Church Blog

A Prayer of Political Hope for Advent, week 1.

O Lord God of our salvation. We have cried out to you by day and by night, with the Psalmist. Let our prayer come before you again this morning. You are the creator of heaven and earth. You created man and woman in your image, valuable and equal. You created us to be in society and your ordained government to praise those who do good and punish those who do evil, even though it doesn’t always seem to keep to its calling. Justice does not prevail everyday and our hearts ache on the days when it does not. Today is one of those days. So, we cry out with the Prophet Isaiah, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!” Convince our hearts of your sovereignty in light of your coming to be King at your first Advent. Convince us that you have things well in hand, just as you did at your trial in Jerusalem. Convince us to trust you with all of our hearts because of the glory you displayed during your coronation on the cross. Convince us to hope that you will make all things right at your second Advent. We ask this so that your heavenly justice would be seen to prevail over every earthly injustice, today and in the one day. In the name of Jesus Christ, our King and our substitute, in whom we have perpetual hope. Amen.

Being a Multi-Generational Church

Last May, before Robert went on vacation, we had a pre-sabbatical meeting and talked about some goals for the summer and the upcoming ministry year. One key focus was our historic value of being a multi-generational church. For those of you who are new to SMCC, I’m going to describe what we mean by multi-generational. I am also going to give all of you an update on the progress of several strategic objectives regarding this focus. So, what does multi-generational look like here?

What it isn’t
When we at SMCC say multi-generational we do not mean having a variety of ministries to appeal to all age groups. Rather, we mean that we value worshiping, serving and fellowshipping together. This is not to say that we don’t have children’s Sunday School, youth group activities or adult gatherings. We do. However, we value and intentionally seek opportunities for our children to interact with adults of all ages. What does that look like here?

First, it is relational.
For our family, it looked like our daughter, Ann sharing knitting projects with Catherina Bybee and calling Grace Wagner when she had to write a speech and wanted to talk it over with someone. Ann was very comfortable interacting with adults of all ages, even in Junior High because it was normal for her.

Our son, Luke, was about as “late a bloomer” as anyone can get. Soon after he got his driver’s license, he rushed in our house, locked the door and said that someone had followed him home (from Santa Margarita to rural Templeton!) Soon, a police officer appeared, said that someone had reported an under-aged driver and asked to see Luke’s driver’s license. Luke was pulled over more than once because officers suspected he was an under-aged driver. The first Easter after he got his license, we were helping with set up for the Easter Service at the Asistencia. Su handed Luke her car keys and told him to go to her barn for some bales of hay. He came up to me with his eyes as big as saucers and asked me what to do. He was used to people assuming he shouldn’t be driving, not handing him keys.
I said, “Drive carefully.” Su’s request and trust was very affirming to Luke.

Your children, too, will develop relationships with adults in our congregation. It is a great gift for parents to know that people who share a love for the Lord will speak into their children’s lives. It is a great gift for children to have adults to turn to when they have questions or need advice. It is also very affirming for our children to be recognized as old enough to take on responsibility. Helping in Sunday school, serving at the Thanksgiving dinner, working at the Santa Margarita Clean Up Day, running a booth at the Country Carnival, helping at Creation Care Camp and serving at Camp Good News are all opportunities for our children and youth to serve as they become mature enough to do so.

Second, it helps all of us mature as believers.
When our children sit with us in church, they learn the forms of worship. They learn when to stand and when to sit. They learn to hold their hands out for the benediction. They learn how we take communion.

When our children sit with us in church, they learn how to worship. It is amazing how quickly children learn hymns, praise songs, the doxology, the Lord’s Prayer and even the Scriptures we hear for communion and the benediction. They learn that worship is different than other kinds of singing. When we worship together, there is a special reverence and joy.

When our children sit with us in church, we learn to extend grace. Children are children. They will have wriggles. They will forget they are inside and make comments with outside voices. They will have days when they are out of sorts. It’s okay. We will support their parents and praise God that we are His people. Through these precious children, Santa Margarita and many other places all over the world – wherever He sends our kids – will hear the gospel preached and see the gospel lived out.

Updates on specific strategic objectives.
SABBATICAL: Robert was going to talk to other churches about how they “do” multi-generational. He has begun sharing some of what he learned with us and will continue to do so.

SUMMER: ENJOYING EVERY-ONE OF US: We did multiple activities this summer focusing on getting to know each other better and simply enjoying being together. Many of these were multi-generational.

CATECHISM: We are periodically integrating into the church service some of the catechism questions the children are learning in Sunday School. We are also including in the weekly email or bulletin the catechism question and Bible lesson the children are learning each week.

LITURGY: You may have noticed more liturgy (responsive readings) in the services. We are hoping that these kinds of additions to the service will be more engaging for children.

ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL: In September we began an 8 week adult Sunday school talking about how we can intentionally disciple our children. We’ve talked about intentional parenting, family worship at home, keeping the Sabbath, teaching catechism at home, families worshiping together in church, and the transition from living at home to going to college. I put some copies of the articles we read on the back table, if you are interested.

Nov 20th we will start a new 8 week session. It will be a book group reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart. This is an excellent book that helps parents learn how to address not just their children’s behavior, but the heart behind the behavior. You are all invited to join the book group, even if you don’t have children or no longer have children at home. If you are interested, but can’t meet Sunday morning, let me know. If there are 2 or more people, I’ll let you know and you can work out another time to meet and go through the book at the same time.

SERMON SERIES: In January, we’ll start the new sermon series, ALL GOD’S CHILDREN.

LONG TERM: Our long term goal is to go back to having children 3rd grade and up in the service. With other transitions happening and the Sunday school classes already underway for the year, we will wait to integrate the 3rd to 5th graders in the service, but you are welcome to invite your children to join you in the service periodically.

We will continue working on these strategic objectives and will keep you updated on their progress.

​​​​​​​​​​Karin Taylor