Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Year in Review

 Well, I think it's safe to say that 2020 didn't turn out like any of us imagined. I feel VERY ready to turn the page tonight to a new calendar year--even as I realize that the issues we face right now will not disappear when the clock strikes midnight, it is nice to imagine the blank slate before us and the possibilities for new life, new dreams and new hope that could lie ahead in 2021.

Before we do that, however, I've been reflecting back on this year of pandemic, unrest, social isolation, and being church. And I've been amazed at how in the midst of that, we've continued to BE CHURCH, even as we haven't worshipped or gathered in our church building since March 8. And so, I present to you our Broadneck Baptist 2020 Year in Review as a reminder of how God's Spirit is still so powerfully at work in and among us.

We've continued to serve our neighbors in need--through Winter Relief, partnership with ACT, reenvisioning how we safely distribute food through My Brother's Pantry, and collecting three special offerings on 5th Sundays that sent nearly 8,000 dollars beyond our helping services budget to support Feed Anne Arundel, My Brother's Pantry, Hope Project Prison Group, and the Kutenda Children's Home in Zimbabwe (helping them achieve the dream of a new-to-them truck for transporting kids and supplies).

We've continued our commitment to strengthen intergenerational relationships and faith.

We've continued and expanded our work for racial justice by continuing our monthly Community Conversations on Race and hosting a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Cape St. Claire.

We've moved our worship virtual, finding ways to worship and connect with God and one another meaningfully over Zoom, even as we miss being together in the flesh. We even manage singing from time to time!

We began a weekly Prayer and Share group where we could check in about how we're doing and connect with God and one another mid-week, providing solace and encouragement to one another in the midst of our isolation and uncertain times. The group, which has had folks join in from across the country, also sponsored an election eve prayer vigil and help up our community through its steadfast prayers.

We pivoted to our first ever virtual Music and Arts Camp, helping kids in our community learn about caring for God's creation for four weeks in July and August. We followed up by offering drive-through Back to School Blessing Bags for kids, parents, and teachers in our church and community as they began a year of virtual learning.

We celebrated 10 years together as pastor and congregation with an epic parade!

We gathered safely outdoors when we could, making the most of our little outdoor space in the parking lot!

We worked hard to clean up and clean out our building, finishing the new ramp and porch and painting it inside and out to create a more welcoming, hospitable space for when we and our community are able to return to the building.

Instead of lighting one Advent wreath together in our sanctuary each week, we each observed Advent in our own homes with wreaths, devotional books, and activities for families.

We dreamed up and launched a new ministry with two other congregations sharing the Christmas story through a drive-through Road to Bethlehem, with over 1000 people driving through over three nights and over $2500 raised for My Brother's Pantry.

We remembered the good news of Christmas all year long--that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not and will not overcome it.

The amazing thing is that even with all I've named there are so many other ways we've grown and cared for each other and our neighbors near and far this year--what have I missed? Add your own memories of gratefulness for our community and ways we've been church this year in the comments on this post. Please know how honored, proud, and amazed I am to be the pastor of such a remarkable congregation--I can't wait to see where 2021 takes us! HAPPY NEW YEAR!