A message for 2023 from Linda Smith and the SCF Managing Board
When Stan Porter approached me one Sunday morning in the fall of 2017 before the worship service began and asked if I would consider a term on the Managing Board, I did not realize how agreeing to serve would change my life and take me on a very unexpected journey. As a member of the Board for 5 years and president for 3 of those years, it has been an incredible experience to say the least. While I have one more year to serve on the Managing Board, Gene Krueger will become President after the annual meeting on January 22.
In my first few weeks as President, COVID brought all public gatherings to a halt and it was particularly painful to end worship services for an unknown period of time. What initially we thought would be a few weeks stretched into months and we sought community using a video/audio link on YouTube. While it kept us connected, we missed being together, in the same room, to connect, support, and treasure relationships as a family of faith. As we struggled with the changes wrought by COVID, it did help us to focus on the deep desire to have our own home. When the opportunity to create a church from a fitness facility became available, we took a giant leap of faith.
We informed Holy Trinity that we were ending our lease even before the affirming vote to move forward with the property purchase. When the membership voted to pursue this dream by a 79% approval margin, the challenges were just beginning. There was significant funding to secure, building plans and permits to obtain, construction to endure, yet our resolve never waivered. Hope proved to be the light that guided us along the difficult path. Where would we go in the meantime? SHARC would become our temporary home for 5 months as we waited to close escrow and create a worship space in our own building.
With God’s hand on the tiller, we navigated the occasional stormy, uneven seas and opened our new sanctuary to worship services on December 18, 2022, and had 154 people in attendance. Many had tears in their eyes, overcome with gratitude for the realization of an incredible milestone in the life of SCF. It took 7 years for King Solomon to build the temple in Jerusalem and upon completion, the celebration included 2 weeks of prayers, sacrifices, and worship. God spoke to Solomon with these words from 1 Kings, words also meant for us as we celebrate our new home, “I have heard the prayers and pleas you have made before me; I have consecrated this house, which you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and heart will always be there.”
2023 will continue to challenge us in many ways: to start Phase 2 of our building renovation, adding church offices and Andi’s Kitchen, to monitor a budget with a large projected shortfall, and embark on a search for a new senior pastor. We are a congregation that thrives when challenged, rising to the need, whether for ourselves or our community, with an abundance of time, talent, and treasure. We will navigate whatever lies ahead with God’s presence and guidance, and the strength and generosity that defines us as a family of faith.
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve in a leadership role for SCF and indebted to each of you for your support along the way. The most important lesson I have learned as a member of the Managing Board is that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. As you converse with God, listen carefully to the call He is putting on your own heart and be fearless in your response. He who calls to you will be present in each step on the journey He asks you to take.
May God continue to hold you tightly in His loving embrace.