Reflecting on the Gazebo
This is a tough one to write: summer is almost over (and yes, I know we have local summer still!). But seriously, before we get into it, I invite you to pray for the folks in Florida who are enduring another damaging hurricane – especially those people who are most vulnerable, unable to help themselves, sick, elderly, and so on.
Now the the Psummer of Psalms is over, I want to take a moment simply to reflect a bit on the gazebo services over August.
First, praise God for the weather. Sunny, yes – but beautiful.
Second, for all of you who did a bit more over those Sundays, pitched in to help pitch a tent or two, set up tables and water and bagels: THANK YOU.
Rich and Bev Kugele, Larry and Michele Russell, Sam Talmage, Harry Murtha (and little Harry!), Rob Lisi, Bart Lentini, Steve Cesarski, and so many more. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Seriously: thank you.
Third, there are some big things from the gazebo services to celebrate.
Most importantly perhaps, we got out of the building and had the opportunity to meet so many folks from town: walking their dogs, on the Hudson trail, playing on the playground, riding bikes, and so on. Many of you were so great at greeting people who stopped to check us out, introduce the church, and so on. It was so encouraging. I think we took the opportunity to make a really good impression on the town.
In addition to that, I got to have one of the coolest experiences I’ve had so far as a pastor: while preaching a sermon, seeing people stop walking the Hudson trail, sit down on the bench and listen to it, and then take off again when it finished. I saw that happen every week. I don’t know what they might take away from it – but I trust (and hope) that God will use it in their lives somehow. It was great.
There were also some people who came to the services who had wanted to check us out as a church, but felt a little intimidated to come to the building. This provided a perfect on ramp for them, and they took it. I loved hearing that. I couldn’t hope for much more than that!
The last thing I’ll mention was something else that happened which was really encouraging: after the services, people really stuck around and hung out together. That happens in our building after the service too, but not like it did outside. We had a chance to get to know one another on such a deeper level. It was awesome. I want to encourage you to do that now that we’re back indoors too!
I’m really looking forward to finding ways to try something like that again next summer (maybe even into September). Now that we’ve done it once, we know what we’re doing, and how it can be done better (shade!). I’m excited, and encouraged by the church’s ability to take a shot on something new and (a bit) out of our comfort zone!
This week, however, we are BACK INDOORS at 28 E Highland Ave! I’m excited to continue in the “What If Jesus Was Serious?” series, looking into another important reason that he said he came to be with us. We’re also going to continue to do giving in the same way we did at the gazebo (with giving boxes, rather than the collection), so the service will feel a bit different than typical. We’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.