Our Mission Statement theme for the month is: “We sing, we laugh, we pray.” This leads me to reflect on the question of what makes up the fabric of congregational life. Congregations are like people: they all have distinctly different personalities or characters. Like people, congregational personalities are shaped over time – we are the product of things that have happened to us, choices we have made, and most of all who has been part of the community. Those who study healthy congregations say that one indicator of health is the ability of members to tell the story of the congregation – to celebrate and lament, to name what is distinctive, to know the “mile markers” of the past as they move into the future. One of the reasons I like our mission statement is that I think it captures Highland’s core values and DNA.
We have already reflected on serving and learning. This month, three other aspects of our life together come to the fore: we sing. Music is a central aspect of the worship life of this congregation. Over 100 people – from kindergarten through adults – are active in the Music Ministry of this church! Worship is more vibrant and touches us more deeply because of the music we hear and share week in and week out. St. Augustine said that “the one who sings prays twice.” Whether we sing well or reluctantly, the act of singing is part of how we give God thanks and praise, how we cry out in lament, how we stand in solidarity with one another.
It may seem odd to list as one of the activities or attributes of a congregation that we laugh, but I believe that this is a sign of the health of our life together. Doctors tell us that regular laughter increases both physical and emotional well-being. It is also part of a healthy community when people can share a good joke, a funny story, an almost-disaster-that-turned-out-ok-in-the-end, a moment of joy.
It should be obvious that one of the things we do as a congregation is that we pray because prayer is the heartbeat of our relationship with God. Prayer is what we do in corporate worship, but it is also how we open and close every meeting – centering ourselves in God and asking for God’s guidance and help. Prayer is also how we support one another and how we serve the world. It matters that we remember one another – rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who mourn. But it is also critically important for us collectively as well as individually to pray for the needs of our community and our world. It’s not just what we do but who we remember before God in prayer that matters.
Cynthia M. Campbell, Pastor
Highland Presbyterian Church’s Mission Statement
Highland Presbyterian Church is a community of believers inspired by the love of Jesus Christ and biblical teachings. We believe we are called to guide our children, support our neighbors, comfort the troubled, soothe the suffering and bless the dying.
We give, we receive, we serve,
we teach, we question, we learn,
we sing, we laugh, we pray.
We strive to use our time and talents to serve God, one another, and the world, sharing hope from the heart of the Highlands.