Oh, Night That Guided Me
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30: 5(b)
I have read in several places where this long year of pandemic as a “dark night of the soul.” This phrase, “The Dark Night of the Soul,” refers to a poem of the same name written by 16th century Christian mystic, St. John of the Cross. Generally, speaking such a “dark night” is a time of spiritual crisis that brings us to the end of our own resources. It may be a time of deep sorrow, of grieving, feeling isolated and alone, a time where we perhaps cry out, “How long, O Lord!!” Does this sound familiar? I think so. No wonder some have said that we have been living through such a dark night for the past year.
Those I have read and listened to on this topic say that such an experience leads us to the place where we become more receptive to God’s presence and God’s voice. These times lead us to places of new understanding, fresh vision, and rebirth. The signs of Spring are around us now, and there is more daylight each day. We are beginning to see the signs of rebirth all around us. There is far less red on the covid-19 maps we have been tracking. The vaccines are being distributed, and the positivity rates are going down. I am happy to say that we are making plans to worship in the sanctuary on Easter morning. Last year, I said that I was hoping against hope that we would be in the sanctuary for Easter morning. We didn’t make it last Easter, but I believe we will this year! What a glorious day of celebration and worship that will be! I will be working with the Governing Board to ensure that we meet with all the necessary protocols to ensure that we can worship together safely.
In this time of fresh vision and rebirth, other things are happening as well. I hope you read these newsletters! We have moved from a quarterly newsletter to a monthly newsletter to improve communication. The past several newsletters have included updates from the meetings with Riverside and High Street United Methodist Churches. Recently, I sent out a letter via email about the results of those meetings. That letter will be included in this newsletter. However, I want to answer a couple of questions that I have been asked.
The first question, “Is this a done deal? Has the decision been made?” The answer to this question is “no.” We are beginning a process where a team comprised of 3 members of Riverside, 3 members of College Avenue, and their respective pastors will meet with a church consultant specializing in church mergers. This consultant will be provided by and paid for by the Annual Conference. This team will work on the details of a merger proposal to be voted on at Church Conferences of College Avenue and Riverside individually. Only after both churches vote will a merger be a ‘done deal.’
The second question, “who will be representing College Avenue?” These persons were chosen by the Governing Board and have agreed to represent College Avenue, Becki Clock, Rachel Gentry, and Loretta Parsons.
Again, this is not bad or sad news! It is a time of new birth and renewed vision. As we have met over the past several months, both churches have expressed that this is not about survival but mission. Both Riverside and College Avenue have long legacies of missional ministry in this community. The desire is that we will do more together. Together we hope to go out to find those who need to hear the good news of Christ, build relationships and increase God’s influence upon Muncie. Please be in prayer for this team.
Grace and Peace,