Why do we (still) go to church? It’s actually become an interesting question in America. We are right at the point where participating in a religious community is about to become counter-cultural. It is not quite as evident here in Kentucky as it is in other parts of the United States where religious affiliation is falling rapidly (the Pacific Northwest and parts of New England are among the lowest in the nation). But just last week, one of my pastor friends told me that a local funeral director said that over 40% of the people he works with either do not have a church home or do not want traditional religious services for their loved one who has died. My hunch is that many of you have friends and co-workers who fall into this category, especially among those who are younger.
A little over a year ago, our Session adopted a mission statement which sets out who we hope Highland Presbyterian Church will be. It is an aspirational statement that seeks to lift up our core values. It begins by saying that HPC is “a community.” That, I think, is one of the most counter-cultural things about Christianity: we believe that drawing closer to God means sharing our lives with others in a community shaped by the story of God’s love in Jesus Christ. In congregations, we gather for worship where we ground our lives in God, are reminded of God’s love for us and for all, and renew our commitment to follow God’s path. As we gather, we build relationships with others we might not otherwise know, whose lives are sometimes very different from ours. But in Christian community we practice learning how to love: how to bear one another’s burdens, how to share one another’s joys, how to share what we have with others in need.
Our mission statement describes the quality of life we hope to build as a congregation and the life we hope to share with others. I truly believe that being a healthy and strong congregation is one of our most important missions. Being a community is itself a witness to God’s hopes for the human family. Participating in such a community has shaped my life. I’m thinking (and hoping) it has shaped yours as well. I look forward to sharing the year ahead with you!
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.
Cynthia Campbell, Pastor