Greetings to my Bethany Family:
I have served you for one full year. I have visited 65% of you, sitting around your kitchen table, in your living room or at your favorite coffee shop we’ve shared Halifax stories, talked family, discussed joys and challenges, and talked in depth about our common community, Bethany. As one of those I visited yesterday said to me at the door, “now that we know each other a little better our interactions are bound to be more authentic.” Indeed they are.
As we get to know each other we are learning how we live out community. I have witnessed your amazing funeral reception ministry, the dynamic youth ministry, the vibrant senior’s ministry, the play, the spooky movie night, the potluck parties, the muffin club (one part Bible study, one part pastoral care ministry), the concerts and our recently revived Men’s Group (73 paid up members!). Community at Bethany is social, folks here enjoy one another’s company, and it includes seniors, youth and everyone in between. You are learning that my style is informal, it’s familiar and it is mission oriented. I feel ministry needs to be personal, relational but also directed to a Gospel goal, which for me is mission. Our new Revelations committee has many ideas on how to make Bethany as relevant and meaningful to our surrounding community as it is to those of us inside the four walls of the church.
2017 will be the year we make big decisions about our current physical plant. What will our building look like in the years to come, how will it function, how will we pay for it, how will we use it to complete our mission? I recommend we hear the words of Tim Keller who wrote, “If your church were to disappear off the face of the earth tomorrow, would anyone in the community around you notice it was gone? And if the community did even notice would they say 'we are really going to miss them'?”
I am grateful for your welcome to me and your support for this community of faith. 2016 was a good year. Our Sunday offering giving increased 34%, our attendance jumped from an average about 100 to approximately 175. All the while many, many funerals were held for dear friends of Bethany. So as you look around the church on Sunday you can’t help but mourn the loss of familiar and beloved faces. But you will also see many, many new faces. Please welcome them as you welcomed me.
I am delighted at the increases in giving and attendance. What I am praying for this year is an increase in attention to our surrounding community and to the new people who join us every week. Ann Bradley, led in part by the work of the Revelations committee, recently started a Walk and Talk Wednesday morning drop in for seniors in the church and the community. 15 people showed up! We are moving in mission.
Kevin Little, Lead Minister