On Tuesday, I'll be attending my first meeting of the Cloverleaf Area Ecumenical Ministry, which has its headquarters at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church in Pleasant Hills. The Cloverleaf ministry is a united ministry of the Jefferson Hills/Pleasant Hills religious groups (even serving parts of West Mifflin Whitehall) and serves over 200 families. There is a weekly food distribution and other outreach ministries such as a clothing distribution, emergency aid, transportation, child care, medical help, and counseling. Formed in 1983 by area churches and the local synagogue, it is a vital ministry and, frankly, is one of the most Christ-like things we do.
An extremely faithful leader of Jefferson church, Carol Kregenow, has been very active in the Cloverleaf ministry (as was her husband Dale, who sadly died a few weeks before we moved to Jefferson Hills), and I look forward to working with her in this ministry. This kind of service ministry has always been among the most fulfilling aspects of my pastorate, and I am anxious to "get on board" and to get Jefferson church more involved in the Cloverleaf agency.
I'm very, very excited! Hallelujah!
This morning, I preached the first in a sermon series on visioncasting, in preparation for our March Church Council meeting when we will "formally" and corporately begin to discern God's vision for JUMC. The sermon was well received, and I think the folks are anxious to experience the process and see what God has in store for us. My personal goal is to have some plans ready for our Church Conference this Fall, but I'm open to whatever timeframe is provided by the Holy Spirit.
My additional hope is that the Cloverleaf ministry plays a key role in our vision, since I believe strongly that a Christian's faithfulness is largely determined by what he or she is doing for "the least of these".