My hopes and prayers for our church:
Well… no pressure at all! Just write one last article for First Connections which summarizes everything you have experienced in the last forty-one years. Of course, that’s impossible! Know that I have enough wonderful memories, experiences, and feelings to last the remainder of my life. As I say in an anthem to be sung on September 14th in the Finale Concert, “My life has been blessed by yours.” I hope that one simple sentence can summarize how I feel about you individually, and Auburn First Baptist Church, collectively.
As wonderful as these years have been for me, I believe the best years for our church lay ahead. My prayers and hopes for Auburn First Baptist are that:
Worship will remain a priority in our fellowship. Worship is service to God and from that experience, the church moves out in ministry to others.
May our church continue to offer it’s best in worship, knowing that God is never “impressed” with what we offer, but is pleased when we offer our best. I pray that worship will always contain elements that stir our hearts and challenge our intellects, knowing both are gifts from God.
We renew our commitment to our Mission Statement which calls each us to be “mission minded” in the totality of that idea. Let us continue to appreciate and honor our wonderful past while always looking excitedly to our future.
We will continue to sing the great hymns of our faith, recognizing their timeless-ness. (A personal story: I will never forget the Sunday following 9-11. We had sung Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Following the service, a member of our congregation came to me and said, with tears streaming down his cheek, “I never realized how appropriate that hymn was to current times!” There is a reason some hymns endure while others do not.)
We will explore our new hymnal for the wealth of hymnody it contains. I regret that I did not do more exploring with you! Always remember our favorite hymns were, at one time, new to us!
We will continue by actions and prayer to support our pastor, Tripp Martin, and other staff members as they minister to us while following Christ’s leadership. And will pray for our Search Committees as they seek to find the persons to serve on our ministerial staff.
We will continue to serve and grow as a faith family, ministering to those within our membership and those outside our membership. St. Teresa of Avila said it well, “Christ has no hands, no eyes, no mouth to minister except ours. We are Christ’s body on earth today.”
We will always thank God for the wonderful gift of music and will honor God with our voices and instruments.
Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And make God give us faith to sing always, Alleluia! —Fred Pratt Green
Thanks for the worship experiences, for the memories, and for being you! My life has been blessed by yours.