Doesn’t that sound important and exciting! Like we’re about to go global or something. Well, I can’t say that we are (but I don’t know that we aren’t).
In this instance, however, let’s let BBC stand for Building Beloved Community. That’s what we’ve been up to here, and there are always things to talk about. Because building beloved community is groovy.
Like this, which I reported to the Board last week:
Annie gives me a spreadsheet, updated quarterly, which compiles worship attendance data over a period of several years, catalogued by month and week. I had been reviewing the worship attendance stats, (which I rarely do), and I observed these things: Attendance almost every month of 2015 has been higher than the corresponding month in 2014. Attendance for May and August was the highest for each of those months since 2011; July was best since 2010.
Additionally, the last Sunday of October, attendance was 86 (15 were in faith exploration downstairs); last year, the same week, attendance was 51 (and there was no faith formation going on in another space). Plus, that same Sunday, of the 71 in the worship service, I counted at least 24 who are new here since the spring.
I try not to get hung up on numbers, but it’s hard to ignore that our beloved community is growing. We’re having a gathering at Karen’s this Friday evening, a chance to get to know new folks who have become return worshippers, and there are more than two dozen folks who are new since the last one of these that we had at the end of May. That’s way cool. (And we hope to see all of you there.)
We also welcomed Chandra Hayward this last Sunday, our newest teacher in the elementary Faith Exploration program. We love having kids and needing teachers!
Our stewardship Sundays have drawn us in, with more than 2 dozen pledges delivered in this first week. We loved hearing from Sue Sugden and Luke Leffel, the long-time member and the brand new worshipper, about where they find community here. And Max Grice and Clif Turner, teen and “older than it’s polite to ask,” moved us with their witness the week before of taking this community into the struggle, carrying Woodside’s Flag of Humanity to Washington DC, to the 20th anniversary observance of the Million Man March. We are growing within and growing in our reach. We are Woodside.
There will be more. As you all offered your ideas and desires about community, Paul, our Music Director, and I met and have come up with the most brilliant idea, blending your desire to sing with Woodside’s new practice of learning a new hymn each month. We’re starting the Hymn of the Month Club! It’ll be a singing time, all just regular songs, all in good fun, some new, some old favorites, and some maybe not so, um, sacred. We’ll likely take requests, and probably have snacks. And you can bring a song or hymn for the group to sing together, if you have one. From that, Paul and I will try to develop a list of hymns that Woodside especially loves, and maybe create our own song books for the pews. We’ll pin down details, and let you know; but if this grabs you, email us (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org) or just look for us at coffee hour.
Have I mentioned that I love being at Woodside?
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be putting together some solid plans for 2016. If you’re considering whether to complete a pledge card, please know that it really does help us plan.
And here’s one more invitation: if you’re willing, drop a note via email between now and Tuesday, with a sentence, a couple of sentences, or just a phrase, and tell us why you decided to make a pledge in 2016. We’ll include those thoughts in our next edition (with or without names), as we continue to find inspiration in each other.
Beloved Community happens when we create ways to be together that give us strength and purpose, solace and joy, ways that reach into our depths and ways that help us to reach beyond ourselves. I hope you’ll continue to imagine your home here.
And that’s the news from BBC, Woodside Bureau.
With you on the way,
— pastor deb