Dear Riviera Family,
The August Session/Staff Retreat held August 18th was a time to dream dreams about the future and to wrestle with where God might be calling to us as disciples. We used two planning methods during the day which gave permission to dream about where the church could be headed without thinking about how it will happen or say such ‘dream killers’ as that idea annihilator: … ‘we tried it before and it did not work’…. Using these planning models, many great ideas emerged and even though there were some that had to be shelved because they were beyond our capacity as a little church SOME have been put into place or will be put into place in the weeks ahead.
One priority was to develop a program that could involve the children and youth of the church. Beginning this fall, we will have started a Ukulele Ensemble which will meet the 2nd and 4th Sundays after church. I’m guessing that there are not too many (if any) in churches around our country. Anyone can join the Ukelele Ensemble, no musical ability is required, just a sense of fun and a readiness to learn and try something new!
Another priority was to make our physical space as open and affirming as our church membership is. One area where we have fallen short is by designating our bathrooms as men’s or women’s rooms. Gender neutral bathroom signs will be installed on both bathroom doors which can be switched to men’s or women’s rooms when someone is uncomfortable sharing a bathroom that is not gendered specific.
The organ renovation was discussed. The cost to return our organ to health is over $420,000. Instead of bemoaning that it was too great a cost, we imagined how we could partner with others and share the expense.
Our faith tells us that with God all things are possible. We have experienced this in our daily lives when we accomplish things we never thought we could or just get through an ordeal we never imagined we had the strength to handle. God is with us. God loves us and does not abandon us. AND God has a plan for each of us and for our church. It is NOT our job to decide whether or not we can accomplish goals but to discern where it is God calls and then to follow where God leads.
We are on this journey of life together! We are on this journey of faith as a community called Riviera. What a wonderful ride!
The Rev. Martha M. Shiverick