We want to introduce you to a new Good Sam image. We hope it makes you think of Good Sam and our life together. We also hope it helps you think about our mission and purpose as a community. “Finding our neighbors along the journey of faith” is a strong statement of our mission focus in 2015. Notice how the roads join in the distance not long before you reach the cross. This is a great image for the work that we are about: looking for those moments when our path crosses our neighbors path and the presence of Jesus comes into clearer focus.
Thanks to the Digital Communications Team for their creativity and work on this idea. Special thanks to Sue Williams who donated her growing talent as a graphic artist in bringing this idea to expression and life. We hope you will come to see this image as a sign of Good Samaritan stepping into mission. Thanks for all the ways that you help us make a difference in our community.
One final thing you might see in this image is a new web address, www.goodsam.community. We think this new address speaks to the sense of community we are trying to create for ourselves and for our neighbors. Our new website will continue to grow in its design and usefulness to members and visitors alike. Check it out today!
In my early days as a pastor I would try to get all my office work done during my office hours. It became a challenge almost immediately because I couldn’t seem to sit and focus on my writing or reading when the phone would ring or someone would stop by and want to visit. I couldn’t figure out how to get my office work done in the allotted time with all the interruptions! Then one day it occurred to me that all those interruptions were my job! The busyness of the other stuff was clearly not more important than the person right in front of me. I simply had to learn to keep first things first in my work.
Learning to have time for our neighbors is a similar challenge. It is so easy to miss the opportune encounter that passes in front of us if we think it’s not our job, not important, not what we are about – simply an interruption. Mission Focus for me is learning to see each encounter, every person who passes before me as a potential place where God would invite me to be alive, present, and actively listening and caring.
No, I can’t engage every passerby or every situation before me. Yet, learning to carry a mindfulness of each as it occurs living the question, “Is God inviting me to engage here?” really is a critical step in being mission focused. Good Sam, part of being Good Samaritans in our everyday lives is noticing the strangers to are alongside the paths we travel. Won’t you join me in practicing this mindfulness and active neighboring we call “Mission Focus?”
Thank you so much for the kind words and good wishes as I wrap up my time in the office. I have truly enjoyed working here and will miss you all. Every member and visitor to the office reflects the image of God and it has been a gift to experience such a beautiful mosaic through my interactions with each of you.
Pastor Mitch, Debbie J., Sue V. and Ele B. have been a joy to serve alongside on a weekly basis for three years. What a team–a supportive group who serve and encourage one another in both the high points and the challenges. I am grateful for all that I’ve learned at Good Sam and believe it will be a blessing in my new bookkeeping position. Thank you to all the office volunteers during the past three years who contributed in a myriad of ways–folding bulletins, covering office hours, and general “pinch-hitting”. Each of your contributions has helped to provide a hospitable environment and advance Good Sam’s ministry in our community. Blessings and God’s grace to you!
Grace and peace,
Do you have a purpose to your life of faith? Perhaps you have a sense of how God uses you to accomplish God’s work in the world around you? At Good Samaritan we have a mission and finding our mission will certainly invite us to imagine where we might discover God’s working in our lives and in our lives with others. Let’s begin with a picture, an image that can speak to us about God working among us?
Imagine if you will the cross of Jesus. We sometimes say that the vertical beam is God reaching down into our lives to connect, renew and enliven us. We say the horizontal beam then, is our reaching out to others with the hope; reconciliation and friendship of God, as we try to love our neighbors as Jesus love them. The Cross of Jesus is not simply about his death and resurrection, but also about our new life and hope in Christ.
Imagine with me that our faith lives are a journey on which we are seeking to discover the presence and activity of God. This road we travel is a journey of discovery. So we are always looking for those moments along the way when we can see the cross clearly. One of the discoveries of the early church was that God provided encounter after encounter with people where God’s activity was discovered. Often these encounters were with people no one expected to shire forth with God’s working; Philip met the Ethiopian, Paul and Silas met Lydia, Peter met Cornelius. This is the reason I like to say, “Jesus is best discovered in Community.”
In the image above you can see the road before you. It is leading toward the Cross of Jesus. Also along the way, you will intersect with other roads; have contact with others on a journey of faith. Curiously, it is in those intersections that the Cross appears and the work of God becomes visible in our lives and experiences.
Notice that the Cross in this image is on a gold background. The brightness of the sun and the resilience of the Kingdom of God shine here on the horizon. They draw us toward the work that God will do in our lives and in the connections we have with others. Notice the fields on the left and right of the road we travel. Purple is the color of Lenten color in which we focus on our walking in faith toward Easter. Green is the Season of Epiphany and of the Sundays after Pentecost, in which we think about the manifestation of God among us. These are the seasons of growth and seasons in which we emphasize our journey in discovering God and seeking to learn from the teachings of Jesus.
As we talk about, illustrate, imagine and point toward our mission together in the coming weeks and months, we hope this image might begin to invite, encourage, awaken and spur us on toward those intersections in our lives where our encounters with others become a place where God’s activity is visible among us. Where do you see God working in your life? Where is God making use of you in the lives of others? These intersections will certainly be along your journey to the cross.
Join us each Sunday in April as we explore these images and experiences as we focus on our mission, purpose and journeys of faith together.
Jill S., our Office Manager/Administrative Assistant, will be leaving Good Sam as she has accepted a position in her congregation as a bookkeeper. We are excited for her to have the opportunity to be more involved in the congregation where she worships but we are sad to see her go. We are very thankful for Jill’s three years with us. She has brought some very helpful organization, follow-through, and attention to detail to the office in addition to being a great team player and participant. Her last official day with us will be Thursday, April 9. Please take a moment to thank Jill for the gift she has been to us.
Even though the season of Lent has just begun, Easter is around the corner. To reflect our joy on Easter day, consider purchasing an Easter flower to decorate our church. As you leave worship on Easter (April 5), you are welcome to take it with you.
On Sunday mornings in February and March you will find order forms printed on envelopes in the narthex. You can fill out the form and include a dedication. The cost per flower is $8.00. Payment must accompany your order and can be placed in the offering plate. Orders must be in no later than Sunday, March 22. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Debbi Y.
Thanks to all who made extra efforts to help us finish fiscal year 2014 with a few hundred dollars to spare. We appreciate your responsiveness. January has also had challenges of its own. We usually have a deficit in January because we have annual bills and first quarter bills that we often don’t have cash reserves to pay.
Council and Finance are working together to decide which bills can be deferred until we can turn this around. Your faithful giving really does make a difference in the day to day management of life and ministry here at Good Sam.
–John S., Council President