My mother collected Hummels. Her first one was a little Christmas ornament that was given to her at a friend’s baby shower. From that, a whole collection grew. She had figurines, dolls, bells, plates, a nativity set – if it was a Hummel, there was a good chance it was in her collection. When she moved to Maine, the Hummels came too.
My mom thought her collection was valuable, and I suppose it was. In terms of dollars, I’m not sure we could break if we tried to sell them. Their value, really, was that these little painted figurines brought her joy. She loved hunting for the elusive “one I don’t have”, she loved displaying them, and she loved talking about the ones that had special meaning for her: ones my dad gave her on a birthday or anniversary, a “find” that turned up unexpectedly, the three-foot-tall Apple Boy that I took her to see in Windsor, Ontario, when I was student teaching in Detroit. About the only thing she didn’t love was dusting them!
Some of my mom’s Hummels are on display in my house. When I look at them, I see her. For me, that’s their greatest value.
My mom’s enthusiasm for her Hummels did not rub off on me. I do have a lot of books and I like timepieces, so there are some of those around, but I really don’t think of myself as a collector.
Collectors are intentional. Yes, they sometimes get lucky, but building a collection takes focus and often, it takes time. The same is true for building a congregation. After all, we are a collection of unique individuals, gathered by the One into the Church Universal. Christians are a 2000-year-old collection of disciples and scholars and skeptics and servants. Sometimes we get a little dusty but the Spirit breezes in and brings out the beauty that is the Church.
We’re also members of a particular congregation and every congregation I’ve served has indicated that it wanted to grow. If we want PACC to grow, it can and it will. The operative word is “if”. Yes, we might get lucky, but typically, that’s not how a congregation grows. It grows because it plans to grow and then it implements those plans. Growth takes time, and the good news is that time can start right now.
Regathering Sunday, September 11, would be a great day to gather a wonderful collection of longtime members and newcomers. Invite your friends, co-workers, neighbors, people you chat with at the gym, even your online contacts to join you on a Sunday morning at PACC. Tell them, “There’s a place in the pew for you”. Come, and become part of God’s collection.
The Reverend Jill H. Small