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Pastor's Piece: June 2013
We are very fortunate to have such a talented group of leaders on our congregation council here at Prince of Peace! On the last Saturday in April this group gathered in the parlor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pearl River, NY to worship, pray and brainstorm about current challenges and opportunities for mission and ministry at Prince of Peace. Our gathering was led by an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Dr. James Warnke, who sought to model a balance between prayer, worship, work and fellowship. Additionally, the hospitality of the people of Good Shepherd helped to emphasize the extended resources that are available to assist us in our specific mission of the Gospel here in Old Tappan.
While existing leadership in this congregation has been exceptional, it is imperative for the overall health of the congregation that new leaders be identified and equipped to continue the mission and ensure that Prince of Peace has the flexibility and faithfulness to sustain ministry during these rapidly changing times. With this in mind it is not surprising that identifying and equipping new leaders at Prince of Peace was the top priority of the group that gathered that Saturday in Pearl River, NY. The current leadership core in our faith community needs expansion. Expansion is precisely what emerged when Jesus sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to His original followers. As was the case in the early church, the opportunities of ministry need as many dedicated disciples as possible for the joy and good news of Jesus to have its greatest impact.
A second priority identified for mission is the exploration of new worship forms. The Lutheran witness in Our Lord’s Church brings a worship tradition that is simultaneously catholic and evangelical. A creative spirit in our worship assemblies that is simultaneously faithful yet changing will be as important as ever to find the words, gestures and means that will be praise God and provide a way for the people of God to be spiritually sustained for doing the work of ministry in daily life. It is my hope that we can strike a healthy balance between those who appreciate a more traditional approach to worship, and those who hunger for a more progressive format. I believe that we have the resources in the Prince of Peace congregation to make this a reality.
Whatever specific plans are implemented for our work in leadership development and worship, the language of prayer will remain an essential tool for accomplishing God’s good goals for this congregation. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the specific words to use in prayer. Remarks like “short prayer pierces heaven” and “the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” have provided guidance for me in my own prayer experience. I also offer the following form for your consideration that is based on an ancient prayer pattern:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on _________________
You are free to finish the petition in whatever way choose, but I invite you to especially place Prince of Peace in that space on a regular basis. Please do pray! I also thank you for all the prayer efforts you have offered in the past, and all the prayer energies you will raise to support the current and future mission of the church. I continue to firmly believe that prayer is a central activity of faith that makes more of a difference for good than we can ever fully know!
- Pastor John Holliday
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