Welcome to our new Monthly Herald! I hope that as you take in the new layout, you feel good about the presentation, and the space we have to talk about upcoming events in our church in a way that is attractive and meaningful. Our goal is communicate more effectively what is taking place at Central. There is a lot of information in here, so please take time to read it.

I have to tell you that I feel a real momentum swing in our church; our church’s spirit these last weeks has been lifted, to be sure. It started with the Night to Remember that Bill Bethea planned. A lot of people had a great time, and it was fun to just be together for fellowship. We continued that momentum with the 60th Anniversary, and many folks have talked to me, not just about the careful planning and work that went into it, and not just because of the memories that we shared, but about how they were inspired in hearing the stories, that there is still much for us to do as God’s people.

And then last week, we affirmed the search committee’s recommendation to call Matt Nelson as Associate Pastor of Worship, Youth and Families. Matt is going to be a great addition to the staff at Central, and his gifts and talents will fit well with our church’s needs and our sense of God’s vision for us.

The momentum of the last few weeks is going to continue. As you can see from the different articles that are here in this issue, we are not resting on the laurels of these great events, we are letting them serve as a springboard for the next few months. I am very excited about The Story, not just for the content as a condensed, chronological Bible, but the opportunities it can create for relationship and unity at Central. Small groups are being formed, which can be a real turning point in the revitalization of a church. And all ages – from preschoolers to senior adults – being on the same page, literally, as we walk through The Story and its themes gives us a chance to share a deeper prayer life together, and to be able to talk about our faith journeys together. This is a real opportunity for renewal in our congregation.

I am also excited about the Ministry Summit on cooperative ministry, as we will have the opportunity to work and develop community ministry that is transformative, and which reaches places that existing community ministries are not reaching. But like The Story, it will not just be about the content. We will be working across denominational and ethnic lines in ministry together, and will have the chance to be the face of Christ together with other people and churches.

Finally, I am excited about Christival, coming in November. This month-long celebration will serve as a way for us to connect Christian faith and the arts; it will be a chance for us to welcome artists and their families into the church in some unique and meaningful ways; it will be a refreshing way to enhance what we are already doing in worship; and my hope is that it is an opening dialogue of what it would be like to have a regular presence of fine arts in our church. We hope that Christival becomes a yearly celebration in our church.

So I am very excited, not just about the momentum we have built, but also about the new things that we are introducing into our life together. As we go, I believe that you will find things that will inspire you to grow deeper in your Christian journey. Come along with us, and let us journey together! You are needed. We are Central, your place to belong!

Blessings, Sonny