Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Getting the word out

This is the first day of my new life as a blogger. My biggest complaint about blogging has been that not even I could find my blog. I think I may be there. This time, I wrote it down. And, after I find it will publish it on my business card.

To recap about myself: I am a new church planter for a two denominational congregation (UCC and DOC) in Tioga County, Penna. Twenty-five percent of my time is as pastor of a 175 year old Disciples of Christ congregation called Canoe Camp Church. I was "parachuted" into this beautiful area in August 2008 - parachuted means that I did not know a living soul here. I now have about 80 people that I email when there is something I think they might enjoy. My charge: care for the tiny Canoe Camp congregation and find people who are not interested in church as usual.

The Canoe Camp connection reminds me that I am an ordained minister since, as a new church planter, it seems that all I ever do is network. I attend as many meetings as I am invited to attend, I talk to people even when I feel the need to retire into my introverted shell and I explain, when asked, about the difference between this church in north central Penna and others in the same community. Our difference? you ask: SoulLink UCC/DOC is progressive (I am trying not to say the "L" word), inclusive, ONA (open and affirming), and is for seekers whom I define as people totally turned off by traditional approaches to religion but who still think there is something larger than themselves. I try not to lose sight of these, though sometimes maintaining focus is a challenge.

I am going to post this - will I ever find it again? I hope so as I know people who would not just come to church will read it.

Getting up and going out into the world each day keeps me thinking. Who can I meet today, and will they want to hear about this new church? A few of those I talk with ask me when there worship is and then I have to explain that the new church does not have a regular worship time (and won't for about one year) though there is a "nontraditional" worship experience about once a month. Last month, it was a Celtic-style (taken from Iona) worship and the month before Taize. We also have a DVD opportunity and theology discussions at two local restaurants monthly.

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