Saturday, July 4
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Presbytery of Northern Waters
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan
In 2010, our congregation made a momentous decision. In order to be good stewards of our downtown location and adapt to a changing ministry landscape, we tore down a beloved 118-year-old historical landmark to make way for a new facility on the same site.
The new building will be a smaller, more energy-efficient structure that is all on one level. Although it will incorporate restored stained-glass windows, we believe we have been called to offer the building as a resource for hosting new expressions of church in downtown Phillips, Wisconsin. Multifunctional by design, the new space will welcome experimentation in worship styles and approaches to Christian education as we together discern creative ways to make use of our different spiritual gifts.
While our pilgrimage from old to new has been difficult, we have learned a few things along the way that echo the clarion call to be a missional church:
• Simplicity: We have been “a church without a building” for over two years, weaning ourselves from accoutrements that are difficult to move or store. We strive to honor the hospitality of the local Catholic church that lets us use its worship and fellowship space by leaving as small a footprint as possible.
• Flexibility: We adjust our calendar to match our host church; we adapt our ministry to those who have asked to participate; we invite leaders from other churches (or from no church) to assist us in providing music for worship.
• Generosity: We tithe, which allows a 50-member church to both support a full-time pastor and move forward with a building program.
• Visibility: We identify with the downtown and are finding partners in economic development, social services, law enforcement, and public education.
The Presbytery of Northern Waters serves 55 congregations.
—Matthew Arneson, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Phillips, Wisconsin
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Loving God, we know that the church is not a building but the congregation that worships within. Help us to live this truth. May we honor you by giving what we have while trusting that you will provide what we need. Amen.