The summer is not yet over—it is still the middle of August as I write this—but it won’t be long before the start of the program year is upon us. Yet, from this vantage point it sure has been a busy summer. Salem has sent two groups of people—a group of youth and an intergenerational group—on mission trips to Minneapolis and Back Bay Mission, respectively. Both trips (aside from some travel difficulties for the second group on the return trip) were successful by any way of measurement. The work of the Five Practices group continued on through the summer and it has had an impact on the continuing work of the Church and Ministry Committee, the Mission and Stewardship Committee, and the Worship Committee, to name just a few. We had a very successful Membership Gathering in July and one is being planned for early November. Our regular summer events—such as the Church Picnic, VBS, and the hosting of the band concert concessions—also went well.
On a personal note, my sabbatical time in June was productive, as well. I put down the foundation work for the Jonah musical and I have hopes that October’s sabbatical time will help me bring that project to completion.
Summer was not a time to mark time; it was a time to move forward. All of this activity has been part of an effort to move the church’s resources toward mission—the sharing of the Good News with the world around us—and away from maintenance. Some maintenance in the church’s ministry is necessary, but our maintenance work should not prevent us from being a people dedicated to mission, and that is what I believe Jesus calls the church to do.
It is my hope that we will come to the start of a new program year ready to face new challenges.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Jim Hoppert
P.S. In response to some of the questions that I’ve had about a Monday morning book study, we will resume this in November. I had thought about starting in September, but that would only give us three weeks before I’d have to take a month-long break for my sabbatical time.