O.F. Offering a Model & Learning for Other Congregations

“Hey Everyone,

Since we don’t have a Communications Committee yet, I am sending this to everyone on Council. I was following through on some references that our interim pastor sent me on another topic, and came across this page “Visit: What to Expect” on the website of Old First Reformed United Church of Christ in Philadelphia. I think having a similar page on our website would be extremely welcoming and helpful. Here is a great example of hospitality.

So now, who has to approve (or disapprove) our doing this, and who writes it up?”

Michael’s colleague, that interim minister, forwarded this portion of an e-mail that leaders of one sister UCC congregation received. The interim minister had referred a lay leader in the congregation she is serving to our website to read one of our E-pistles.

That lay leader looked around further, and found something else she thought would help their ministry. The interim minister figured that we ought to know our efforts are having a collateral benefit… as a sort of pat on the back.

Likewise, if one looks at who “likes” the Old First FB page or who is reading and sharing our information (the FB administrator can see this information), it’s often not just people who worship with us here at 4th and Race. We have folks from sister congregations across the UCC and those in the church house in Cleveland who are watching what we are doing, asking about how we are doing it, and emulating our efforts.

We have begun getting regular inquiries into both how we are conducting our communications and how we are doing covenant ministry. That comes on questions about how we organize our Outreach Ministries that Old First has regularly received from congregations wishing to become more service-oriented.

Good job, Old First: some of the work we are doing here, some of what we are learning about how to be a congregation that is more visible. accessible, welcoming, meaningful and serves more and different people is having an effect beyond our four walls.

How good it is when the Church of Jesus shares broadly. It’s another application of Act 2, where the Christian community holds everything in common so that each can benefit according to his or her need.

What we are figuring out here about doing ministry successfully in a society that is hardly familiar with the Christian story or the church’s faith and practice may turn out to be helpful way beyond the immediate community we serve or even the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

Thanks be to God…