A Letter to the Congregation

Dear Friends,

Romans 13: 8 (The Message) “For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.”

Life is full of both nice times and challenges. These past few years have been filled with unique challenges, both individually and collectively. Within the framework of these challenges, so many good things have taken place. Congregationally, many have explored and found creative and effective ways to continue to stay connected with one another.

Our presence on social media, throughout this time, has expanded considerably. We are all thankful to Audrey and Cam who have been making this happen. Through the radio broadcasts, our church website, Facebook, YouTube, people have been able to hear God’s Word. Our ministry, in Word, has continued and expanded, reaching outside our own community.

Pastoral visitation and connections have continued. Through innovative means, people within the church have found ways to support one another. Not enough can be stated to the importance of staying connected and committed together as a church family, especially while in long periods of isolation. This connection is possible by the intentional, ongoing dedication of each of us to find ways to bless and encourage.

Romans 15:1 – 1 (The Message) “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

During this time, when some organizations were content to find ways to just survive, our church committee is focused on how we as a congregation can bless and encourage each other and how we can allow God to increase our ministry. Each member of the expanded council is committed to providing spiritual leadership to our congregation. We are all appreciative of the prayers and encouragement as together we seek to follow God’s lead.

Youth ministry has been a challenge however, the Sunday teachers have been both a blessing and blessed as they continue to find ways to encourage and support our youth. Again, thank you for all you do for others. Please continue to pray for this ministry, asking God to guide us and enable us to show how much we value all the families of our church.

So many churches saw their Sunday services as the central component of their ministry. I never saw this in Bayview. One person stated, “if you want to learn how to play chess, you should start by removing your own queen (the most powerful piece) from the game.” Sunday services had been removed and or altered, for such a long time now. Again, thank you to all who have stepped up and ministered, in the name of Jesus. I believe we are getting & understanding, the value of being personally involved in ministry. I believe the best is yet to come as together we explore our full potential and discover just how important each person is and what God can do with us all.

I am grateful to see how, through the commitment of people within our congregation, our youth ministry and cell group ministry are developing.

I encourage you to give serious consideration and prayer regarding your particular, God-given role within this congregation? How is God calling you to contribute to the life and wellbeing of this faith community? As a member, how can you bless, encourage and participate in the life of this church family? As a friend of this church, how can you share in this church’s God-given ministry and what an encouragement you could be if you became a member, with other godly people, in this church?

Though there may be uncertainty about the year ahead, Jesus is in control and our role is to follow Him and make Him known. Colossians 1:7 – 8 “He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.”

I am excited for what lies before us and committed to providing spiritual support and guidance to the people of this congregation and the various components of ministry here.

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

May God bless you,

Richard Gilbert

Pastor, co-worker, fellow servant, brother in Jesus.