Dear FCC Friends,

Our next congregational meeting is Sunday, February 4 after our 10 a.m. worship. I hope you will be there as a sign of support for and as a participating member in the life of this church. There are so many hopeful signs as we look at funding the ministry of this church. After projecting a significant use of reserves to cover an anticipated operating deficit in 2023, that operating deficit evaporated. We actually finished 2023 with a surplus. In part this was due to not doing certain ministries and to certain events that won’t be repeated, yet, this also represents significant progress and revitalizing of the strength of our congregation. While we have not yet reached a sustainable, balanced annual operating budget, we are getting closer, much closer. I want to thank all of you for that.

We are coming together. The energy and numbers in our worship are growing. The learning and growing in small groups has returned. There are more volunteers to help in caring for our members. This church is experiencing a comeback, and it is to be celebrated and continued. The world needs a progressive Christianity that is vital in the Spirit and acting in the world.

Speaking of worship, I want to give you a preview.

As we complete the season of Epiphany on Transfiguration Sunday, February 11, we transition from the birth of the Christ Light at Christmas and the recognition and celebration of that Light in the season of Epiphany to the season of Lent, beginning on February 14 with Ash Wednesday. In the gospel of Luke in Chapter 9, it is said that Jesus set his face on the challenge of Jerusalem. We, too, are called to move from a recognition and celebration of the Light toward the places where it would take us, often challenging places where the status quo powers within and without reside. So our theme for Lent in worship is Courageous Journeys. We will need it on the journeys that life always has and that life will have this year.

Speaking of that, I want to thank everybody for their prayers for me and my wife and our family. After consultations, my wife is feeling relieved and hopeful in her journey with Melanoma.

Pastor JT