Pastor Deb’s Page: Signs of Life and Vitality

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious,and it does not cease to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8) 


Community and Mission: When I was called to The Presbyterian Church in Geneva (PCGNY), I described it as a community church. With our doors open to community organizations seven days a week, our mission was visibly community building. When I studied our substantial donations to mission ($140,000 per year), I thought this is a mission church.  Both are truthful although narrow portrayals.

Anchor churches: Rev. Elizabeth Boesen, Lutheran minister at Zion and St. John’s churches described “Anchor” churches to me last year.  It reminded me of the four Presbyterian churches in Minneapolis which combined resources to form a parish with the largest building as an anchor.  The Anchor metaphor roughly fits our Presbytery or interfaith relationship as we seek to partner in ministry with other congregations and ministers.

A Vitality Council:  Recently, the Presbytery of Geneva reorganized and renamed the councils adding the Vitality Council.  A brilliant idea that helps me focus my energy on supporting the spiritual life of people in congregations and the larger Church.

Vital Signs and Vitality:  At our congregational meeting in May, Walter Gage observed that our congregation is healthy and in a good position to ask for financial support.  Those who doubted that fact, witnessed the life and vitality of youth and adults at the Annual Ziti Dinner and Talent show that same night.   We all felt the energy and life in this congregation as members shared their talents of hosting, food, singing, acting, performing and telling jokes.

Vital signs of a human-being include signs of life– breathing, heartbeat, ability to communicate, and brain activity. What are vital signs of a congregation? 

  1. Enthusiasm is another word for spirit. How does the Spirit of God inspire and guide us?
  2. We are a people with a heart for God. Vital to this church are acts and deeds reflecting Christ.
  3. A vital congregation reflects diversity and unity in the Body of Christ. Our congregation is composed of all ages and continues to baptize as well as bury. We receive new members and offer religious education/ spiritual formation thus nourishing body and soul.

Hope and a Future: According to Webster’s dictionary “vitality” is the power of enduring. Spiritual seeds of vitality are still being sown.  This church has survived, endured, thrived during a multitude of changes.  All members, committees and friends of The Presbyterian Church in Geneva have been asked to prayerfully consider ways to support this church and plan for a hopeful future.  And, the words of Jeremiah 29:11 still apply, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

– Peace and Hope, Pastor Deb