“In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.”
Dr. Eric Ericson

We are approaching the end of the year, a season that finds us looking back at what has been in life and culture. We will see many lists; the best book or song of 2017, the most influential pictures or life changing moments of 2017, the beat (fill in the blank) of 2017. The good news is that we have survived another 12 months of living! But there is little doubt that the last year has brought both satisfaction and frustration to our spirits as we think about where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going.

I am deeply aware of the challenges and struggles we are facing as a faith community. For some of us the issues are obvious; we continue to push our staff and program hard, finding as many stumbles as successes. Our space is just so tight; certain programs and fellowship events suffer greatly because of our lack of space. The call of ministry growth requires more than the cursory presentation of time, talent, and treasure; it asks for an ownership of service by more than the usual faithful. And, of course, we labor with a few issues that are imposing themselves from the top of our church structure downward, culminating in the anxiety which leaves some folks moving toward a different path. Then there is culture and society; don’t get me started there!


During times like these, it is often necessary to remember who we are; to revisit our role as a community who lives like God would have us live. So over the next four weeks we will be answering the question of who we are in faith. We Are Followers of Jesus, we are living out the call of God's Kingdom, we are United Methodists, and we are Shepherd of the Hills. During these weeks we will explore topics like what is the Word of God? Who is a part of God’s Kingdom? Who is this John Wesley and why is his theology so important? What does it mean to “take up my Cross and follow Jesus?" I hope that you will bring your heart, your mind, and your hope to the next four Sundays as we assert a powerful statement about why we worship, serve, and celebrate this gift of love found in the community of Christ!

The days are challenging, so our Advent time will be spent preparing our spirits to face all the challenges 2018 will bring! And to prepare for the joy that awaits as God calls us and counts us as faithful to the future borne in a people who know their way because of their faithfulness! We are so much more than the me; we are the ones who give the world a glimpse of the greatest story ever told.

Let’s gather! See you on Sunday….





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