Pastor Kenny's Annual Report 2017
On the evening of January 18, 2016, when I first read the ministry profile of this congregation I knew there was something very special about MCC Richmond. With intrigue I reviewed the entire profile three times before I could go to sleep that night. The following morning, I went back to my computer to read it again, and surprisingly found and watched the video of the congregation that was posted for interested pastoral search candidates. Later that morning after arriving at my office, I watched the video a second and third time and also showed it to my colleague who said: My friend, from the glimmer in your eye I can tell God is calling you to serve the folks in Richmond. On January 20 I sent an email of interest to the Pastoral Search Committee (PSC). On February 15 I emailed the completed settled pastor application packet to the PSC, excited to enter the candidacy and discernment process. February 16, the PSC confirmed they received my documents and would be in contact with me.
Sunday, April 3 the PSC warmly welcomed me as we engaged in the first of two Skype interviews. From the first moment our eyes met I believed God started to weave our hearts together … before I knew it I was in Richmond May 20-22 completing the joint discernment process of becoming your next settled pastor. What an amazing few days we shared with one another! Returning to California I left Richmond carrying this congregation in my heart. In this, I had experienced something new for me. As I spoke with the committed, articulate, energetic, loving, enthusiastic people of MCC Richmond, I felt at home and knew God was beginning something spectacular. I feel the same way today. I am profoundly blessed to serve as your Pastor. I give thanks to God for bringing us together in our efforts to grow in our understanding and relationship with God and to share God’s love with ALL people.
As you review the reports, accomplishments and facts presented in the 2017 Congregational Annual Meeting packet celebrate the growth and achievements this year at MCC Richmond. It is clear God is blessings our ministry efforts and I believe we are a blessing to God. A few thoughts I’d like to share with you as we move into our second full year of ministry together:
I AM THANKFUL …
My how our congregation has grown! MCC Richmond endured some difficult years. The issues you confronted and worked through were important, the times of conflict seemed to drag on forever. However, through your unwavering faith in God, your commitment and desire to hang in there by serving one another, the people of Richmond and our world, the congregation emerged humbled, more disciplined, more mature and deeply committed to growing spiritually and exploring ways to effectively share God’s love with ALL people. I am grateful for your vision, your inquisitive minds, your thirst for personal spiritual truth and development, your quest for justice, effective mission and service, your passion and the compassion you show toward God, one another, our community, to me and to my partner Kirk. Because of our partnership in ministry and shared love “My mouth is filled with laughter, my tongue with songs of joy." Psalm 126:2
I AM HOPEFUL …
As I look out at those who gather for Sunday morning worship and around table at Sunday lunch, those who attend Living Wednesdays Dinner Church, Sunday School, choir rehearsals and engage in meaningful ministry, I am encouraged by what I see. We are becoming more and more diverse and growing in numbers. We have people from different social economic realities, gender identities, sexual expression, and different racial backgrounds, and we sit together in mutual love, respect and support. The new members and frequent visitors all agree: this congregation accepts them as they are. There is no MCC Richmond member template. I am hopeful that we will embrace future visitors and members in that same Christ-like spirit; where "there is no Jew or Greek, slave or citizen, male and female. All are one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
I AM ENERGIZED …
No doubt, God is doing wonderful things in and through the life and ministry of MCC Richmond. I believe our congregation is one of the best hidden secrets of Richmond and we have lots to share with our community and beyond. What happens at our church is transformative and brings hope to others. More than ever, people … all people … are looking for meaningful connection with others through engaging and empowering community. Our interest in social justice and non-violent social activism brings the love and grace of God to our community and our world. Our hands-on approach to serving others brings healing, hope and transformation to all people as we share the love of God with people … just the way they are … while also encouraging them to discover a God of their own understanding. I believe we need to be more intentional in affirming, creating and developing new innovative ministries that lovingly meet all people where they are on their journey of life.
MCC Richmond is a place where all people are welcome and met with open arms of love and grace ... no matter what. We are a congregation where all people can explore their God-given strengthens and gifts in a way that brings fulfillment and blessing … just the way a church should be! While I have served in ministry for many years, in lots of ways I believe my ministry is just getting started. Your willingness to seek the Holy One while being open to creative, engaging ministry endeavors, to try, explore and implement new ideas and new ways of doing things encourages me even more. "What eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on anyone, what God has (is) prepared (preparing) for those who love God." I Corinthians 2:9
I AM PRAYERFUL …
I invite and strongly encourage all of you to pray that the leadership of MCC Richmond is able take us to the next step of our journey. Pray that, as one united, liberating and spirit-minded congregation, we discern, persevere, and boldly follow where God leads. And, that we take every advantage and opportunity to joyfully spread the bright, colorful, shining glitter of God’s love and grace for all people in everything we do! May we never forget: "with God, everything is possible." Matthew 19:26
Many blessings and much love,
Rev. Kenny Callaghan