spirit will inspire us to serve are yet to be
revealed, but we await that guidance with anticipation and joy, as God is surely still
speaking to us and through us.
 

I look back over the past decade and think about the dear folks who are no longer among us; some have chosen a different spiritual path, some have relocated to new homes in states far and wide, and still others have been called home by God. Into our midst have come new faces – once strangers, but now beloved friends and family – and the life of the church has been enriched by the gifts that they bring.  We pray that the continuing years will bring more of the same. 

What stands out to me is the determination that we have to continue to be family to one
another; our commitment to community, no matter how messy it might be at times.  With our unique personalities, gifts, and desires there will always be challenges.  But we strive to move ahead, seeking the best path for this church, God’s church, where we are but
servants struggling to be disciples.  In times of adversity, we have been reminded, and are
reminded still, of the beautiful bonds of faith and love that hold us together as one.  God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace are the models that inform our lives and are the foundation of our testimony to the community that surrounds us.  May they always be the rock upon which we build for the days to come.
 

In grateful appreciation for the ministry that we continue to share, 

Pastor Gail 

October 2015

posted Oct 30, 2015, 7:55 AM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Faith, 

The month of October will be a busy one in the life of Lee Church Congregational, as all the “usual” church activities will be in full swing.  Additionally, on October 18th, we will celebrate first responders for the town of Lee.  It will be our opportunity to express our appreciation for their wonderful service to all of us, especially in our times of need.  

As we, the members and friends of Lee Church Congregational, continue to grow as disciples and followers of Jesus, there will be opportunities to explore the words of Scripture is a new Bible study, entitled “Making Sense of the Bible – Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today.”  Sessions will be held on Monday afternoons (2-3:30) and Tuesday evenings (7-8:30), beginning on October 26 and concluding November 3rd.  You are invited to participate in either weekly session, and are asked to call the office or see the sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall in order to register.  Books for the class will be $16.00. 

Reading, sharing and preaching the Gospel of John this fall has reawakened in me a great love for these holy words.  From the first verses, “In the beginning…” to the last, “feed my sheep” and “follow me,” I am reminded over and over again of what God was willing to give to us and share with us – the very incarnation, God’s precious Son.  This Gospel provides hope and inspiration for my oh-so-human journey, and gives me the assurance that I am never alone.  I hope it has been, and will continue to be, a place of grace for you all as well. 

Wishing you every blessing,

Pastor Gail 

September 2015

posted Oct 30, 2015, 7:54 AM by Lee Church

Dear Friends,

            Welcome back from summer vacation fun, and welcome to the start of the busy church season.  As of September 13th, the church will be back to two services each Sunday morning and the Christian Education and music ministries will be in full swing.  Fall is always an exciting time at LCC!

The worship planning for the fall has been completed, although there will certainly be “tweaks” along the way, and the worship team has chosen to do something a bit different over the next months…….(groan)…… I am very excited about this and I think you will be, as well.  With the exception of Advent, Christmas and Easter, the remaining weeks in 2015, as well as 2016 will be spent with the Gospel of John.  That means that we will begin on September 13th with John 1.1 and hear consecutive readings each week.  As some of these reading will be longer than usual, the decision has been made to only hear one selection of Scripture each week, rather than two.  I am using a new commentary by Karoline M. Lewis as a guide, and I believe that this will be very meaningful.  The Gospel of John is very rich, and the opportunity to hear all of it together has the potential to be a wonderful experience.  The winter Bible study will also be focused on John’s Gospel.  It promises to be an exciting year.

I look forward to the next months and what the author of John has to teach us about discipleship, as we strive to serve the Lord as the Body of Christ. 

Pax et Bonum,

Pastor Gail 

August 2015

posted Oct 30, 2015, 7:53 AM by Lee Church

Dearest Friends in Christ,

              Gratitude.  It seems like a simple word, really, that signifies thankfulness and appreciation.  However, gratitude seems in many ways to be a much fuller word than that – and not really simple at all.  Although we share words of gratitude each Sunday during worship, it occurs to me that I do not often contribute my words to the conversation.  It might take too much time, for my list is frequently a long one, but that is not a good enough reason to withhold that sharing. So what am I grateful for? 

Presence.  I am grateful for the blessing of faithful presence in worship, at church suppers, at special times of gathering, and at meetings as we gather to do the work of the church.  Community means presence and participation, and the more faces and hands that come to engage Christ’s mission, the better.

Joyful noise.  Whether in the beauty of the music that we create together, the melody of voices raised in conversation and sharing (and sometimes in differences of opinion), or the shrieks and laughter of our children, we are making a joyful noise to the Lord.  Further, we carry this joyful noise into the community as we participate on town committees, as scout and 4-H leaders, as PTO members and families cheering for our children.  It is all joyful noise, and it is good.

Support.  Everyone stands in need of support from time to time, and pastors are no exception.  I am grateful for the many words, cards and acts of support that come my way.  Affirmation is a great place of blessing.  It is also heart-warming to be a witness to the many ways in which congregational members support one another.  The past two years have been filled with much loss and grief, and  stronger bonds of friendship and love have emerged as we have supported one another during difficult times.

Energy.  It takes a lot of energy to engage the work of Christ’s mission in the world, and mission is what the Lee Church is about.  With great enthusiasm, we take up the tasks of the church and extend that work into the community.  We watch the energy of our children as they develop and grow, and begin to dream about new ways of being community.  Often, the seasoned adults (I speak from experience) long for a small injection of that youthful energy.

Love and faithfulness.  This congregation is growing continually as disciples and that growth is based in a loving and faithful response to the presence and love of God in our lives.  We bear witness to this love and faithfulness by the sharing of presence, joyful noise, support and energy.  Our hopes and dreams about what God is creating through us are vibrant and alive, and are the strongest example of what it means to live as Resurrection People.  May God continue to bless others through us. 

Blessings,

Pastor Gail 

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