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I WISH YOU PEACE

Date: 
August 26, 1918
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
PHILIPPIANS 4:4-9

THEME: A State of the Union – Dennis Union – address for my final Sunday…

INTRODUCTION

  • It’s time!... We all knew this time would come… this is my final Sunday with you as your interim pastor… and now it’s time to turn in our auction t-shirts…
  • Someone asked why I stayed at the Old South Union Church in Weymouth for 41 years… the answer is quite simple: I don’t do good-byes well… I delay them as long as possible…
  • Marcia and I have enjoyed our 32 months with you…
  • You are what Don Remick and the MACUCC would call a “healthy church!”
    • That’s a good thing!
    • We need more healthy churches!

 

VISIONING

  • My first task when I arrived at DUC in January of 2016 was to work with Lois, Connie, Luke, Judy and Sue to create a vision of the church to discern who God might be calling us to be and what God might be calling us to do.
  • We began by reviewing the history of the church and highlighting the most significant events in our history going back to the early 1700s.
  • Next we interviewed as many church members as we could to discover the strengths of the church … you listed:
    • The strong sense of community
    • The building
    • The ministry to children and youth
    • The outstanding music
    • The outreach to the community and beyond
    • The ability to resolve conflict
    • The activities that engage the congregation
    • The powerful presence of the Holy Spirit
  • We then asked about the challenges the church was facing… you listed:
    • Ensuring that our worship inspires, challenges, feeds and transforms the congregation
    • Moving from two services to one
    • Creating small group ministries and more fellowship opportunities
    • Focusing more on community than committee
    • Growing the church… seeking greater diversity… attracting more families and youth…
    • Becoming financially stable by growing our stewardship so that we do not need to rely on the auction and the apple fest to meet the budget
    • Increasing our outreach and our giving to missions
    • Engaging a settled pastor who will be part of the community
    • Solving the ongoing parking problem
  • Our final question to the congregation was: What does God want our church to be doing?
    • The short answer we came up with is making a difference in the community and beyond….
    • making a difference in the community and beyond  by reaching out to our neighbors while continuing to care for one another…
    • making a difference in the community and beyond by increasing our outreach… balancing social justice issues with personal needs… and addressing issues in the community, on the Cape and beyond…
    • making a difference in the community and beyond by becoming more diverse… becoming an Open & Affirming Congregation… creating a safe place for all…
    • making a difference in the community and beyond by building our youth program and creating intergenerational activities
  • The take away from all of this is to remember that churches are called to make a difference and to change lives.
  • The Stewardship Theme for this fall is: Dennis Union Church – Changing Lives Here and Beyond

 

CELEBRATIONS

  • As I prepare to leave you, these are the things I celebrate:
    • The warmth and openness of the congregation… the extravagant welcome offered to all highlighted by the vote to be recognized as an Open & Affirming Congregation
    • The wonderful spirit of cooperation which makes events like the Auction and Apple Fest such a great success…
    • The strong lay leadership of the congregation…
    • The dedication to the children and youth of the church led by Cindy Fiscus, but embraced by all… expand
    • The richness of the church’s music program… expand
    • The lack of conflict within the congregation… we may not always agree, but we handle our disagreements well…
    • The faithful and growing stewardship of the congregation… stewardship is the engine that drives the mission and ministry of the church… expand
    • The generosity of the congregation…outreach… monthly targeted donations… the support of a great variety of outreach projects… expand
    • The slow and steady growth of the church… expand
    • The dedication of the Search Committee… expand
  • The strengths you identified at the beginning of our time together are still the strengths of the church today and some of the challenges you identified two years ago have been met…<and I don’t think parking is really a problem – I think it’s an excuse J>
  • I thank you for letting Marcia and me be part of the life of this congregation, and I hope, in some small way, that we have made a difference…

 

CONCLUSION

  • About 6 months ago Ellis and Barbara Baker shared a poem by Robert A. Ward with me… after I read it I put it in an envelope and wrote on the envelope: save for final sermon at DUC... at the time I didn’t know when that final Sunday would be… I share it with you today:

 

I wish you the courage to be warm when the world would prefer that you be cool.

I wish you success sufficient to your needs;

I wish you failure to temper that success.

I wish you joy in all your days;

I wish you sadness so that you may better measure joy.

I wish you gladness to overbalance grief.

I wish you humor and a twinkle in the eye.

I wish you glory and the strength to bear its burdens.

I wish you sunshine on your path and storm to season your journey.

I wish you peace in the world in which you live

and in the smallest corner of the heart where truth is kept.

I wish you faith to help define your living and your life.

More I cannot wish you, except perhaps love, to make all the rest worthwhile.

 

Robert A. Ward

 

  • Friends, your future is bright! May you be blessed so that you may be a blessing to others.

 

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