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October 2020

by David Joynt on October 01, 2020

October 2020

Dear Friends,

For two months, we have been studying biblical prophets. These courageous figures were not so much soothsayers as truth-sayers, less foretellers than forth-tellers. They were not primarily predictors or prognosticators, but instead discerners. They listened intently to God, and looked at their own circumstances with a steady realism, in order to discover how Yahweh was to work in their world, amid its confusions, troubles, and pressures. Their words changed history, helped to define our faith, inspired social movements, and marked the path of divine justice on the broken terrain of human society.

Over the next two months, we shall take up the prophetic mantle! For the prophets are an example for us to follow as we lead VPC into the third decade of the 21st century. In October and November, we will look at the future of this congregation, endeavoring to listen to God while keeping a steady eye on the changing circumstances of our day. The sermon series is called VPC 2.0, and the title reflects a dual truth. We owe everything to the men and women who have worked and served before us, but we have unique challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

No previous generation in our church faced the collapse of the mainline Protestantism, or a rising tide of aggressive secularism, as we do. Bitter political divisions, cultural revolt and protest, and fierce debates about the past and future of our nation, intensify the claims we make to offer a gospel of life and health and peace. The shape of ministry in the wake of the pandemic is also uncertain.

At the same time, there are great opportunities for teaching, equipping, and outreach through new technologies. There is much to be learned from other communities of faith that are thriving in our city and region. Our new facilities provide a platform for new ventures in faith and the arts, and new strategies for building community and initiating conversations. 

I have asked an ad hoc committee, led by Jon Kyl, current Session  member, to examine these issues and provide analysis and recommendations to Session. Members include Mary Artigue, previous Elder and member of the Planning and Organization Committee; Karen Meyer,, current Session Clerk; Jim Unruh, previous Elder; and Tiffany Pondelik, lifelong VPC member.

But this conversation includes our entire faith community. Where do you see the opportunities and challenges, the problems and possibilities? I am more excited about ministry right now than at any other time in my life. Part of that excitement is rooted in the creativity and faithfulness of my colleagues on our staff. Part of it is generated by my trust in the quality and insight of our lay leaders. But a great deal of excitement is born from seeing God at work in the lives of this congregation and from my strong conviction that his spirit will lead us "from below" as all of us pray and listen together. Share your perspective with our staff team, our session, or with our new committee this fall. 

As we study key moments in salvation history, let us trust that God is creating one right now, right here, among us. 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor David Joynt

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