Church of the Damascus Road (1)
And So We Start Anew
Jan 01, 2017
By Mary Mortenson, Director Prison Congregations of America
For much of our culture, the beautiful season of Christmas is over. Lights and decorations are put away, there is no more Christmas music playing, and Valentine merchandise is front and center in the stores. I love that through the church, we can experience another, more deliberate rhythm. It will be Christmas until January 6 when we celebrate the light of Epiphany, which will take us all the way to Ash Wednesday on March 1.
This extended time to consider Christmas helps us to get ready for a new year, with all its blessings and challenges. It’s like we can step into the New Year rather than being shoved into it. I love this because I, for one, love new beginnings. Monday is my favorite day of the week and morning is my favorite time of the day. Thus, it should come as no surprise that there is joy as we experience a new week, month, and year. Stretched before us are twelve months of promise and possibility. I am pretty sure that in 2017 we will welcome at least three new prison congregations. We will strengthen and further define our relationships with denominations on the national and regional level. We’ll offer formal prison pastor training, and our second annual PCA Pastors’ Retreat. We’ll be working hard at strategic growth so that we have the resources and staff to continue this church planting, leader training, and collaboration.
In the midst of these plans and dreams, here is what I know for sure: the blessings and challenges that lay before us in 2017 will all be God-driven and God-present. Things will not happen exactly according to our plans, but will happen in God’s time, with God’s guidance. As director of this amazing ministry, I am constantly reminded that this is God’s work, and it is my great privilege to be along for the ride.
There is one more thing of which I am certain: this work is less about planning and process and all about people. We are called to be in relationship with people affected by incarceration, with those on the outside who visit and work in prison congregations, with donors, and with friends like you who choose to read the blogs we offer each week. This is holy work. It is holy when relationships are respectful and loving. It is holy when people of courage speak truth to power. It is holy when people of faith have the courage to model their lives after Jesus.
Oh, yeah, it’s a brand new day – a brand new year. We’ve made our toasts and sung our “Auld Lang Synes,” and it’s time to get busy. I can hardly wait.