Dear Friends,

              “On October 11, Rick Morse disseminated an exhaustive and thorough evaluation of our congregation. I hope you were there. It was riveting. We are poised, as are many churches, to soar into the future or fade with the past. Although viability most easily shows itself in numbers like attendance and offering, this evaluation pinpoints the need for this congregation to re-claim God’s mission. Rick said to think of it ‘not that a church has a mission but that God’s mission has a church.’ So much of what we do now is the business and organization of church.

“Specifically at Hazelwood, we maintain about 55,000 sq ft. of space when in fact, for our congregation size, we need approximately 18,000 sq. ft. This is just one of the many issues that we need to discuss, but it’s a big one. Another thing that we need to discuss is ‘what are we doing that we need to stop doing?’ We need to look at everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that we do, and decide if it is furthering God’s mission, or just easier to keep doing it the same way. There will be no ‘sacred cows’ in this discussion. If that makes you nervous, that’s good. In order to get people involved in the discussion we need fear, along with love of this church and desire to be a servant to the Lord.

“Make no mistake, this is an incredible opportunity for every person reading this, to bring about a wondrous change in this church. Frankly, in our society, we don’t get that many chances to be heard and make tangible change. Here’s your chance.

“We will start off with sign ups for groups of 20 people or so, who will come together and give input on every aspect of this church. These will be listening sessions, where you can openly express your ideas/opinions without discussion/conflict, and then these ideas will be brought to a panel, to be organized and presented to the congregation.

“I will end with one of my favorite scriptures 2 Cor 9:8 ‘And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’ I believe this, do you?” 

Mary Ann Matchett, Moderator