During the past 143 years of our existence, the Hazelwood congregation has established a rich heritage of exceptional ministry, service, and community outreach involvement. However, during the past few years to the present, we have seen a change in our ministry due to declining numbers in worship attendance, in the number of leaders and volunteers stepping forward to serve, and a physical plant that requires increasing expenditures to maintain, which is not being supported by congregational giving.

          We find ourselves at a crossroads in our history, and we must make significant changes in order to sustain the ministry and simply survive for the long run. Change is inevitable, and at times necessary, but that doesn’t make it less uncomfortable or less painful.

          As we consider how we go forward, nothing can be sacred, We cannot maintain the status quo. Every aspect of our congregational life must be examined and considered. New, even  radical ideas and approaches must be generated which will allow us to sustain and grow the ministry, and serve others as God would have us do.

          In response to the congregational assessment conducted by Rick Morse, we have established times for the congregation to come together in small groups for Visioning Conferences. We would like everyone’s participation. We will come together for some brain-storming and visioning for our future together. Everyone’s opinion is valuable.

          The dates and times will be: Sunday, February 5, 1 p.m.; Tuesday, February 7, 7 p.m.; Friday, February 10, 10 a.m.; and Sunday, February 12, 1 p.m. We are limiting the number in each group to 15 people. More groups will be added as needed. The sessions will be held in the Sulanke Fellowship House.

          You can sign up to attend one of these meetings. Sign up sheets are available on Sundays, and in the church office through the week. Please take the time to participate in these important meetings for the future of our congregation. Each meeting will have a specific agenda, and leaders to facilitate. Make your voice heard, it’s important.