Some Important Thoughts
by Rev. Fred Meade
Dear Friends and Members of First Church,
I’ve been thinking a lot over the last five months about this church. I’ve grown to love the people and even enjoyed the drive back and forth. It has been a blessing that we really have not had a difficult winter. But within the walls of the church there continues to be tension.
Part of the reason why there’s tension is that the church doesn’t know who it is. In recent years many people left, and yet they are still on the church’s membership rolls. In a letter that was passed out this last Sunday in church, Jay Hodge (as chair of the Board of Deacons) mentioned that the diaconate is going to begin after March 21 to clean up the membership rolls. I think this is a good idea. If you didn’t get the letter, I have included it in this email blast.
I feel like the church community is stuck somewhere between Good Friday and Easter. Just like the early disciples on that fearful Saturday before Easter, there is confusion in this church about what’s what. The church leadership needs to find out who it’s members are and who is going to be contributing to the life and well-being of our beloved community.
So, think about this please, so that we can get on with doing what the church is called to do. Please show that you care about the church by showing up on Sunday and by contributing to the life of the church. In addition, I hope you sign up for the workshop on the March 21. Creating a vision for our future will be very healing for our community.
Dear First Church Members and Friends,
In the last three years our congregation has lost two loved Pastors. The circumstances surrounding their departures caused turmoil among members that precipitated a polarizing of personal views. While the Sanctuary has been a safe and peaceful place for worship on every Sunday and Holiday service, the direction of the church and her priorities has been oft times contentious. For the past few months the faithful of First Church have met in worship and fellowship under the spiritual leadership of Rev. Fred Meade. Moderator, Jim Lapham, has led interaction among our membership in a fair and organized way. We are grateful for their guidance and assistance in helping us as we move into, and plan for, the future of our church.
We also are getting help from Rev. Bob Naylor, a consultant helping us move beyond our struggles. Rev. Naylor is tasked with guiding us on a path of “healing and renewal” as we endeavor to “rebuild a healthy faith-based community and an increased spirit of joy” in our ministries. Many of us have been able to meet with him and have completed his survey; this has been of great help to him as he prepares advice and activities to help our community come together and move into a brighter and more sustainable future. Rev. Naylor is also providing us with more devotionals over the next weeks. Links to these may be found on the church website. All of which will help us to prepare for the following events:
On Saturday March 21, 9:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Rev. Naylor will be leading us in a day of visioning and planning. This is a day when “our community life will be strengthened, our individual gifts for ministry will be identified, and your dreams for our future ministry will be discerned.” To complete his planning, Rev. Naylor asks church membership, and everyone else who participated in the earlier one-on-one interview sessions, to R.S.V.P. by contacting Kristen (781) 293-2584 or Kristen@FirstChurchPembroke. I will also place a sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall. We hope to have everyone registered in the next two weeks allowing us time to prepare materials for the March 21st session.
On the next day, Sunday March 22, 10:00 A.M. we will celebrate our unity with a special Welcome Back service. It is our hope that if you have been away for a while you will attend both of these important events.
After these two events the Deacons will be looking at our membership list and moving some members currently on the active list to an inactive list. Our Church Bylaws state that members of First Church are expected to attend regular services of worship, contribute financially to the church, participate in its life and work and live a Christian life to the best of their ability. Updating membership status avoids the payment of unnecessary U.C.C. dues for people who have not been in fellowship with First Church . The bylaws also state that inactive members may be reinstated if they revive their participation in the life of the church.
Thanks to all for everything you have done in the past and will do in the future.