120 S. State Street, Big Rapids, MI 49307   —   Phone: (231) 796-7124   —   Email: Secretary@unitedchurchbr.org   —   Office is open from 9 am to 2 pm

The United Church of Big Rapids

   When I was growing up, Labor Day heralded the start of a new school year.  With the new school year came the ubiquitous “What did you do this summer?” essay to help get you in the groove of school work.  Some years I got to talk about spending my summer vacation in California with my mom: playing in the ocean, catching some Giants games with my grandparents, and spending a week at church camp.

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   Some years I got to talk about visiting Nebraska to see my dad: taking a road trip to some far-flung city to catch a museum or two, an excursion to an amusement park where I rode the bumper cars while my dad and sister found the closest roller coaster, and an outing to the local baseball stadium to cheer for whoever was playing that evening.  As I look back, I guess it didn’t seem like much then, just what we always did, but now I recognize the privilege I had to take those summer vacations with my family, and I cherish many of those memories.

   So what did you do this summer?  Our family took a trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin to see some of Kelse’s family.  We went to a few different beaches so the kids could show off the news skills they gained through swimming lessons.  We cut down a tree in our yard, had some gutters put up, and harvested some tomatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables from our garden.

   This summer at the church, we went to Mars and Beyond with Vacation Bible School at Northend Park and in our worship services in July.  We went back to Northend Park for our summer outdoor worship.  I went to Milwaukee in June for the UCC’s General Synod, and I went to Cleveland for orientation in the Next Generation Leadership Initiative, my continuing education program for the next six years.  And our reVision proposal teams met often, dreaming and devising the church of the future.

   Reliving the summer was often a fun exercise for me, but inevitably, the thoughts of summer turned to the school year at hand, and we went on into whatever future the new school year held.  As this summer gives way to fall, I’m thankful for the summer we had for our family and for the church, but I am just as excited for what’s to come.  I’ve been visiting with our reVision proposal teams, and they have each been cooking up something good.  On September 29th, we’ll all have the opportunity to listen in as they share the experiences they’ve been having.  Then, as a congregation, we’ll decide together what we start with next.  What we choose will shape the coming days, weeks, months, and even years.

   Everyone in our church community has a voice in the process and the implementation.  Even if individually you won’t be active with a specific project going forward, we all have a role, we all have a stake, in building each of these successful programs.  It could be volunteering to be a part of an implementation team, or serving on a specific part of the project that sounds interesting and exciting to you, or it could be as simple as support through encouragement, prayer, and financial giving.  You have a critical part in creating the church of the future.

   What did you do this summer?  I hope it was full of life-giving experiences.  But the new school year is upon us now.  Quorra starts preschool this year, and Jay starts first grade.  The future is wide open for them, just as it is for the United Church.  Come join us September 29th and be a part of shaping that future together.