Last March, after having read through your church profile with great curiosity and unexpectedly intrigued, in my very first email communication with Old Saratoga I wrote to Search Committee Chair Chris Garney,
“I am interested in and excited to find out more about your needs, dreams, and community.”
A little over a year later, and… here we are! Those words still ring true, as we continue the process of getting to know one another, learning more about ourselves and this church in this place and time… and we begin to discern together what is God’s will and hope for us moving forward.
It feels like the past year has flown by! It’s been nine months since I moved into the historic (yet crumbling) parsonage—an enormous project in and of itself, tremendously and carefully revitalized inside to a gracious, contemporary standard appropriate to these times. I recently returned from my post-Easter visit with my family in Scotland, and was truly delighted that it felt like I was coming back home to this sweet little Victorian/Mission transitional style miniature of the house I grew up in back in the last century—built in the century before that—and back to the spectacular stained glass windows that set the tone for holy space in the sanctuary. But more than the buildings, Schuylerville and Old Saratoga Reformed Church and her people also feel like family…like home. And I am so grateful! Grateful to God for directing me here, and to all the people who participated in that process. God is good!
And this transitional process into the future continues. There are books and manuals and workbooks that cover how to assess the gifts and potential for mission and ministries by congregations. In my reading, they all say the same thing in different lingo, depending on the popular verbiage of the period. And that central message is SO familiar to those of us who know something about scripture, and “being church”—summarized so beautifully in 1 Corinthians ch. 12 (it’s worth reading the whole chapter, but here’s my summary):
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.”
In the NEXT year, I’d like for us to pray together AND work together as a congregation to re-examine our gifts to come up with new ways that God can use us to share Christ into the world as it is now. Each and every person even remotely attached to Old Saratoga has a set of gifts and a role to play in God’s Creation! I find that to be both very exciting and somewhat intimidating—to the point where mutual support and regular worship which focuses us on our spiritual relationship with what is incontrovertibly Holy, are necessary components of a satisfying life well-lived. It is a privilege to share in this process at this time of life with all of you! And so…
Welcome Springtime, and this Easter Season! It is a gift of the church year that the 50 days after Easter’s celebration—these days before Pentecost—constitute their own scriptural theme. On these Sundays, we get a series of readings centered around the people who formed the Early Church in response to the Jesus’s teachings, amidst their shocked joy in His resurrection (even as He had promised!). We learn about the immediate disciples’ reactions, then we hear stories about the growing pains of His followers as they grow into being the Body of Christ continuing in the world. As ever, today’s Christ-believers are challenged to sort out for ourselves how WE are living in response to the Good News. In this miraculous season of beauty and hope and color, as the joy of Spring reasserts herself all around us, we recognize it is from bulbs and shoots and seeds set months and years ago! We can sit back… or we can actively contribute to God’s amazingly diverse creation. There are so many possibilities! — In faith, Pastor Susan
Thank you to those of you who shared your thoughts regarding Old Saratoga’s Statement of Inclusion. In response to your input, the Consistory approved this edited formal Statement as follows:
Led by the love of Jesus Christ, we the people of OSRC in Schuylerville, faithfully declare that we are a Welcoming and Affirming congregation. We welcome into the full life of our congregation all persons whom God calls to us, and affirm their gifts to the glory of God.
This Statement will be used in print and internet venues that declare our mission to the world, and is intended to inform everyone that the love of God as shown in the life and work of Jesus the Christ as found in scripture, is practiced here! We joyfully join with our brothers and sisters in Christ across the denomination and ecumenically who unreservedly share in this witness to God’s goodness in diversity.
STATE OF THE CHURCH/CLEAN UP DAY!
MANY THANKS to those of you who showed up on Saturday, May 6th for Spring Cleaning! MUCH was accomplished! And of course, there is still much to be done. So—this Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m. till noon is another opportunity to show up and help sort, clean, and dream together of ways to continue to create an inviting, welcoming, functional building for current and future occupants. Understanding that we hold this church in trust, our goal is to honor past congregations, serve the present, and anticipate future needs in ways that demonstrate devotion to God’s purposes and Presence. We even have an old/new way to toll the historic Meneely Bell Foundry (Troy, NY, 1855) cast bronze bell in the steeple—thanks to teamwork by the Hayes/Sheely family—
AN IMPORTANT TRANSITION
It is with heartfelt thanks for her years of service, and extreme dismay colored with understanding, that the consistory has accepted church office administrator Duffy Whitehouse’s notice of retirement, effective this summer. We are working on a job description and salary specs, but trust that God will send the “right” person to us in due time. In brief, the position requires kindness, flexibility, patience, and confidentiality, as well as a good working knowledge of Word and comfort with social media posting. It is a part-time, week-day position, at present three mornings/week. In the midst of our trepidation at this transition, we all wish Duffy the very best as she moves to enjoy greater freedom at this sta