This Sunday is Visioning Sunday.
What is God’s vision for Unity Presbyterian in 2023?
Where is God at work in us— both individually and corporately? Where do we feel God nudging our hearts?
Once a year, we dedicate a Sunday to asking these questions. I believe God is leading this church and it is our job to follow.
In the week leading up to Visioning Sunday, I spend time reflecting on the past year. After a rocky two years of a pandemic, 2022 felt like a return to normalcy (or perhaps a new normal?). In many ways, it felt like we were able to pick up where we left off pre-pandemic. I’ve got a couple of highlights:
Our Youngest Disciples: I’m a part of a pastor’s Facebook group. Six months ago a pastor posted “It seems like our young families have not returned to the church after the pandemic. Is any other church struggling with this?” That post conjured over 300 comments from pastors around the nation who also found this to be true. Statistically, this makes sense. Our children were the last to be eligible for the vaccine, and their patterns were among the most disrupted.
Fast-forward to this past Sunday: We had over 30 kids in worship!! Our children’s choir performed at both services. Parents and kids alike are excited about what Unity is offering over the next year.
I see God at work in our children’s program.
Community: Over the summer Unity’s staff spoke about the desire to foster community through our church. A strong, authentic community of disciples who deeply care for one another is what attracted me to this church in 2018. Once again, it felt like the pandemic paused much of our community building.
Fast-forward to Sept. 5— we hosted our first Wednesday Night Dinner. Over 75 people came. In the weeks afterward, we’ve averaged 50 to 75 people— including an average of 30 at Bible study. Dinner is but one example of the many ways people are re-engaging in community.
I see God at work in our building up the community of faith.
Mission: Unity is a mission-focused church. Worship on Sundays empowers us to be people of mission throughout the week. One of my proudest moments in 2022 was when Unity invited a family of refugees to live in the church manse. This was life-changing for the family of nine from Afghanistan. Additionally, Unity provides dinner for Hesed House (a homeless shelter in Lincolnton) every month. And you’ve helped to create a series of outdoor classrooms at GE Massey Elementary School (82% of students receive free or reduced lunch).
Unity makes a substantial difference in its community through its missions.
I see God at work through our transformational missions.
God has been moving in our midst in 2022. Seeing this makes me eager to see God’s continued work through us in 2023. Let’s work together to make 2023 one of the most influential years in Unity’s history. The impact of this church only happens because we come together and pool our resources, our gifts and our passions together. We can do so much more together than we ever could alone.
Please take some time this week to pray about how God may use you through this church in 2023.
This Sunday we will also begin our 2023 Stewardship Campaign. The Finance Team creates the 2023 budget based on the Estimate of Giving Cards that are turned in by the congregation. Please turn in an Estimate of Giving Card to help us prepare next year’s budget.
The estimates are not binding (we won’t send you a bill!). They simply give us an idea of what level of giving we can expect in the upcoming year. You can turn in an estimate electronically at the link below:
If you’d like to turn in a hard copy, they will be available at church on Sunday. You can turn them into the offering box or in one of the boxes outside the sanctuary (or office) doors.
Thank you for your generous support of Unity. This year has been challenging financially for many people due to the inflationary pressures on the economy. The church has felt these impacts as well. As your pastor, I deeply appreciate all you are able to give to Unity.
See you on Sunday!