From Rev. Daniel England

TEN GREAT THINGS ABOUT OUR CHURCH

So I've been here for a few months now. Here, in no particular order, are ten great things I've noticed things I've found and love.

A deep commitment to prayer. Whether it's the Contemplative Prayer Group or the steady behind-the-scenes prayer chain that offers up prayers for people "unceasingly" (as Paul puts it), I have a sense that ours is a church at prayer.

A willingness to learn. I soon realized that there were many Bible studies underway at the church. So when I suggested offering another one, I wasn't sure how it would be greeted. The answer turned out to be an overwhelming response that revealed to me that this congregation is not only pretty well educated generally, but one that is willing to drill down into the Scriptures to find new meanings.

A soul of music. I have long believed that words and meetings and systems and buildings do not a vibrant church make. The secret ingredient is music - excellent, creative, strong, tender, intelligent music. Of course, Edwin's untiring enthusiasm and talent drives a lot of it, but his efforts are rewarded regularly by a loyal choir, parents who get the value of having their children participate in choirs that teach them music and poise and singing about goodness. This is not to mention the wealth of talent released by soloists and bands and concerts. God loves a joyful noise. He must be happy with us.

Willing and helpful office anchors. No church gets very far without people to do the day-to-day stuff. And a lot of it is just that - stuff. But you'd notice if it didn't get done, wouldn't you? You see, it's important stuff. Did you know that Ruth and Melody are also crisis counsellors?

An appreciation for children. Whether it's Sunday school leaders or teachers or choir leaders or children's sermons or youth groups or trips or projects or young deacons or nursery care, this church goes out of its way to make sure that children and young people are included and nurtured.

A heart for older people. I have a book on my shelf that is entitled "Old Age is Always 15 years Older Than I Am." That's why sometimes older people can get overlooked. But not around here. Deeny coordinates a lot of the work, God bless her, but others, too, quietly make sure that no one is forgotten.

A brand new facility and wonderful sanctuary. Even before I became pastor here, I have always loved the sanctuary. I have no idea all the blood, sweat and tears (and sacrificial gifts) that went into the wonderful facilities we now enjoy. But boy, it was worth it.

Kind people. Seems a funny thing to include, I know, but I think niceness is a decidedly underrated virtue, especially in churches. Believe me, I've been to a few.

Amazingly wide outreach. If I listed all the ways in which this church reaches out to the community and the world, I'd be out of room. Heifer, Pivot, Jericho... no, no stop. No room.

Tireless leaders. The first on my list of tireless leaders is Karen, who when she's not loading up her Smart Car with hay and such is cheerfully spinning more plates than the guy on the Ed Sullivan Show (You Tube it). Also, the people who make up ministries and committees have a few other things to do in life, like make a living and raise families. And yet they are here, putting in countless hours because that's how much this church matters to them. But then, for some 2000 years, that's how it's always worked.