A Message from Pastor Jim
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
– Matthew. 28:16-21, NRSV
The end of one calendar year and beginning a new year usually includes some time of reflection on our lives–where we have been in life so far, what changes we have experienced and anticipate, and where we hope our lives will go in the year ahead. It’s also a very good time to reflect on how we are progressing in our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of his family of faith.
One potentially helpful way to do this is by using the description of church membership in our Book of Order. Under the heading of “The Ministry of Members” (B.O. 2017-2019, p. 21, G-1.0304), our church constitution helpfully summarizes both the practice of discipleship and the meaning of church membership:
Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ is a joy and a privilege. It is also a commitment to participate in Christ’s mission. A faithful member bears witness to God’s love and grace and promises to be involved responsibly in the ministry of Christ’s Church. [emphasis added] Such involvement includes:
* proclaiming the good news in word and deed,
* taking part in the common life and worship of a congregation,
* lifting one another up in prayer, mutual concern, and active support,
* studying Scripture and the issues of Christian faith and life,
* supporting the ministry of the church through the giving of money, time, and talents,
* demonstrating a new quality of life within and through the church,
* responding to God’s activity in the world through service to others,
* living responsibly in the personal, family, vocational, political, cultural, and social relationships of life,
* working in the world for peace, justice, freedom, and human fulfillment,
* caring for God’s creation,
* participating in the governing responsibilities of the church, and
* reviewing and evaluating regularly the integrity of one’s membership, and considering ways in which one’s participation in the worship and service of the church may be increased and made more meaningful.
Finally, as we begin the New Year, I want to thank all of you for your Christmas cards and gifts and other expressions of encouragement and support. I also want to say a special word of thanks to all of our officers, volunteers, and staff for all of their help and support, and for the special way they embody the presence and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ in their faithful service to Perinton Presbyterian Church. May you all have a most blessed New Year!
Grace, Peace, and Power to You,