Monday, August 21, 2006

All by Ourselves

Mount Vernon Place is on its own again. Yesterday marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of our congregation. For the last twelve years, Mount Vernon Place has been worshipping with the Chinese Community Church. It has been a beautiful partnership -- one that has enriched both congregations with new understandings and new insights into different cultures and ways of worship.

The Shared Ministry with the Chinese Community Church was created over twelve years ago. At the time, the Chinese Community Church had outgrown its space on L Street and Mount Vernon Place was having a hard time filling its space at 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. It was believed that if the two congregations came together, then much could be accomplished as we served the needs of the city and worshipped together.

A lot has been done in the last twelve years. Beautiful words of praise have been lifted. Lifelong friendships have been forged. Bible study groups have grown. Incredible music has been sung. Some of the needs of the city have been met through MVP's Geriatric Daycare Center and the CCC's Chinatown Service Center.

Things have changed, however. The Chinese Community Church bought a church at 5th and I Streets, NW and Mount Vernon Place is in the process of selling a portion of its property. As a result, both congregations went through a time of discernment, concluding that it might be time to venture out in faith and strengthen a separate identity once again.

Yesterday was the day of new beginnings for both churches. The Chinese Community Church worshipped in its new home while Mount Vernon Place gathered in our sanctuary by ourselves for the first time in twelve years. I must admit that I had no idea what to expect. How many would we have in worship? Who would be there? Would we remember to turn on the sound system and have people greeting at the doors -- things members of the CCC always assist us with?

God showed up in powerful ways! We were not alone. We had nearly a dozen visitors. The choir sang beautifully. We had a member come back who has not been able to be in church for months because of a bad fall. And, I had two people ask me yesterday about joining the church. In fact, the only discouraging thing that happened yesterday was that the microphone battery went dead halfway through the service!

Our God is an awesome God. God has reminded me again that God is not finished with this little congregation. God has big things in store for Mount Vernon Place. I am excited about our future!

Our task now is to continue to step out in faith, trusting that God is leading us, believing that God will allow us to serve in the city of Washington in ways we have never served before, and claiming that we have something to offer that people in this city need -- fellowship, support, good news, transformation, and a firm foundation.

Stay tuned...and come join us!

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