Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey —
Mother Nature surely has a sense of humor. We woke up on Sunday morning to many more inches of snow than the 1-3 inches that were predicted. However, many of you made it to the 10 a.m. service and stayed for our Annual Meeting.
At the meeting, Matt Purinton and Barbara Kowalska were voted in for a second term and Betty Gates and Amy Cousins are our alternates for another year. We are blessed by such competent folks willing to serve.
Also, at the Annual Meeting the board outlined our intentions for moving forward this year. Here are the items we feel to be the focus of the board and community:
- A youth education department that is fully staffed and has all the resources needed for exceptional, principle-driven education
- A “welcoming” program that connects new folks to our community and involves them in activities – including sacred service – at their own pace
- Continuing with our Seasons and putting emphasis on growing our Season for the Earth and Season for Humane Services
- A presence in the greater community – and beyond – partnering with our neighbors and like-minded organizations to establish a peaceful and harmonious community environment
- Nurturing stewardship: the idea that each of us has the responsibility to care for Unity of Greater Portland with our prayer, our presence, our service, and our consistent financial gifts. This ministry is funded by YOU.
As you can see, we have a robust action plan that is going to include us all, so we are counting on you to work with us. The Board of Trustees will be having their annual retreat in March and will outline a plan for executing these goals. More will be forthcoming regarding ways that you can serve with us to fulfill UGP’s vision and mission. Read the Board and Minister’s report.
The talk on Sunday was “The Key to Praying with Power.” I told the story that Jesus told his people from Luke 18:1-8. This story is about a ruthless judge who fears neither God nor man, and a widow who comes to him repeatedly with the request, “Grant me justice.” For a long time, he refuses to consider her request, but finally in exasperation he says, “Because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.”
Then Jesus said in the same way God will bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night.
Praying with persistence is the key to praying with Power. Here are three ways you benefit from persistent prayer.
- Persistent prayer keeps you in God’s presence.
- Persistent prayer helps you define and refine your request.
- Persistent prayer proves your faith.
Persistent prayer takes prayer out of the “plan b” category — the “last-ditch-effort” category — and puts it where it belongs: top priority in your life.
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Pray and pray and keep on praying. Persist in prayer; make it your lifestyle.
On a personal note… Rev. LeRoy is in Mass General Hospital undergoing various tests to identify the cause of his health challenge that has been ongoing since October. Please hold him and his medical team in persistent prayer to have the answer downloaded from Spirit.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey