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Together for Joy: Grow

Today begins the first of three topics we will explore the next few Sundays as part of our annual Stewardship campaign that is centered this year around the phrase “Together For Joy.” Our October newsletter reminds us that Psalm 98 says “Shout for Joy, all the Earth!” As a congregation it is worthwhile to pause to consider how we express such Joy as we Worship, Grow, and Serve.

Having grown up on a farm, when I hear the word “growth” I think of images of cultivation that allow Life to be sustained and to flourish. This the season of harvest, as I was reminded when I was back home this weekend, when we reflect on God’s gifts with our own gratitude-giving.

Growth as the Body of Christ on Earth is about more than numbers. Growth is first personal and individual – deepening roots, extending vines outward, raising our vision higher. As children of God whatever our physical age, we continue maturing and learning in Love and Joy. Tending to our own individual growth in God is how our Church grows.

Growth as a part of the body of Christ is more than just increasing numbers.

Several years ago, Jonathan and I joined the Shades Valley congregation because we saw people we want to be like as we continue maturing physically and spiritually; and as Shades Valley and Southminster merged we gained even more Wisdom Teachers of all ages for whom we give thanks.

None of us were made for isolation. As we grow in our connection with one another, being good stewards of the garden we have been given, we ask each other to share our gifts as well as our needs. Growth together involves a strong sense of belonging and a positive outlook about the future of the Church. It reminds us that our Life matters and has meaning, both inside and outside of these walls. We grow through our worship together; through Sunday School classes for all ages; through Circles, Bible studies, and prayer groups; through camp-fire gatherings on Sunday nights and fellowship suppers on Wednesday evenings; through phone calls, emails, texts, and in-person contacts - as we get to know one another as a Church Family and grow forward together and grow closer in God. We grow when we welcome and extend hospitality to all in emulation of our Lord. We grow when we serve needs in our larger community and world.

When we cultivate these activities that nurture relationships, we contribute to the

growth and vitality of the whole Church and the Church’s wholeness.

As I look around this morning and think of those joining us virtually, I hope you think of yourself as a gift. God has made you and equipped you to share who you are as a blessing to others. Please join in this Season in Thanksgiving and Joy Together by prayerfully contemplating your own growth and gifts as you continue to do God’s work in all aspects of your life. Together we share joyfully in the ministry and mission of Christ’s Church through Southminster Presbyterian.

-Carol Ann Vaughn Cross


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