Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

March 1, 2023

March 1 , 2023

Dear Friends,

I wish that you could all see our church family from my vantage point. I know that there is a lot of bad news in the world, and that we are all human beings – imperfect and limited.  But I cannot tell you how often I see you “being Church” in amazing, quiet, and wonderful ways. 

By “being Church” I mean that I see you living together in generosity, grace, kindness, and respect.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t see disagreements, or that there are never hurt feelings among you.  But, more often than not I see you calling to check on each other, sending cards to each other, listening to each other even when you disagree, thanking each other for a job well done, and pitching in to help where you see a need.  Some folks think that “Church” means an institution that is invested in enforcing moral laws and agreeing on dogma.  Having the institution – a building and Session and budget – is not unimportant. Knowing that we are called to live holy lives and to be centered on faith in Christ is critical.  But being the Church in the world, to me, is a way of living, acting, speaking, and sharing.  The institution, the dogma, the budget, and the Session either support and encourage us in BEING CHURCH, or  they are barriers to BEING CHURCH.  

To be “church” is to be a community; a group of people committed to loving God, neighbor, and self. I am encouraged that at Forest Lake we may disagree on some theological points (or dogma), but we can still be warm Christian friends. To be Church is to care for each other, to be present for each other, to serve each other, and to love (as much as is humanly possible) each other.  I see that happening all over the place. 

If you do not feel and see this “church” in action, then I’d like to know about it.  We are not perfect.  I’m not saying that we are.  But, for those folks who show up and invest some of their time, I see real community in action.  If you are looking for that community, but are not feeling it, maybe try something new.  Call me or Jodi Beckham to find a new entry point. The one thing that is certain is that if you feel disconnected from God and from Church, then staying away will only deepen that disconnection. So, if you are feeling disconnected, please give coming to worship, to a faith formation class, or serving with others on a project a try. If what you did before the pandemic is no longer working, find a new entry point.

God is known in community. In fact, the doctrine of the Trinity means (among other things) that God is in relationship with God’s own self: Father, Son, Holy Spirit!  It is possible to know God in isolation from others.  God can do whatever God wants to do.  But my experience is that much more often, God is known in community.  Where is your community?  Do you find God there?  If not, let me tell you about a group of folks that I know . . . . .   I see Christ in your midst.  Do you?

See you in worship!

Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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