front•piece for September 2015

August 31, 2015

By: Rev. Dr. Aurthur McClanahan
Director of Communication, Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

A new year begins.  Wait! What?  It’s September, not January. What do you mean a new year? Yes, I know, the days of 2015 have flown right by and two-thirds of the calendar pages are now paper airplanes, scratch pads for grocery lists, or even book markers (if you’re not a Kindle consumer!).

Debates about when to being the school year have faded into silence in legislative halls, no longer the stuff of ferocious contention. The butter from the State Fair’s Mr. Moneybags is now frozen waiting to be part of the 600 pounds it will take to create next year’s butter cow. The last run down the water slide at the aquatic center is a dry distant memory.

September is when churches come back to life.  “This is a day of new beginnings,” Brian Wren’s hymn, aptly applies. “Time to remember and move on.”  Move on…on to the first choir rehearsal (preceded, of course, by the obligatory pot luck the hour before)… on to the first Sunday School class (after the rooms have been cleaned and restocked with stickers, markers, and probably a tub or two of snacks from Costco)…on to Homecoming Sunday when people who’ve been among the missing for the past few months are actually contacted and invited back into the family fold (with the all-church dinner and the best lemon chess pie anywhere, not to mention the ham balls!).

Yet more than all that, September is a time to experience the reality that “our God is making all things new!”  New, as in hopeful.  New, as in assured.  New, as in open-minded. New, as in being who say we are. New, as in motivated to live with neighbors and friends graciously – both outwardly and inwardly.  

There’s a lot of new in this REPORTER.  Invitations. How-to’s.  “Let me try that” examples.  And even some fun stuff!

If not in name, though New Day is the name of a thriving United Methodist congregation in the Bronx, New York, let go enough, be risky enough, be flexible enough, faith-filled enough, to boldly engage the “new year.”