I had heard about “pop up” restaurants and “pop up” retail shops but until last Sunday I had never heard a “Pick up” choir. One of our elders invited Dr. Paul Tucker to designate a Sunday where anyone who wanted to could sing in the choir on one Sunday. All you had to do was show up at 10:00 a.m. that day to rehearse the anthem for the 11:00 a.m. service. We didn’t know how it would go. Would folks show up? Would folks learn the parts that quickly? Would they sound good? A few jitters for sure.

If you were here at 11:00 a.m. on Sun., Dec. 9, you heard the results. The anthem soared. Our hearts followed. Sometimes you take a risk and it works out even better than you could have imagined.

A year ago today, we only had two and a half clergy and I was anxious about how 2018 would unfold at our church. In January we welcomed Dr. Mike Graves full time, Rev. Corey Meyer in Missions and Rev. Catherine Stark Corn in Children and Family Ministry. And in August Rev. Tyler Heston came on board as our first full- time youth minister in many years. Not only did each bring compassionate leadership and innovative vision to the church but they coalesced into a strong and joy-filled ministry team.

In August we launched the new 9:01 service. A sure way to upset folks is to mess with their worship service. So again, I worried. And prayed. And wondered. How would folks respond to a soprano sax and upright bass in worship? Would families with children find it a connection point for the soul? Could we make it intergenerational and casual and still contemplative and spiritually meaningful? I don’t know quite how to explain how it all worked. I know the worship task force and staff poured heart and soul into making it work but it seems like it was actually the Spirit’s breath that created that now extremely vital and growing worship service.

Looking back now on 2018, I beam with joy and gratitude. I really should have known. I should have known that woven into the fabric of this congregation is a spirit of innovation and risk. We are not afraid to simply “pick up” and try something new with our voices. our lives, our gifts. We offer them to God and let the Spirit do the rest.

Grace and peace to you,