Last October if you woke up before sunrise and happened to look up into the night sky, you saw something special. Three planets, Venus, Jupiter and Mars, formed a close triangle in the pre-dawn darkness. Their convergence was special because it was rare. Ordinarily these distant planets do not line up in such close visual proximity to one another, relative to viewers on earth.
I say this because starting later this month, we are about to experience a special convergence of our own right here at WWPC. Within a span of just a few weeks, we will:
1. Welcome a new Director of Music.
2. Launch a new website for our church.
3. Introduce the final draft of our long awaited ministry plan.
It perhaps goes without saying that this particular combination of events has never occurred here before, at least not in such close proximity to one another. But this convergence is special not just because it’s rare. It’s special because it points to something larger than itself.
To put that another way, I believe the timing of these events is more than coincidental. I believe that God is at work here, and that, taken as a whole, these events herald the start of a new and exciting chapter in the ongoing story of our life together as a congregation.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these events in turn, and perhaps you’ll see why I believe the timing of this convergence is providential.
On September 25th, following a search process that began last May, we will welcome Vivian Hare as our new Director of Music. Vivian brings an unusually rich combination of talent and experience to this role. She “auditioned” for the position on July 10th, when she served as our guest organist. If you were here that day, you already know why the search committee was immediately enthusiastic about Vivian’s candidacy for the position.
If you weren’t here that day, you will soon experience for yourself Vivian’s gifts as a musician and worship leader, and why we believe that, building on Steve Williams’ marvelous legacy, our future is bright, musically. So, if possible, I hope you will plan to be here on the 25th to help welcome the newest member of our church staff. (For additional background information about Vivian, and our plan to welcome her, please see the article on page 7.)
The second of these three converging events has been unfolding now for the better part of a year. With Session’s approval, our Communications Committee set out last September to develop a new website for our church.
We launched our previous site in 2008 and it has served us well in the years since then. But website design has recently changed quite dramatically. To keep pace with these changes, we had little choice but to undertake a significant redesign of our site.
Beyond simply helping to keep us up to date technologically, the new site will have several additional and important benefits. First, a new, more welcoming user interface will be much more inviting to visitors and newcomers who are searching online for a new church home. To this end, the site will help us tell the story of who we are and of what we believe and value in a way that was not possible before.
Internally, we also believe that with a new, richer calendar function, the site will be a more inviting “go to” resource for our members who use the Internet to find up to date information about what’s going on in the life of our congregation.
Which brings us to the final piece of this three-part convergence. Last October, we launched our “Strength for Today, Bright Hope for Tomorrow” campaign. As you know, the latter part of this campaign, the Bright Hope for Tomorrow part, was centered on a forward planning process intended to help us discern answers to two questions: Who God is calling us to be, and what God is calling us to do as a congregation as we move into our future?
On October 16th, almost exactly a year after we started down this road, we will present to the congregation the final draft of our long awaited ministry plan. Dozens, even scores of you, have participated in this process. Your ideas formed the basis of this plan. Your wisdom and input helped us discern answer to the key questions of what our core identity is and what our mission ought to be.
So on that Sunday, October 16, we will celebrate all the work we’ve done together – listening to one another, praying together, discerning God’s voice and God’s will together. And the leadership team will present this plan to the congregation as a whole—a plan that we believe will guide us into our future and, with God’s ongoing help, enable us to become the best church we can be.
See what I mean about the timing of this convergence? This is no accident. This is providence.