Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

“Join the Adventure!” This is the title of this week’s chapter of our new Adult Christian Education study – We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McClaren.  The theme of the chapter is being a disciple or, more specifically, making the choice to become a follower of God’s way.  It’s a decision that Jesus made even though it meant he would endure a forty day trial in the wilderness and then countless other challenges during his ministry.  And yet, Jesus said no to the tempter’s lure of power and violence and yes to God’s way of love and justice.

In one of his first declarations of public ministry, Jesus reads these words from the Old Testament:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isaiah 61:1-2a)

Homeless Stand DownThis Monday, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, about thirty young people and adults from our local churches will be spending a few hours sorting items that will have been donated for the upcoming Homeless Stand Down of Greater Cleveland – food, clothing, blankets and personal care items that will be given to assist the homeless and transient population of our community; along with employment and housing resources, recovery support and health screenings.  For more information about the Homeless Stand Down go to


I am proud that several Valley members will be a part of this team of disciples – followers of God’s way – that are helping to bring good news to the poor.  I believe that recent events in our nation and world show us that we need to be reminded of Dr. King’s vision for justice, peace and equality – and of God’s vision that all of Christ’s followers help to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

The church (made up of many different churches), the body of Christ gathered and sent, has long been and continues to be an incubator for disciples who seek to follow God’s way.  It is where many of us have and continue to find ways to join in the adventure and to find nourishment and support for the road that we walk.  I give thanks for all who enliven, nurture, strengthen, and challenge the church to be true disciples.

If you are interested, Adult Christian Education gathers each Sunday morning in the church library from 9:15 to 10:15 for study, sharing and conversation.  In February, additional times for weekly gatherings to study and discuss We Make the Road by Walking will begin.  Copies of the book can be purchased from the church office or borrowed if you’d just like to look it over.

Blessings to everyone who has joined the adventure that is Christian discipleship – may we all learn how we might better and more faithfully follow!

In Christ,
Pastor John