Interdependence in Advent

Interdependence in Advent
by Rev. James I. Meadows, Jr., 
Interim Sr. Minister,  Church of the Palms UCC

I first came to the Southwest Conference in 1993, and have served churches here (except for a 7-yr. stint in the Iowa Conference) ever since.  I have been a settled pastor, an Acting Conference Minister, and twice an Interim minister in our conference and have seen lots of changes among our clergy and in our congregations.  Currently I am Interim Sr. Pastor at the Church of the Palms in Sun City.
While in Iowa, I lost touch with the SWC, and was surprised when I returned to find some of our strongest churches struggling and others near failure.  We were hit hard by the economic recession, harder than I realized while serving in an agriculturally-based state like Iowa.  I have since realized how important interdependence has become for our SWC churches, as we confront aging buildings and changing demographics in our communities.
The season of Advent is upon us, when we marshal our spirits in anticipation of God's great revelation in Jesus.  Advent reminds us of the hope, peace, joy and love that binds all of God's children together as the Body of Christ in this suffering world.  We rely on one another in this Conference for the strength to proclaim the Good News that so many long to hear.  Our fifty communities of faith offer a uniquely positively perspective, built upon inclusiveness, generosity of spirit, and the commitment to peace and justice.  These gifts we share.  These gifts we cherish.  These gifts we must make known and live out.
May God bless us in this season, and bring us to the New Year more fully committed to the interdependence that makes more fruitful our service to the living Christ.