Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter — these are church season with which we are most familiar. For local churches, there are other seasons that also accompany great busy-ness — the opening of the church school year, the Christmas pageant, confirmation. Wider church work, though, has a different rhythm. Just as some churches wind down their programming for the summer, our programming kicks up. For us, it is summer events season.
It’s only appropriate (and a little funny) that this should happen in the season of “ordinary time” — a name I’ve always found a bit ironic. There is nothing ordinary about it. Great spiritual growth can be found in this “down time” between seasons. When we allow ourselves to rest and renew before the big seasonal celebrations begin, we find ourselves being moved and shaped by the Holy Spirit, challenged by God’s word and called into action by Jesus’ example.
It’s appropriate then, that this should be the time the wider church experiences the biggest flurry of activity — the most phone calls, emails, and, yes, gatherings. As the vines of our faith grow, we seek opportunities to connect, not just with those with whom we share the pews every Sunday, but with others in our sister churches and beyond.
The Iowa Conference staff welcomes this chance to be the soil in which the people from our churches (and beyond) receive the nutrients they need to grow. This week is one of the richest opportunities — our 50th Birthday Celebration in Grinnell, IA — which includes learning, fellowship and service as a wider community. I look forward to seeing some of you there. For those who cannot make it in person, there will be other ways to stay connected. (Our plenary sessions, worship and other moments will be available on our website in photos and video.) And, of course, let us remember each other in prayer during this busy and fruitful week.
Please share a story here about how the wider church has nurtured and developed your faith life. After all, we grow best in community.