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Reverend Ruth Lovell Bradham

Dear friends,

Several of you have asked me two similar questions recently that I love hearing. While I've answered them when asked, of course, I wonder if others aren't wondering about some of the same things? The questions are "How do I get more involved in Cordova's ministry?" and/or "How do I join the church?"

"How do I join the church?"
Let's start with the latter. If you are not a member and would like to become one, please see me or any member of our Session. We would be thrilled to talk with you more about your sense of call to become a part of our ministry and church family, answer any and all questions you have, pray with you and schedule a time for you to meet with the Session so that we can officially welcome you and add you to the church membership roll.

(By the way... "The Session" is just Presbyterian-speak for the group of active Ruling Elders, who were elected by the congregation to lead us. Our Session is comprised of nine Ruling Elders plus clergy who make decisions for our church and serve as our congregation's spiritual leaders. As the Pastor, or Teaching Elder, I serve as the Session's Moderator. For a list of Session members see the back of a worship bulletin or just ask me.)

So, if someone wants to join our congregation and he or she is currently on the role of another church we will arrange for a Letter of Transfer. Or one may also join by making a Profession of Faith and expressing their desire to be an active member of the Body of Jesus Christ, the church. If a new member has not been baptized then his or her baptism will take place in an upcoming worship service.

As you have probably already experienced yourself, Cordova Pres. is a loving church family that strives to be a house of God where everyone feels like they are at home. As our vision statement says we try to: "Proclaim real hope for real people in the real world." It's that simple. If you would like to join our church, we would love to welcome you whenever you feel like you are ready.

Now, back to "how do I get more involved?" which I would hope is on everyone's heart at least every now and then.
My first answer is to pray. Pray often. Come to worship regularly. Make the life of the church a true priority in your life and not an after-thought or "when it's convenient." Read and respond to the requests in our weekly Bits and Pieces church newsletter and on the back of worship bulletins. Talk about what God is doing in your own life... places where you see and feel God's Spirit moving or where you feel like prayers are being answered. Honestly share your prayer joys and concerns and questions and doubts... Make an effort to really get to know someone you don't already know well in our church family beyond just his or her name. Build wells for fresh water in Mexico or pray for those who do. Tithe. Host a Sunday after-worship Fellowship. Go for long walks outside. Explore our denomination's mission work on-line and after choosing one aspect to explore in depth teach our congregation all aobut it. Plant a garden. Pray some more.

There are countless ways to serve in the ministry of Cordova Presbyterian, the ministry of Jesus. If you were waiting for apersonal invitation to get more involved... this is it. Friends, Cordova Pres. is our church. It is OUR ministry as we seek together to be a reflection of the love of Jesus Christ to the world. The Session cannot do all of the work alone. I certainly cannot do all of the work. But, together? Together, as a family of faith with God's help, we can change the world.

There are truly limitless ways to serve others and to be nurtured spiritually through our church's ministry. Sing in the choir. Start a small Bible study group. Bake a casserole. Pray for the Spirit's guidance as we grow God's church. Pull some weeds. Take one of our church's children or teenagers out for frozen yogurt. Invite your friends, extended family, co-workers, golf buddies, bridge partners and neighbors to see and experience for themselves what God is going in the life of our church. Knit. Participate in Presbyterian Women. Call an elderly friend. Pray for others. Send a note of encouragement and cheer to a young mother or to one of our college-aged members or a single adult. Read the Bible. Teach just one Sunday School class this fall. Offer a listening ear. Chauffer someone to a doctor's appointment. Give big bear hugs. Pray for our church and her members-past, present and future. (By the way, isn't it exciting to have so many new babies in our church family and more on the way?!)

Perhaps there is an activity, Christian education need or ministry that you would like, but don't currently see? Then let's talk. Either come see me or share your idea or need with someone else on the Session.

Here's how easy starting a new ministry can be: Less than two months ago Kathy Green shared that she enjoyed the fellowship and service of a Prayer Shawl ministry in another church years ago and wondered if we would start this ministry here. Just a few short weeks of announcements to see if there was any interest led to a number of those who were intrigued by the idea. Consequently, our Prayer Shawl knitter's first gathering is July 20th. It's that simple.

Maybe it's a book club? Organizing an Older Adult's day trip? Maybe it's teaching children's choir or helping me start a youth group (hint, hint.)? Maybe it's organizing prayer partners? Raising money and/or helping to build a Habitat for Humanity Home? Teaching what you're passionate about to others from genealogy to cooking or the Old Testament to gardening? What would you be excited to learn more about? What are your spiritual gifts and how might they best be used to glorify God in this place? The possibilities for our ministry are as vast as God's imagination.

What is your deepest joy? What brings you deep gladness? In his book Wishful Thinking, renowned theologian Fredrick Buechner says: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Amen.

As we grow and begin to think and pray about what God is calling us to do and be in the heart of Cordova, while I don't yet know what lies ahead any more than you do, I know without a dout that God has something amazing planned for our future! And in the meantime, I pray we will all keep asking one another questions that will help us grow in our faith every day.

Just as Paul encouraged the early church: "Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you." ~Phillippians 4:9

I look forward to seeing you all at church for worship on Sunday, if not before. Have a great weekend! Know that you're in my prayers daily. Won't you keep our Session, Bo and me in your prayers too? It is such a privilege to be on this faith journey with each of you. God bless!



Real Hope
Real People
in a
Real World

This Week's Calendar

Sunday– February 18
10:30 a.m. Worship
11:30 a.m. Annual Congregational Meeting
11:45 a.m. Fellowship
Noon Choir Rehearsal
12:00 p.m. Session

Monday– February 19
Presidents’ Day
1:00 p.m. Prayer Shawl

Tuesday– February 20
6:00 p.m. W.O.W. Group

Sunday– February 25
10:30 a.m. Worship
11:30 a.m. Fellowship
Noon Choir Rehearsal

Planning Ahead

Tuesday– February 27
12:30 p.m. Book Club

Friday– March 2
World Day of Prayer

Monday– March 5
1:00 p.m. Prayer Shawl

Tuesday– March 6
1:00 p.m. BUNCO

Wednesday– March 7
6:00 p.m. Wednesday Night Dinner

Sunday– March 11
Daylight Savings Time Begins

Tuesday– March 13
11:00 a.m. BINGO

Sunday– March 18
9:00 a.m. PW Bible Study

Sunday– March 25
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday Cantata

Sunday– April 1