Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,
God is faithful! This simple proclamation is my common refrain whenever I’m asked about my pastorate, the ministry of Christ, or the fellowship of the Church-in-the-Garden. To me, it really sums up perfectly the bold yet humble belief in what God is doing at our church. February was a month whereby I can attest of God being faithful to the fellowship of Church-in-the-Garden. Our worship continues to move to new heights. Our Praise Team has been rocking the Church-in-the-Garden. Our members are excited and engaged, the Spirit of the Lord is palpable, and the word is spreading in and around the area about the fellowship that attends our church.
Speaking of fellowship, we completed a preaching series on fellowship, aimed at our youth but applicable to all, and we even had one come to Christ and officially join the church as a member.
Focusing on our fellowship efforts in February has made me more aware of the many opportunities that we have to draw more souls to our worship and church family and the love of Christ and community. As your pastor, I take our fellowship and worship seriously. As part of our fellowship, I am committed to the outreach to those who may or may not know the Lord particularly at important life stages. To that end, we have updated our website with a new “SERVICES” page that will quickly and efficiently expedite life event registrations at the Church-in-the-Garden. I would encourage all who want to join together in Holy Matrimony to consider Church-in-the-Garden to help celebrate and officiate that blessed day. If you want to have your baby dedicated to the Lord (Blessed) then we have an easy form to aid you in this process. Or, if you are celebrating the transition of a loved one from labor to reward, we would be honored to funeralize or memorialize your loved one and minister to you in your season of bereavement. These three service forms are on our website: www.churchinthegarden.org.
This month I will be working through some lectionary texts as we move closer to April and Resurrection Sunday. I often read the lectionary as an exegetical exercise and tool to keep me aware of the greater liturgical calendar and the connection between the First and Second Testaments of the Bible. Many times, as I work through the texts, they often spawn inquiries to other connective texts and new hermeneutical ideas start to build. This is the great joy of the Bible for me: the deep and stimulating message of the Bible, the questions and potential answers that it can produce; the many areas of interpretation and debate that arise within the paradigm of practicality and applicability to our human experiences in the here and now. Indeed, this Bible can speak to this generation and this world, to its leaders and to its injustices, societal ills, and growing inequality. It is this sacred truth that motivates me to continuously seek Christ’s inspiration and ideas for this congregation. I solicit your prayers for God’s continuing divine revelation in preaching and teaching the Good News of Christ and for your attendance and participation in our worship experience. Let me remind you all: The Garden is Open!
Finally, on a personal note, I received a letter of induction to the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College. I am honored to have received such an invitation and I plan to make my way to Atlanta later this month. To be inducted to this august Board of Preachers is humbling to say the least. It is not lost on me how many distinguished and dedicated ministers have already been inducted including many of my mentors and homiletical sheros and heros. Moreover, I am fully aware that any recognition or honor that may come my way is simply the blessing of having the divine opportunity to pastor this great church. I am tremendously grateful to my church family and friends because I know that my induction is a result of my pastoral ministry of Church-in-the-Garden. I am humbled and moved by all that is happening. God is Faithful!
Pastor Earl Y. Thorpe Jr.