Welcoming Our New Members

| October 1st, 2023

Dear Beloved Community,

Perhaps you have noticed that we have some new members around here. And not just some – to date, we have welcomed 59 new members into the beloved community of First on Fifth! This is more than we’ve welcomed in one year in any year of recent memory, and our new members are children and seniors, young and middle-aged, students and retirees, families of many and individuals, all shades of sexuality and gender identity and perspective in this world. Each of these good folks are gifts among us, as is the God who is clearly at work through you. And there are many more who visit each week, online and in person, and are growing regularly in their love for God through the witness of our church. I am so deeply grateful!

This generative growth has meant that I’ve had the chance to share in conversation with so many good-hearted and curious people about what it means to be a member of First Baptist on Fifth. I’ve talked about you, and us, and this shared experience we’re having together of being “a community in the heart of the city called by Jesus to practice bold love of God and neighbor and boundless compassion for all people.” I’ve talked about our history and our commitments, our vision and our hope, our gaps and our strengths, and how – together with God – we attend to our church life alongside each other. I’ve shared that becoming a member is like planting a flag in the ground, committing to these people and this shared vision, and then offering of ourselves in time, energies, imagination, and resources to bring it to life. 

These conversations make me grateful for the opportunity to commit my life to you, but especially in this season of our church. Starting next Sunday, we’ll share in worship a five-week series called “Attending Church,” where we will talk about all the ways we tend and attend to the beloved community we share – and not just with our rears in the pew! These times in worship, combined with testimonies from members about why they love and support First on Fifth, churchwide conversations about our 2024 Ministry Funding Plan, meaningful activities that you’ll read about all through this month’s newsletter, and chances simply to be with one another, will encourage us for the living of these days.

“We are members of one another,” Paul tells us. Grateful, today and always, to knit my life with yours and our lives together with God. 

Together in God’s work of Love,

Pastor Emily

P.S. Speaking of our giving, this Sunday in worship, we will resume (after many months!) the practice of “passing the plate,” where we all have the opportunity to give our financial resources to God through our church. Perhaps you’re like my family, and offer your tithes or offerings online or by monthly bill-pay. Perhaps this time in worship will provide just the reminder you may need to give not just of your time and talents, but of your treasure too. No matter if or how you give, may we all be reminded at this time of the Giver of all good gifts, and our opportunity, our gift, if you will, to give back in our own way.