September 2019

Dear Riviera Family,

Spiritual energy and excitement is bubbling up as September begins at Riviera.  We are aware of all the blessings we enjoy as a church community and are thankful for all that we are able to give in God’s name to promote God’s realm on earth.

The session will be reading a book together this fall ‘Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission’.  The authors challenge the church to see the abundance they have been given instead of the scarcities and to use that abundance to meet the missional needs in their communities.  One of my favorite messages in the book is that the gift of a church’s missions, whether they are serving a meal in Homestead, giving a gift of a food bag to a homeless person in our neighborhood, advocating for gun reform, working on immigration issues or environmental concerns, is not to those who are on the receiving end but to those on the giving end.  The giver is changed, made better because of the ministry.  In other words, our missions turn us into better people.  Several years ago, when I asked you what the missions of Riviera Church were, several members were not sure.  Today, I believe all members could name a few.  We are a missional church and that is to be celebrated!

And we will celebrate!  Kick off Sunday is September 8th when we finish up the summer series on Exodus and turn to the Gospel of Luke in the lectionary readings for the next few months.   We will have a picnic that day and have games for kids of all ages.

We will Commission the Rev.s Rosemary N. Welton and David Welton as our Parish Associates for Visitation on September 15th. Rosemary and David have been visiting members since they came to Riviera, but we are going to recognize and affirm their ministry.  The Committee on Ministry of our Presbytery will also recognize them as our Parish Associates.

Our Ukulele Ensemble will have its first meeting of the new season on September 22nd. We hope that new people will join as we push the restart button.  From personal experience, I can tell you that you do not need to read music or consider yourself musical to play the Ukulele.  It is just tons of fun!

September is also when we ordain and install a new class of officers to the session.  We have two people who will be ordained as Ruling Elders and two others, already ordained, who will be installed with them. Ordination and Installation is a celebration as well.

And…I celebrated my 38th anniversary of my ordination on August 30th… Sometimes anniversaries are times to look backward and be thankful for what has been BUT this year I am excited about what is to be…. about all that is happening and will happen in the months ahead…. and once again, I want you to know how grateful and happy I am to serve as your pastor.

In Love and In Christ,


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