Kindred in Christ,
In the letter to the ancient church of Philippi, the Apostle Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal, but I press on to lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). If in some way Christ has touched or laid hold of your life through the ministry of University Gathering UMC, then we invite you to join us in pressing on and running the race into our future. Your financial pledges help us not only create a responsible operating budget for the year to come, but empower us to continue unfolding God’s love, inclusion, and justice in new ways in the U District of Seattle.
This past year we welcomed nine new official members to our congregation! And we have shared power with multiple new leaders who are helping us grow toward the goals that God is laying out before us. Over the past three years of serving as your Lead Pastor, I have witnessed us form teams of both longtime members and new members to help us update our church name to reflect the gathering of people we are called to be, hire a new worship leader to lead us in choir, hymns and new songs, and now we are searching for a new interim location to, among other things, help us have a facility where we can meet during the week and have greater presence and impact in our neighborhood. We resurrected children’s ministry a little over two years ago and we now have an average of 4-7 children attending on Sundays, and new families connecting in our community outreach events and weekly worship.
In fact, due to this growth, we have discerned that it is the right time to invest further in our children and families ministry as well as outreach. Under the guidance of our Staff Parish Relations Committee and Church Council, we have approved the creation of an updated, full-time staff position for a Children and Families Minister who will work closely with our leadership and myself (Pastor Paul) to both minister to our present children during our weekly gatherings, as well as help host outreach events and connect with new families in our neighborhood. We have already gained traction in both of these fields, and realize that it is time to hire someone full-time to help take us to the next level of intergenerational church growth. I am thrilled that we have discerned to take this next faithful step together!
This past year we also came together for several all-community conversations and church votes as we discerned how to move forward with our building campaign and decisions around the kind of building project we want to create in the future. As I recall the journey and all the goals we have accomplished along the way, I also realize that the journey is just beginning! I hope you will prayerfully consider pledging financial resources for the coming year, so that we can run into the future that God has for us together. And I hope you will join us through the month of November for our Running into the Future worship series!
Rev. Paul Ortiz