By Rev. Rebecca Migliore
Here it is September again! See inside for all the “start-up” news. This September marks the 30th year of my ordination (September 24th), which seems impossible. How could 30 years have gone by so quickly? I can’t be “that old.” What I do recognize is the blessings that have come my way during that time. Blessings that include: being able to root down and get to know a town for 25 years; the challenge of imagining “what comes next in West Orange” with colleagues and friends; the surprise of learning how to be ministered to (and the humbling recognition that we truly are not “in charge”); the wonder of having our 3 streams of United (Patterson Memorial, Ridgeview Community, and St. Cloud) joined by our friends from Elmwood West; and through it all, the honor of having you share your lives with me—from the heights to the valleys to the common place moments that together mark years of being community with one another. What can I say except “Thank You” to everyone. And here’s to what God has in store for us around the next bend.
One thing I love about this vocation is that I am constantly learning new things. For instance, in planning for our Oct. 6th joint World Communion Sunday service (and PeaceMaking/Global Witness Offering) I stumbled over this history. “Celebration of World Communion Sunday, as it was originally known, was adopted as a denominational practice in the Presbyterian Church in 1936 (Wow). Churches in other denominations were invited to celebrate with us… World Communion Sunday is a gift of the Presbyterian Church to the larger ecumenical church, and today it is being celebrated around the world by many denominations.” Who knew that we started this tradition?
A newer focus of PC(USA) is our Matthew 25 Vision (reread that parable of the “sheep and the goats” Matthew 25:31-46). The Mission Agency of PC(USA), energetically led by Rev. Dr. Diane Moffet, is encouraging every congregation to “sign on” to this vision—and its three emphases. 1) Increasing Congregational Vitality; 2) Working on Eliminating Systemic Poverty; and 3) Dismantling Structural Racism. It is good to know that we belong to a church that believes it is important, even imperative, to tackle significant problems. I want us to be faithful to our calling to minister to “the least of these.” May God help us figure out how and where and what we want to do as our first steps, as we “strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the suffering, honoring all people as we love and serve our Lord.”