When does the year begin? That answer to that question is usually January 1. Because I am a minister who uses the lectionary, you may expect me to say the year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, which this year will be November 27. In Shakespeare’s day, most people thought the New Year began shortly after the vernal equinox—about March 25. By then it was noticeable that the days had begun to be longer than the nights, and it fits with the way we all feel renewed with the coming of Spring.
I am still conditioned by my childhood experience of going back to school, usually on day after Labor Day. For me, and many others, the new year at church begins at the same time as the new year as school. I suppose that means, here and now in Nebraska, the New Year begins in late August, as the kids start pouring back into the classrooms. To me this is the “program year” of the church—if something is scheduled in March or April, it is late in the program year.
Hopefully we are all refreshed by a summer filled with vacations, reunions, travels, family time, gardening, barbequing, and swinging in the hammock. It is time to begin a new program year revitalized and refocused.
Some of the things to watch and listen for as the church’s program year of 2016-2017 begins:
If you have fallen out of the habit of coming to church on Sundays, September is a great time to get back into the groove.
Our three Ministry Emphases Teams (Nurture the Young and their Families, and Ministries of Compassion and Outreach to Inactives,) will be sharing the fruits of their labors with the congregation.
Choirs: The Chancel Choir and the Gloria Dei Bell Choir begin their Wednesday night rehearsals. The Chancel Choir sings every Sunday and we hear the Bell Choir on First Sunday.
Sunday School for all ages resumes on September 11.
The Martha Circle begins its monthly Bible Studies from Horizons. The theme this year is “Who Is Jesus?: What a Difference a Lens Makes”
The Confirmation Journey begins with a parent’s orientation on Sunday, September 11, at 9:30 in the Church Library. The Confirmation Explorers, seventh grade and older, will have their first joint meeting on Wednesday, August 14. Each explorer will be given their own itinerary as they explore the world of Christian faith and the life of disciples prior to make a decision as to whether they will become full members of the church.
There will be plenty to interest and involve every member of the congregation, and those who want to join us in bearing witness to the love of Jesus Christ in Kearney and the world.
So happy new (program) year. The great things about God’s grace is that it lets us make a new beginning any time. It is always true, as we sometimes say as words of pardon in our Sunday services:
“To all and to each, where regret is real,
God pronounces pardon, and grants us the right to begin again.
See you in church!