Letter from the Church Council

Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect..”

Collosians 1:28 “So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ..”

Perfection seems to be an unattainable goal. However, Jesus says that we are made perfect by our faith in His atoning sacrifice on the cross for us. Paul restates in Collosians that our privilege as believers is to be counted as perfect by our relationship to Christ, our Redeemer, who has forgiven us all our sins by our faith in Him and repentant hearts. If therefore our own standing in God has been made perfect, we too should be concerned that all members of the body of Christ are also perfect, that is, in a right relationship to Christ.

In this day and age it is easy to dwell in this grace, and define our experience of God on our own terms. Go to church? Not necessary, you know COVID is still going on, maybe next week. Take part in the church activities? Not necessary, we are not saved by works. Be involved in mission? Let others. Give a tithe? Certainly not, how can I afford that?? Observe the sabbath? That is out of style; see, everybody lives the same way everyday. What’s your problem?

I have been reading writings of a late pastor friend who led a large church in Towson, Maryland for 30 years who also spent summers in Vermont as our neighbor. He wrote, “The task which I would offer you as members of this congregation is that you consider you have a personal responsibility to make this church the most vital part, not only of your own life but of the lives of your friends in the congregation and to seek to bring into this fellowship those who need the things the church has to offer. It is not possible for the congregation to maintain itself without your efforts. It is not right that the members of the church should depend wholly upon its leaders, the staff who carry out its routine work and organizational aspects. Every member must find in him/herself a responsibility for the well-being of the whole church program. When this is lost, the whole significance of what the church is trying to do is lost…You may find the expression of your Christian faith in your bringing a friend to this church, in your making a friend of some member of this church. People look to it for something they may not be able to find unless you assume your responsibility as a member. Remember to speak this year enthusiastically, kindly of your church, to support it in your thought and action, to fight for it in the kindest, strongest way that you can for it is yours and it is Christ’s. In your giving of yourself to Him and His cause through your work for this church, you make Him more a part of your own life – and you will then have happiness.”

As a church elder, I bring these truths to you with concern that we are faced with the prospect of closing the Sunday school, library and creche for lack of volunteers, and discontinuing the important outreaches of projects and benevolence, and evangelism and mission outreach for lack of sacrificial giving. ACC is involved in these undertakings at a level which necessitates the faithful support of everyone. We cannot content ourselves by simply attending worship and basking in the miracle of our unity in Christ by our diversity, good music, lovely flowers or preaching. As my late pastor friend wrote, “We must assess the validity of this ministry in terms of the Christian experience of its people and their full participation in the program of Christ’s church.

As your minister, I cannot accept the possibility that you come to church to ‘hear my sermons’, to ‘meet your friends’, to ‘make acquaintances in a new community’. I have to accept and live with the belief that you come to worship God and so I take this occasion to remind you of the place you can have in making this church everything that it ought to be by your presence at its worship services, by your enthusiastic support of its ministries, by your participation in study groups and by your joy in the fellowship which we have one with another in the love of Christ.”

In this way, let us be made ‘perfect’ and find true happiness.

In Christ,