"There's a spirit in the air"
(Published in News First, August 2007 - monthly church newsletter of the Warragul Uniting Church)
from Rev Chris Cohen
I would be interested in your comments about the kind of spirit that you feel, is in the congregation. This might be a spirit of goodwill, or acceptance, or love, or self satisfaction, or comfort and the list could go on. Of course the spirit of the congregation is determined largely by each one of us. So you and I and everyone else effects the spirit of the congregation by the way we “put in” and relate to each other.
There is one group of people that have the responsibility of oversight for the congregation’s spirit. These people we elect to be “Elders”, the term we give to those we trust to have “spiritual oversight” of the congregation. We don’t expect them to do it all, or to determine the spirit of the congregation on their own. They do, however, have the responsibility and opportunity to ensure there is a spirit in the congregation that is a human expression of God’s Spirit.
This task is formalised into areas: Pastoral Care, Teaching, Worship, Mission and building faith and love. These areas are expressed in the many activities we enjoy together. Let me list some:- conversation, visiting, News First, social gatherings, cuppa’s, Guild/Outreach, Open Door, God’s Gang, W.E.T., book groups, Bible studies, library, The Diner, Craft Group, Story and Playdays, East Timor support, Chaplaincy, Y.F.C., Advent Workshops, C.R.E. ,worship times, Holy Communion, funerals, baptisms, weddings, welcoming, Easter, Christmas, prayer times, banners, love, acceptance, sharing our lives together, sharing our stories, encouraging each other, Men’s Group, working-bees, fetes, hospitality etc.
Your Elders, among others, are those gifted to encourage and build up the spirit of the congregation so that our community reflects the Gospel (GOOD NEWS) of Jesus Christ in the way we relate to each other, live together and engage the world around us.
We can be thankful for God’s gift of these people and each one of us can reflect on the possibility of God calling us to this valuable ministry.
The current Elders do a wonderful job, I believe as I perceive the spirit of the congregation, however, they need some help. There will be elections for Elders on October 7th. Please pray for our Elders, each other and for the election of more Elders. Please pray for your part in the life of this congregation.
Your friend in Christ,