Our church's annual meeting was held at the beginning of the month - presided by our District Superintendent, Rev. Jim McPhee. We were blessed to have old and new faces join us as we looked back over 2015 and worshipped together. We talked about "Circles of Hope" and where we experienced them in our lives and in our community.
For those who weren't able to attend, booklets are available with all the reports - please email or call the church office and we'll be happy to get that information out to you.
I'd like to share here my report as I reflected on the past four months of ministry here on Chebeague:
Pastor’s Report 2015
“Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.
Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 3:5-11 (The Message)
These are the verses that came to mind as I think about my time here over the past 4 months and my place in the line of pastors who have served you over the many years this church has been present on this island. I am grateful for the gifts and ministries of those who have been in ministry with you all and look forward to continuing to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ and seeing what God will grow among all of us.
It is important for us to remember that Jesus Christ is the foundation of all that we do together. This is key as we look toward starting a visioning process in early 2016, hopefully with the help of Rev. Rick McKinley, the Director of Congregational Development for the New England Conference. Having a vision statement will enable us to communicate more clearly who we are as a church and what we are about as we minister to and with the people of this island and engage in mission here and around the world. The results from 2015’s community survey will help clarify not only what our role is and should be on Chebeague, but also how we are perceived in the community at large. While it is clear that Chebeague Island values the presence of the church, I believe there are ways that we can better engage the community in participation and in ministry. For this to happen, it is important for us to know who we are and why we do what we do – beyond the reason of “we’ve always done it this way!”
In addition to developing a clear vision, I believe it is also important to bring new voices to the table to help lead us forward as a body. There are many gifts with which God has equipped the people of Chebeague! However, I learned fairly quickly since coming to this place that leadership is a challenge that many organizations on the island are currently facing, and that several people wear many different “hats” throughout the community. This leads some to feeling stretched thin and some to burnout. The hope is that once the church has a clearer sense of vision and ministry, we can adopt a leadership structure that supports current ministry operations and allows for future growth in a way that is efficient, leads to less burnout, and improves communication among the various ministry teams within the church. Two steps that the Committee on Nominations and Lay Leadership has taken this year towards this end is to introduce class years on some committees to allow for leadership rotation – not only as an off-ramp for those who may want to take a break from service, but also as an on-ramp for new people to use their gifts for service to the organizational life of the church.
Secondly, we have also invited some newer people to serve on the church’s administrative council starting in 2016. This helps us “draw the circle wide” and make use of the energy, passion, enthusiasm, and gifts of the people who are connected to this church.
Part of what I have come to understand about the role of the pastor on this island is that the appointment is not just to the congregation that gathers on Sunday mornings for worship, but to the whole of the island. Part of this role includes (but is definitely not limited to!): presiding over funerals and weddings (I have already officiated at 5 funerals and memorial services and one wedding), attending community gatherings like concerts and community meals, visiting those living at the Commons, and having spiritual conversations on the ferry. Being part of the community is something you value from your pastor and it is something I am learning a lot about as Ben and I continue to settle into life here on Chebeague.
Some other opportunities for ministry that we have engaged in as a church are:
I trust that all of us will continue to work together and see what God is growing among us as a church and among us on the island. I know that as we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, we will keep moving forward into the future God has for us.
Pastor Melissa Yosua-Davis has been serving the Chebeague Island United Methodist Church since July 2015. She currently lives on the island with her husband and two dogs, and soon will expect a new addition to her family. Read here recent sermon excerpts, thoughts on life and faith, and current announcements for the chuch community. She also blogs at Going on to Perfection.