Monday, September 03, 2012

Musings -- September, 2012 Newsletter

In my short time at Hilltop, I have tried to honor what has been “normative” at Hilltop.  This has been a consistent ethos in multiple areas.  As it relates to worship, I have been sometimes amused where my questions of “what is normal” for a particular element of worship are answered with “we don’t have a ‘normal’ on that.” For a new guy this is actually good! 

I pray that as it relates to worship and worship design we can be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Roberta and I work hard to create a truly worshipful aura or atmosphere for our worship time.  An example is we want there to be a clear beginning and end to worship and what happens in between that start and end is a combination of praise, prayer and proclamation.  That said, we are hopeful changes are subtle and enhance worship to the point they are not noticed.  We come back to the objective of creating an aura, an atmosphere, a mood.  It is our clear prayer that those who come to worship will depart spiritually fed by the harvest of music, word, prayer and sharing that goes on during our time together.  The entire worship experience contributes to a feeling of being spiritually sustained.
The church year is important to us.  For the foreseeable future, we will follow a flow of scripture provided by the church year along with special days designed to awaken in us memories from our past in community and how those memories and ideas shape us in the present and provide us an anticipation of the future.  The rhythms and themes of the year has historically given us a rich symphony that challenges us to live out our lives as Christians.  You will see us occasionally make a particular religious day important on a Sunday.  We will also endeavor to encounter some of our secular holidays and frame them looking for a less secular meaning.

French, Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote:  “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  We pray that as you enter into the space that is our sanctuary you have a spiritual encounter with the sacred.

By Pastor Dennis but written on behalf of all who contribute to worship leadership at Hilltop.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Fall Kick-Off at Hilltop

September is the month when football “kicks-off.” Television stations advertising is focusing on upcoming professional and collegiate games. Last Sunday Marilyn and I saw a local high school team practicing. The season has started.
September is “Kick-Off Month” for Hilltop as well.

September 9th is “Kick-Off Sunday.” For example, all the music ministry groups will return in September to enchant us with their musicality. Our United Methodist Women have their kick-off luncheon. Youth resumes. Christian education starts with a number of different offerings. Additionally we have baptisms and commissioning. The summer season is now over and we are back and there is a lot going on. 

I invite you to use September as a time to look at the various small groups or educational opportunities offered and engage. The Jesus of the Gospels stopped by fishing villages, tax collection booths and other remote locations in Galilee and invited humble, everyday people like you and me to join him in what ended up being a life, and world-altering encounter. Jesus’ personal kick-off with those invited encouraged them to “come and see.” He invited them into a fuller relationship with their God. 

My invitation is for you to come and see what is going on at Hilltop. And I invite you to find a Hilltop activity that will help deepen your relationship with your God and your Creator. 
  • If you have not been at worship for a while, let me invite you make attendance a weekly expectation for yourself. 
  • If you have been at worship but not taking part in religious education, let me invite you to so order your life to make your level of discipleship deeper and your theology more clear. 
  • If you have been in one group focused on religious education, and are not growing, let me invite you to change groups and see if the change will reinvigorate your growth. 
  • If you have a musical talent that is untapped, let me invite you to offer your talents in one of the Hilltop musical groups. 
  • If you have a desire to change the life of a child on a weekly or monthly basis, let me invite you to help children grow spiritually. 
This is the time when the sport of football “kicks-off” the season. Let this be for us at Hilltop the season where we kick-off a new, revitalized relationship with Hilltop, the people that make it the quality church it is, and God. 

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Dennis