Not So Lazy Summer Days
All we have to do is step outside, any time of day or night, to be reminded that summer has arrived in southern Mississippi. But while summer is here, the pace of life at UBC has been anything but lazy! Truly, it has been a fruitful month of ministry and mission within our fellowship. Allow me to highlight some of the activity:
Shaw Mission Trip (June 4-7)
A small group of UBC missionaries journeyed into the Delta for an exploratory trip to Shaw, MS. We went to meet the people of Shaw, to work alongside them, to dream along with them, and to help our friends in Shaw and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi give a warm welcome to Lane Riley who will be serving Delta Hands for Hope, part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s larger effort known as Together for Hope. Much more will be shared with the congregation in the coming months, but know this—we came home with a sense of wonderful anticipation about all that will come as we partner with the people of Shaw. The MAP Council and the team of missionaries are eager to see all the ways our work in Shaw will shape our congregation.
Passport Youth, Vacation Bible School, and Mission Bible Day (June 15-20)
Cade and Kat provide more information in this Communicator about the formative work accomplished in the week that found our youth at camp in Charlotte, NC, and our children actively learning and serving here in Hattiesburg. I am thankful that UBC has the opportunity to nurture the faith of so many children and youth and am hopeful that we will soon welcome new children to the regular activities of our church.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly (June 25-27)
Sixteen members of UBC represented us at the annual gathering of the CBF. We met in Atlanta, GA, as we celebrated the calling of a new Coordinator of Global Missions and the work to place mission back at the very center of our Fellowship’s life. We attended workshops, and already the UBC representatives who attended are talking about ways to bring back some of what we learned to enrich life here at UBC. We worshipped together and particularly celebrated that Mississippi’s own Chuck Poole so beautifully preached the Gospel as he proclaimed Christ’s love for all people. And, yes, we enjoyed a lot of meals and late-night conversations with old and new friends.
I cannot adequately put into words the joy I have experienced through our participation in remembering the events of Freedom Summer. I am thankful for the many new friends I have made in our community. I am thankful for many new visitors—visitors who came because they were interested in a church like UBC that is willing to think about the real life implications of the Gospel. Some of those visitors plan to stick around even after the series is finished. I am thankful for the choir and the excellent work they did to pre- pare new anthems (I can still hear the anthem from June 22 ringing through my thoughts). The Freedom Summer series has been a reminder to me that our community needs a church willing to speak the love and justice of God in Jesus into our shared life. I am learning from this and pray that it will shape my preaching and our life together in even more profound ways as we move forward.
And now it’s time for July…