An Advent Story
As we move through this season of Advent, I have decided to try something a little different. I am going to write a story, putting just one paragraph on the website each day. I have no pre-conceived idea of where the story is going, and it will likely be something that I would return to and edit heavily if I ever shared it as a whole piece. But I do intend for it to be a journey of sorts, recognizing that whether we are pleased or disappointed in how yesterday went, we cannot go back in time and change anything, we can only move forward, learning and rejoicing along the way.
So, here is Henry, and a part of his life:
As Henry walked into the church for the first time, he was struck by the cold air that seemed to emanate from the stones of the church. He zipped up his jacket and wondered how people could worship in such a space. But then, the initial shock having worn off, he noticed the stained glass windows, some of them easily viewed as he walked forward, some of them set higher into the walls and requiring more focus to see them clearly. Further ahead there was a small gathering of people, and he moved to within hearing distance of them. “And so we begin our Advent journey,” the pastor was saying, “understanding that just as the journey to Bethlehem was a challenge for Mary and Joseph, so we can undertake it as such, seeking to receive new insight along the way.” And a teenage girl asked, “Does it even make any difference?”
We are launching online giving to Gateway Christian Church. You can give by clicking this box:
Worship via Zoom
We are holding our Worship Celebrations via Zoom on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. (PST) You are welcome to join us for this. If you would like the link for the service please email David at email@example.com.
Potter's Hands Discussion Group via Zoom
We are gathering for our Potter's Hands discussion group via Zoom on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m., Pacific Time. If you would like the link for the gathering please email David at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bible Study via Zoom
We meet for Bible Study via Zoom on Thursdays at noon, Pacific Time. We are studying the Gospel of Mark. If you would like the link for the gathering please email David at email@example.com.
Gateway Christian Church is a part of the movement called the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). On a national level we proclaim that we are "A Movement for Wholeness in a Fragmented World." In West Los Angeles, where our church family gathers for celebration, study and growing with one another, we strive to live out being a faithful part of that movement for wholeness.
Our tradition is founded upon the belief that we are all God's children. We live in that tradition as we openly welcome everyone. We celebrate communion weekly, and all are welcome to Jesus' table. Indeed, it is Christ who extends the invitation to the table, who meets us in that time, who offers his gifts of bread and cup to everyone. Join us in celebrating shared life in God, and join us at the table that is set for us.
Our Pastor has Published a Book
This is what he has to say about it:
"I have been a part of small churches for most of my life. There is a richness of experience, and always ongoing challenges, in being a small church family. Unfortunately, many small churches eventually close, most of them certainly due to circumstances unique to each situation, but also often due to the common dilemma of wanting to grow yet being challenged in making changes to help that to happen.
"As we have experimented with different approaches to worship at Gateway Christian Church, we have used the Fifth Sundays in a year to experience worship in different ways. While our worship attendance still fluctuates with the expected ebbs and flows as with most congregations, these unique worship experiences have helped to foster vitality in both our worship gatherings throughout the year and in other areas of church life. We have found that most people do not want to miss these unique Sundays.
"I have published a small book entitled, Transforming the Small Church: Fifth Sundays and Beyond. It suggests a process for transforming worship, since that is the largest common experience in small churches. It also offers ten Fifth Sunday Worship Gathering suggestions as a way of prompting the reader’s own creativity. My hope is that some of the resources will be useful just as they are, and that others will be a starting point for other churches to create their own unique experiences. It is available through Amazon.com."
Art within the Church
One of the highlights of our 2018 Advent season was the creation of a work of art during one of our worship celebrations. Alexi Pyles, a member of our church, painted while the activities of worship went on around her. People were invited to get up and go and watch her progress during the singing of the carols. The finished creation is presented here.
(Test link to Advent Story 2020 Read the previous parts of the story here. )