Let me tell you one of the reasons I enjoy being the pastor at Floris United Methodist Church. Yesterday I was involved in a teaching event for 150 pastors in the Mississippi Annual Conference. During my presentation I talked about the importance of being open to a “God-sized vision” for the church these pastors serve. A God-sized vision is something that comes to church members and pastors as a conviction from God. It is not so much about our ideas for ministry but perceiving God’s calling for our church to be in ministry. We have examples of God-sized visions at Floris. The Child Rescue Centre, Mercy Hospital and the Hutchison Partnership would be good examples. Sharing some of these examples with these pastors, I showed them a photo of our altar furniture and pointed out that the inlaid wood came from places where God had called us to service, whether it be Sierra Leone, Cuba or here in Herndon. Until that moment, it had not occurred to me that one of the pieces of wood used in our altar furniture was from Mississippi. It was wood that one of our Katrina recovery teams brought back from Bay St. Louis. I shared this with these pastors, now realizing that the wood was from Mississippi and I was in Mississippi talking to pastors from Mississippi. I didn’t do it to gain attention or seek praise. It just occurred to me how interesting it was that their wood was in our altar furniture. But when I shared this, and said that we had 25 teams that had gone there for rebuilding, these pastors broke into applause for your efforts. I wish you could have heard that applause, because their sincere appreciation really touched me. When I was alone last night I began to think about the sense of calling and compassion that so many of you demonstrated in taking trips to Bay St. Louis. What really impressed me is how many in our church of different ages served there. While there are church members that I could easily identify that led these teams, there was no one person who led all 25 teams. It was certainly not the pastor that led the way. It is obvious that during that season of hurricane recovery, God was prompting and motivating many members of our church to be a part of those efforts, either in person or through their financial support.

Here is the reason that I am proud of being your pastor:you not only hear the call of God, you are willing to answer it.I am so grateful to be with a group of people on that journey, where we work to see the vision God would have us see and then pursue it.

Child Protection Policy

Some of you have questions about recent additions to our child protection practices. In past weeks I have referred you to the policy and documents related to it so that you will have the information you need to be a part of our efforts to care for children at Floris. This week I have written apastoral letterto the congregation sharing my thoughts on the importance of this policy. I hope you will take a moment to read this. It is an expansion of some of my comments in worship this week.

Shuttle Parking Discontinued Until November

We review our parking lot situation on a weekly basis. Our review over the past few weeks indicates that the shuttles are not absolutely necessary at this time. Our attention to good stewardship of our financial resources has led us to the decision to discontinue shuttles until we need them in order to provide radical hospitality to our guests. Please do continue to think about the need for one car in the lot per family, as parking will remain a challenge if families bring multiple cars onto the lot for the 9:15 AM and 11 AM services on Sunday mornings. We encourage you to continue to use carpools and other means necessary to meet the one car per family recommendation. The shuttles will become a necessity again in early November and we ask you to prayerfully consider utilizing the shuttles at that time.

Financial Statements and Stewardship Update

This week we will be mailing out year-to-date financial statements along with a copy of the Ministry Matters newsletter. When you receive your statement, I encourage you to do two things. Please review your statement for accuracy and agreement with your records. If you note that you are not current in your giving related to your estimate of giving this year, please prayerfully consider if you are able to make your giving current at this time. If you have any questions related to your statement, please contactBeverly Fifein the church office. Please also take a look at some of the things your generosity supports at Floris. We utilize the estimate of giving cards each year to plan for ministry in the coming year. Support for ministry that has been budgeted is made possible through your generosity. Thank you for supporting your church this way.

Blessing of the Pets

If you have a pet, or have recently lost a pet, you are invited to attend Floris’ Blessing of the Pets this Sunday at 3 PM in the lower parking lot. We will share in a short service of prayer, scripture and blessing. Contact Jeanette Debernardiif you have questions.

This Week in Worship

On Sunday we continue the sermon series,The Power of Words: How Conversations Can Change the Direction of Our Faith.We will look at Ruth and Naomi, a conversation of devoted friendship and compassionate love. Ruth tells Naomi that she will go with her rather than return to the security of her home. These words of commitment were life-altering to both women and demonstrate the power in telling people that you will be with them on their journey. I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we talk about how that applies to our lives.Scripture: Ruth 1:1-18.

In Christ,

– Tom

The post eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin – Sept. 22, 2011 appeared first on Today I Saw God.