Pastor’s Corner (Pastor Jenny Partch)
November is the last month of the church year. Advent, which begins the church year, begins the first Sunday of December. So, this is a natural time to look back over the year to see how much we accomplished and make the necessary plans for the growth we hope to see in the coming year. We’ve had administrative changes, programmatic changes and missional changes this year and some of us may feel like the plethora of hurricanes that hit our country also hit this church in a figurative sense. But the storm has passed, the sun has come out and the birds are singing!
Administratively, we had the most work to do in this first year of the reinvigoration of Highline’s ministry. In January, we changed our governing structure to a Single Board Model which streamlines the administrative work of the church by combining Trustees, SPR, and Finance into one rather than three separate committees who then have their chairpersons meet as the Administrative Board in an additional meeting. The nature of the work did not change, but the number of people it takes to staff those committees was reduced and all of the work is done around one table. The Board has worked hard to create a Vision for our church and to establish initial goals to beginning reaching towards that vision. In this last month of the year, we are working to present a Stewardship Campaign of both volunteer gifts and financial gifts that will steward/shepherd these goals through the next year.
Programmatically, there was a shift in our Sunday morning schedule to establish an education hour for both adults and children. The adult class has tackled a long-term Bible study curriculum called “Covenant” that explores the entire Bible from the perspective of our covenantal relationship with God in its entirety. The children’s class is following the scriptural themes used in worship each week, which leads them into a deeper experience of worship and enlivens our worship space with banners of various kinds!
Mission-wise, we have strengthened our relationship with Hazel Valley Elementary school through volunteering at school-wide events and expanding our back-to-school drive to uniforms this year with $1700 worth of uniforms (50 dresses, 100 pairs of pants, 85 shirts).
The “Living Well with Chronic Illness” class was sponsored to improve the health and quality of life for both our members and people from the community.
A monthly small group with members from the community was started in the parsonage, called “Courage Circle”. Several of our lay members have joined me in representing HUMC at meetings advocating for affordable housing through a community organizing initiative of the Church Council of Greater Seattle which included meetings with King County Council Members Larry Gossett and Dave Upthegrove. As we continue to support immigrant families from throughout this world in our church, we have provided meeting space to One America, a non-profit organization the helps immigrants get important information and help in navigating the system and paperwork and advocates for civil rights that impact our immigration system and those making their way through the system.
This is tremendous work for one year! I look forward to how we will work together as the Body of Christ, every member in ministry, to further God’s work in this community.
Blessings, Pastor Jenny