Such a Joy and Pleasure

Dear friends,

It was such a joy and pleasure to be at Hope Valley on Sunday for our combined worship service with Valle de Esperanza Iglesia Bautista. I sensed a warm spirit in the sanctuary and was blessed by the music shared by the praise team from Valle de Esperanza. What a treat it was to hear the Scriptures read in both languages and to share the Lord’s Supper together so that we all heard both English and Spanish spoken as we received the elements. I have heard so many positive comments about the service. I appreciate your openness and participation in this service. I truly sensed God’s Spirit at work and believe this was a good and important step in our commitment to worship, minister, and fellowship together as partner churches.

We also owe many, many thanks to the members of the Family Ministry Team who organized an amazing picnic for us on Sun-day. Whichever member of the team was responsible for the weather did a wonderful job providing us with a sunny day and a comfortable temperature, but even more than that, the food was wonderful and the opportunity for fellowship around the tables was truly a blessing. I am grateful for all the work that went into cooking and making sure everything went smoothly so that everyone had a chance to eat (and probably overeat) while visiting with friends and making new friends.
After such a good day, let us make the commitment to continue building relationships with the members of Valle de Esperanza, to getting to know them, and to finding ways we can fellowship and minister together in the weeks, months, and years ahead. God has given us a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how Christian love can cross language and ethic barriers, and He calls us to love each other as He has loved us. As I noted in Sunday’s message, Jesus prayed for the church in John 17:23, asking “that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” As we commit ourselves to living in unity and connectedness, we witness to the world that God’s love brings people together. May it be so!

Blessings,
Bill

“Can you believe it’s September already?”

Dear Friends,

I used to shake my head at adults who would say things like, “Can you believe it’s September already?” Now I am one of those people! The year does seem to be flying by, and we have entered a new church year and regular fall programming. There are many good things happening in the life of the church these days, and I think we have many reasons to celebrate what God is doing in our midst.

Amidst the many activities happening, however, I want to give you an update on several things that are taking place behind the scenes at Hope Valley.

The Personnel Team is already active in the search process for a new Director of Music Ministries. This will be a part-time position. We have been spreading the word about our search in many areas. We have received some resumes, have had a couple of interviews, and are having conversations with some possible candidates. This is a vital task and one that needs your faithful prayers. Please pray that God will guide the team and connect us with the person that He wants to lead to Hope Valley.

At the end of last year, we committed to beginning work on updating our Constitution and Bylaws. We announced that a team had been formed to work on this task, and they began meeting faithfully every couple weeks. This is no easy job because it requires much time analyzing wording and intricate details as well as discussing how the church can best be organized to operate efficiently while being faithful to the desires of this congregation. We knew it would be a slow process, but then summer happened and it became impossible to find times when a majority of the team could even get together to meet. To make this long story a bit shorter, the team is again meeting regularly and will plan to give an update on the progress in the near future. There is still a lot of work to be done, but this group welcomes any ideas or suggestions about how you think the church can be strengthened moving forward. If you have thoughts you would like to share as this process unfolds, please feel free to contact one of the following members of this team; Ramsy Boland, Toby Bowen, Marie Bush, Mike Dossett, Dave Dugan, Amy Herring, or Nicole Rogers. I also ask that you be praying for these good folks who have undertaken a slow and challenging job. They certainly need and deserve your prayerful support as well as your patience.

Blessings,
Bill