A new year has begun.  September isn’t the beginning of the calendar year or the liturgical year, but it is the beginning of the school year.  And even those of us not directly involved with academia any longer still feel its pulse and that rhythm spills over into the life of the church.

Committees and boards on hiatus for three months begin to meet.  Wednesday night ministries suspended for the summer start up again. Sunday School classrooms and sanctuary pews find vacationers returning.   And many of us return to how things were before Memorial Day signaled the unofficial start of summer.

This year, the Board of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation decided to mark this returning with Celebration Sunday, an opportunity to gather in Sunday School, in worship, and in a fellowship picnic to celebrate the past, experience the present, and look forward to the future.

But more than simply returning to what has worked, we wanted to take the opportunity to ask God for something more: to ask God to renew us so that we might be better equipped and willing to meet the many challenges of a broken world with the compassion and justice and love we learn from being Christ’s disciples.

We have created a banner that reads, “RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT…”  During Sunday worship in September, it will be on a table in the transept of the Sanctuary along with markers.  Before or after worship, you are invited to sign your name to that banner as a way of claiming that prayer for yourself and of making that your prayer for our church and its leaders.  In the months ahead, we’ll display the banner throughout the church building to remind us to continue to make that our prayer and to acknowledge the many ways we see God’s Spirit at work in us and in the lives of others.

I hope you will join me in signing your name as we celebrate this Sunday.