“Regathering Sunday and Beyond…”
Pastor Bill Albright
At Park Avenue Church, the end of summer coincides with a new program year, when members and friends settle back into their regular routines. And PACC welcomes your return to the habit of church-going that will be anything but routine this year.
Let’s begin with Regathering Sunday on September 7th. This grand welcome back time invites us to celebrate who we are and to prepare for some new things that await us in the coming year. It’s similar to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish 8-day new-year festival (“the head of the year”), ending with Yom Kippur (“day of atonement” with God and neighbor). The shofar, or ram’s horn, is sounded at the beginning and ending of this holy season as if to say, “Wake up, for today God is making things new and making new things.”
In a Scripture shared by both Jews and Christians, God speaks through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” [Isaiah 43:19]. That is our God’s extravagant welcome to God’s people to begin again—no matter what mistakes, misfortune, sorrows, or disappointments we’ve experienced in the past year. As one UCC slogan says, “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” It’s an invitation for us to turn again to God and to renew our bonds with our families, friends, neighbors … and to our church.
As we move ahead into this new season, look for activities that reflect four themes for the 2014-2015 church year.
- UCC-ID (United Church of Christ Identity) including the UCC One Read project, in which we discuss the book that churches throughout the UCC are reading, and possibly establish a “little free library” outside of PACC. Also, on October 4th, a Congregational walking tour beginning at the Congregational Library in Boston.
- Introduction to our new Environmental Stewardship program starting with a book to lay the groundwork for the coming year.
- A Healing and Wellness series of events, inspired by the booklet Before You Die and moving toward a Lenten study called “Healing and Wholeness.”
- “Faith Alive,” an occasional opportunity to discuss current events in light of our faith. And much more!
So we welcome you back to PACC’s Regathering Sunday, September 7th, when we will sound the shofar and let the new year begin!
“God’s peace to all.” [See John 14:27].