Pastoral Ponderings – July 2022

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. ~ Deuteronomy 7:9

In our Wednesday morning Bible Study, we are studying the Book of Revelation. I love this book for the blessings it offers (yes, BLESSINGS), as well as the imagery.

We have just finished John of Patmos’ letters to the seven churches, and at the end of each letter, the study guide asks us what our take away is. Upon reflection, I realize it’s all about standing firm in our faith—no matter what we face, and that we are to live in covenantal or right relationship with one another.

Covenant is hard. It is the steadfast promise that God makes with Abraham and Sarah that they will be the parents of nations; the rainbow set in the sky to remind God and us that God will never again purposefully flood the earth to wipe out humanity. It is the promise through the risen Christ that our sins have been wiped clean.

But covenant requires humanity to actively take part and hold up our end. Abraham and Sarah needed to trust God; humanity must love God and one another.

The UCC is a covenantal denomination. When we join a local congregation, we make promises to be engaged and help support that congregation through our time, talent, and treasures. We promise to serve God and one another.

As a local congregation, we covenant with the wider church to be in relationship with them, to serve together, pool our resources, and grow the Body of Christ.

For Faith UCC, this includes three things:

  1. That we actually participate in the Eastern Iowa Association, which is made up of 31 other congregations. We do this by serving on committees (I am the current treasurer) and pray for one another.
  2. We belong to the Iowa Conference, where we widen our service and support, and in our case, that grows into the Tri-Conference, which is made up of the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Conferences.
  3. Finally, we support the national setting—for most of us, that is financially and through prayer, but maybe one day it will be serving on a committee.

Currently, Faith UCC is working to strengthen our relationships with the Eastern Iowa Association and Iowa Conference. We will be hosting not one, but two events which offer an opportunity for you to serve these wider entities.

On July 12, we will host a Conference wide Clergy Day Apart from 10-4.
On September 25, we will host the Eastern Iowa Association Fall Annual Meeting from 2:00-5:30, which includes serving a meal. (You are all invited to attend this! It will help you understand our role in the Association!)

We also have the upcoming JAM (Joint Annual Meeting) October 9-11 for the Tri-Conference which will be held in Sioux City.

Please watch for further details on how we can practice our part of being in a covenantal relationship for all of these events! ~ Always Peace,   Pastor Heidi