With urgency, let us dare to go forth to be and experience the heart of God in the world…

FORGING OUR FUTURE


A Letter from Pastor Andy

December 16, 2020

Dear U Park Family,

When have you felt closest to God? Whenever I ask that question, I’m always surprised at the variety of answers I get. Each of us has our own faith story, and no two are alike. Some experience God through music; others in family or community. Often, people experience God in nature, but even there the answers vary. For some it’s the ocean, while others find God in the mountains or watching the sunrise over a grass-covered prairie. I was once told by an astronomer that he left seminary to pursue science because in looking at the stars, the wonder of God was more present to him than in church. More than once, I’ve been told that the birth of a child was the clearest experience of God’s presence.

Yet even in their variety, these experiences have something in common. Often, an awareness of God comes with a sense of being part of something beyond ourselves, even beyond human life. We all have moments that leave us with the impression that we’re part of a sacred mystery: we see the night sky in the mountains, or the orchestra strikes the chord that leaves us in tears. This Sunday in worship, I’ll be preaching on Mary’s song, often called the Magnificat. Just as Zechariah did at the birth of his Son, Mary draws on poems from the spiritual history of her people to celebrate what God is doing through her son’s birth. She gives thanks and praise for being part of God’s redemption of humanity – work that began long before her and will continue long after she is gone. I hope you’ll join us for worship on Sunday morning at 10:00 on our YouTube Channel as we read the Magnificat together and reflect on what it might mean for us.

Our Christmas Eve services are also coming up, and because they’re online we’re taking our Christmas Eve offering differently than we have in the past. Normally, when we’ve gathered in person for Christmas Eve, we’ve dedicated our offering to some of our local nonprofit partners who are helping meet important needs in our community. Because we won’t be meeting in person this year, we’ll be collecting a special “Christmas Eve offering” over the next few weeks to be given to two of our nonprofit partners who are helping those in greatest need because of the pandemic: Metro Caring, which is one of Denver’s most effective front line food pantries, and the St. Francis Center, which works to help our neighbors without homes find housing and jobs and become self-sufficient. If you’d like to donate to this special Christmas Eve offering, you can send a check to the church with “Christmas Eve Offering” in the memo line or donate on our website and use the notes field online to describe the intent of your donation. We’ll split the money we get between those two agencies.

Thanks to all of you who have supported the church in our pledge campaign this year. We’re still receiving a few pledges, and there’s still time to get yours in if you haven’t done that yet. Thus far, we have 77 pledges for a total of more than $258,000. This means that for 2021, we’ve added 15 pledges and about $45,000 over last year. While it looks as though we’ll fall short of our goal of 100 pledges for $300,000, this is still a healthy increase. Our congregation has recognized the importance of supporting the church as we keep our ministries going, and your commitment is inspiring. I’ll provide another pledge update in the beginning of January to let you know our final totals for the year.

May you experience God in Advent and your preparations for Christmas.

Grace and Peace,

Andy

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