As we move toward our 2016 Church Conference we are invited to reflect on the ministries of Laurel Heights. We consider the accomplishments and difficulties and compile a budget and leadership team we think will lead us successfully further into God’s will for Laurel Heights. I wanted to take a few moments to lift up a few.
Laurel Heights is very active in the community and affecting policy at the local, state and national level. Neighborhood schools are revisiting formalizing plans to revitalize. You have spent time one-on-one with students helping them learn to read so they may have greater opportunities and you have volunteered to drive people who can no longer drive themselves to the doctor, grocery store or church. Our mission statement says we will offer Christ to those we encounter and you are encountering more and more people in 2016 and making plans to continue that in 2017.
Not all of our ministries are focused outwardly. The Board of Stewards and Program Council have worked all year to provide a safe space and to encourage the membership to grow in their relationship with one another and with Christ through “Membership to Discipleship.” Plans to identify and clarify the needs, hopes, ministries and vision of Laurel Heights are underway.
Programs continue to flourish at Laurel Heights. Ministry to the college age we encounter meets on a regular basis as well as young adults and young families. We continue to encounter those who may have needs through Super Adults, exercise classes, 12-step groups, Stephen Ministry, Sunday school classes and youth. We go beyond our walls to encounter others through mission trips, after-school programs, ramp building, hunger walks and meal offerings such as the United Methodist Women’s Lenten Lunch, Church under the Bridge and Wednesday Night fellowship. We reach beyond through mission support, interfaith dialogue, food and diaper collections, school supplies, school uniforms and monetary gifts, block parties, treats from the trunk, neighborhood art shows and National Night Out.
It has not been easy. There have been significant staff changes and equipment needs. Occupying a building that is over 100 years old requires a great deal of love and care through painting the building, repairing furniture and replacing boilers and air conditioning units. All this has been done without incurring significant debt or denying resources for the ministries of the church.
These are just a few highlights of the many ministries we will affirm at our Church Conference, in our Sanctuary on December 18 at 3:00.
I hope to see you there,