November 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends in Christ,

The United Methodist Church is growing and thriving in Africa, Asia, South America, and in various corners of the globe. We are a global, connectional church and we give thanks for this vitality. Unfortunately in the United States, the United Methodist Church has been experiencing persistent decline for 50 years. Decline is measured in terms of professions of faith (people declaring Jesus Christ as Lord and "joining" the church), worship and Sunday School attendance, and general giving to the work of ministry. As the congregation has aged, and folks have died or moved away, Fishkill United Methodist Church has experienced this decline first hand. In response to this situation, all United Methodists and all Untied Methodist pastors and congregations are being called to action.

In the fall of 2009, the Call to Action Steering Team was commissioned by the Council of Bishops with support from the U.M. Connectional Table to conduct an assessment of the denominations practices and processes. The charge was to become more effective at fulfilling our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. "Key drivers" of vital congregations were identified through extensive research. They include:

  1. Inviting and inspiring worship.
  2. Engaged disciples in mission and outreach.
  3. Gifted, equipped and empowered lay leadership.
  4. Effective, equipped, and inspired clergy leadership.
  5. Small groups and strong children's programs and youth ministries.

In response to the Call to Action, and in order to develop vitality within United Methodist congregations, all U.M. Churches are being called to a process of realistic self reflection and evaluation, with the goal of becoming more vital and effective congregations in ministry to Jesus Christ. This is not viewed as a quick fix but a sustained 10 year process to renew the denomination and all our congregations.

At Fishkill United Methodist Church we are beginning this process by inviting your participation in a quick survey. Surveys are available in the Narthex and should be returned to the church office or the pastor. Once responses have been received, two initial meetings are set for November 16, 2011 and January 11, 2012 to discuss where and who we are and establish a specific, measurable, attainable action plan for reaching the goal of becoming a more vital congregation in service to Jesus Christ.

Please pick up a survey, complete it, and return it before November 13. Then join with the members of the Administrative Board for soup and sandwich at 6:30 p.m. and discussion at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16 and Monday, January 11, 2012 (snow date January 23).

May God bless us as seek to serve our risen Lord by making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and as we grow in vitality as the body of Christ.

God bless you all,
Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff