As we prepare for the birth of Christ, I invite you to reflect with me on all the experiences that God has allowed us to have this past fall. Ultimately, it is therefore not us who prepare but God who makes it happen. Just think of all the beautiful worship services, congregational events and concerts! It is amazing how often we express ourselves with music here at First Reformed! The enclosed pictures are rather eloquent.
There is, however, an area of concern. For a while now our small membership has made it difficult to keep all aspects of our congregational identity and heritage alive. We are just too few to keep the Women’s Guild going, to have Dutch Dancers for New Brunswick’s tree lighting ceremony or to put up the annual Advent Breakfast.
I know that not everything is a simple loss but that several of our previous signature activities have been replaced by others to reflect our changing and younger membership. But if you look below the bottom line there are really no two ways about it: If you hold it against the background of our beautiful and rich heritage, we are an astonishingly small congregation.
Of course we cannot go around inviting others just to satisfy our need for self-preservation. Had our Lord sounded a message like this at the shores of Lake Galilee, nobody would have followed. But think of it in this way: What we have to offer in terms of congregational life, heritage, and our understanding of the love of God is too precious to be withheld from the communities in which we live. Building our invitation on this reality may appeal to those who seek us. And it is theologically responsible at the same time.
So as we go into this Advent Season, I invite you to ponder some more the beautiful things God has given us, so that we may use them to invite others into God’s house. May God continue to bless us!.
With fond wishes,