Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Summer of Ministry in Review

Greetings All!
As we're nearing the end of the summer, thought I'd send a quick update to all of you wonderful supporters of New Day! It has been an interesting few months for New Day and many positive things have happened.

June brought Spud Fest and New Day's successful involvement in the parade and food tent work. Last year we threw out crowd pleasing beach balls at the parade, this year it was bubbles - equally crowd pleasing and a lot easier to handle! Along with those two events, we were involved in 2 others. Some of our New Day community put together a "Tator Tot Festival" on the Spud Fest grounds, which was an area devoted to Preschoolers with age appropriate activities (Inflated Jumpy thing, bean bag toss, face painting, etc.) Although like everything else new, it was not well attended this year, it was very well received by the Spud Fest Board and shows promise for growth as the word gets out! Secondly, Jim worked hard at gathering 3 other pastors from the Big Lake community (Lutheran, Catholic & Assemblies of God) to share in creating worship under the Big Tent on Sunday morning. About 250 people came and Jim helped lead a liturgical movement piece that was incredibly inspiring in that large space! I helped coordinate awesome hospitality (many of you heard about the 5 gallons of lemonade spilled in the back of my Prius - good grief!!!) and there were many positive comments about this event as well.

New Day celebrated 3 baptisms this summer, 2 youth who were immersed in the lake, and one baby - all from active families at New Day.

Jim officiated at a wedding in July - a young couple from the community who do not have a church home and were married at the local reception hall. Much good feedback from family and friends there, although we have not seen the couple at church yet...

Kids and Youth programming continued all summer every Thursday evening. Also, about 15 different elementary aged kids attended 2 day camps and 1 overnight camp throughout the summer - a first time experience for all these kids. And about 6 youth spent a day together in August: starting with a service project downtown Mpls. (sorting clothing for a homeless shelter) and ending with fun (time at Como Zoo).

45 folks associated with New Day attended the United Methodist day at the Twins Game on August 19th and had a great time even though it was a terrible game! Many of us ventured to Target Field on the train! Fun!

Then in August, we celebrated our first year of full-time ministry and raised some much needed funds for year two with our "Gala of Stars" - a Hollywood themed banquet complete with excellent food, entertainment, a fire-eating demonstration, and decadent desserts. Thank you to many of you for attending, working and supporting! About 60 family, friends, and United Methodists from around the Twins Cities area attended, while about 20 of our New Day community came to serve, sing, coordinate the auction, etc. It was a lively and enjoyable evening and will generate $9000-$10,000 in ministry support for New Day!!

Worship attendance averages during the summer dropped to 60, but commitment levels from many families increased. Their hard work on many of these extra projects was uplifting and hopeful to us. And their increased ownership and devotion to New Day is being expressed in many ways.

All of this is very positive and hopeful, however, we are facing some big issues as well. This fall will be a critical time to evaluate sustainability of this new church. Although momentum is positive, continued significant increases in numbers of committed families and financial support will be needed in order for New Day to survive the long haul. Changes will be made in staffing and worship this fall and we hope to begin a "Discipleship Process" that will guide adults to a deeper level of faith and teach the principles of sacred inviting and giving. These next few months promise to be even busier and harder, different work from last year for us and if you are so inclined to lift a prayer for God's guidance and provision, and for our physical, mental and emotional stamina, that would be most appreciated!

We are passionate and convicted that this work and new churches like this are vital to the health and well-being of young families in our world. Rob Bell has some great educational videos which we have been sharing this summer, and in a recent one he was talking about 'Rain' (hard times/storms in our lives.) One of his quotes is, "It always rains, doesn't it? WHEN the rains come. It's not like they might. They DO. It rains in our lives... a lot." Our burning question has been, what do the unchurched young families in our midst do when the rains come? Where do they turn? How does anyone face the rains without faith and the company of the faithful to offer support? We truly believe that Christ offers abundant life in each day, (peace, hope, joy & love that can overcome the struggles of daily life) and that the "church" can provide the best means to deepen that faith. The challenge continues to be convincing these young people that church can be this source of life for them.

Thanks again for being the incredible support you are to Jim and me and for your prayers for New Day. You are blessings beyond measure to us!

With love and hope for each new day,
Janet :->

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