February 2023

Epiphanytide greetings, Dear Friends,

As the days grow almost imperceptibly longer, I find myself somehow surprised again, as I am every year, to notice just how much I’ve missed the sun. Like clockwork, an undeniable urge is awakening in my mind and body. This season of dawning light has already begun to illumine new possibilities, new paths forward, and, with them, a new desire to get about the work of discernment and discovery.

As many of you know, this new season in the life of our church has begun a discussion about what Newfane Church can be as we live more fully into our call to be a church that “sees and loves the world as God does.” I have so enjoyed hearing from several of you how you’re dreaming about what Newfane Church can be. One good turn deserves another, so allow me to share just a small sample of what I see when I consider the question, “What can Newfane Church be?”

I imagine the church as a thriving, intergenerational hub of spirit-centered community, a place where folks in the area—regardless of their religious belonging or lack thereof—can come to have their imaginations stirred, their curiosities stoked, and their spirits (and bodies) fed. I imagine a space for learning, for meditation, for prayer, for contemplation, and for connection and conversation. In other words, I imagine the church as a center for spiritual renewal and resilience.

Recently, we’ve spent some time exploring how Jesus came into relationship with his earliest disciples. The Gospel of John offers rich insight into this, with Jesus turning to ask two deeply curious disciples of John the Baptist who are following on his heels, “What is it you are seeking?” They ask in reply, “Where are you staying?” Jesus answers, “Come and see.” Come and see. May this become our mantra—to ourselves and to our community, a community beleaguered by a daily deluge of tragic news and so many concerns about the fate of our world.

Come and see what it is that calls to you from deep within yourselves. Come and see the fuller extent of your belonging. Come and see how your gifts and how your presence help to bring healing and redemption to your community. Come and see what surprises you. This sacred space, where personal and communal longings are nurtured, where Love reigns supreme—this is where we are staying. Come and see. Can we see and recognize the ways that Christ is seeking us? Can we feel the lure of God’s Love?

Come and see.

In abundance,

Matt