Standing just inside the threshold of a new year, I am genuinely excited about what lay ahead. In one sense, for me it started out right. It might have slipped under your radar screen, but on New Year’s Day, the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Oklahoma Sooners in a nail-biter, and will now play on Monday night for the National Championship. What is not to like about that? Okay, I apologize for gloating. Great as that is for me, however, that is not the real reason for my excitement.
As we close the chapter on 2017, I am keenly aware that last year there were many challenges that had to be confronted, tough decisions that had to be made, and changes that were put in place. These sorts of things are unavoidable at times, but they are seldom easy. While some of the decisions and changes may still need a bit of tweaking, much of that is now behind us, and we are beginning to live into our new future together.
For example, this weekend, nearly two hundred members of our church, most of whom serve on various committees, will undergo training in “Radical Hospitality.” Most churches are hospitable, but what does it mean to go the extra step? As Phil Maynard points out in his book, The Shift, guests to churches expect churches to be hospitable. Simply being hospitable will not bring a guest back to a church. Not being hospitable may drive them away, but what brings guests back to churches is when churches go beyond the expected to the unexpected. This weekend, we’re learning about how that finds expression here at DUMC. (As an aside, the business world is learning the importance of this same principle).
The Building Committee is continuing to finalize the plans for the renovation of the sanctuary. The current plan is to begin the renovation the second week in May and for the first phase of the sanctuary renovation to be complete by the middle of October. The first phase involves the reshaping of the chancel and the balcony areas of the church. This will necessarily involve our vacating the sanctuary for approximately 10-12 weeks, which we hope to do this summer. When completed, both our Contemporary and Traditional Services will be able to worship in the sanctuary.
While this work is being done, preparations for the completion of the second phase of the renovation will be underway. The second phase involves the building and installation of the new organ. This will be complete approximately 18 months from now.
Some exciting changes have taken place, or will take place in the next few months, in several of our ministry areas. To me, it is all very exciting as we move forward together into the future God has planned for us.
As you know, our vision is “to be a dynamic Christian Community of fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” May God grant that during 2018 we will move closer to more fully realizing that vision.
See you Sunday, if not before,
Rev. Dan Brown