From the Pastor . . .
Great Things are Happening at Saint Athanasius
I am constantly amazed at how God uses our little congregation to accomplish great things. Surely this is not our doing, but purely His grace that is able to use the small and weak and sinful for great good.
One thing that is now on the horizon is a possible Deaf Mission at our Church. The folks at Mill Neck Manor (a school for the deaf in New York) and Lutheran Friends of the Deaf approached us last year about this possibility. What an exciting opportunity for us! Did you know that the Washington, DC area has the third largest population of deaf and hearing impaired people in the United States? We can now help proclaim Jesus to them by opening our hearts and doors and welcoming them. On Sunday December 11th, we will have a sign language interpreted service so that you can see what this looks like. And then, in our Annual Meeting after the service, we will officially vote as a congregation on whether to proceed with this mission or not. Knowing all of you and your heart for people, I cannot imagine a no vote! Another great thing God is working and a new chapter opening for us here.
Another great thing God has begun is a regular weekly Bible Study at George Mason University. We have been active at GMU for a while now and attempting to reach out into that community. That is where we met our now-fourth-year-seminarian George Fields and how he came to our congregation. But despite all our efforts, we had never been able to get a sustained ministry happening there. But God led Alex Mertz to our congregation and through him we have now been able to gather a group of students who are interested in hearing the Word of God and talking each week! So far we have had ten different students come to the Bible Study, many of whom have also come to our church. College is an important time in life and so what a great opportunity God has given us to help these young people and for His Spirit to work in them. It will be exciting to see what He does here in the future.
What other great things is God doing? Well, how about more men considering becoming pastors? Did you know that Neely Owen has been accepted to the seminary and may begin classes in 2017? Did you know that others in our congregation are also thinking about this? God is using your love and support as a big part of this.
What else? Our web site continues to get visitors from all over the United States and around the world to read and hear the Word of God we have there. And He's using all of you in great ways as well, as you live out your vocations in our congregation and in the places He has put you, speaking and living His Word. God is doing great things!
That doesn't mean we don't have challenges. We do. As you will hear at our annual meeting, our income did not meet our budget for this year - the first time in many years that has happened. But God has provided what we need. Many of you have personal challenges, but God has blessed you through them - in ways known and unknown. And while we do not know what the future holds for us and our congregation, this we know: that God is faithful and will continue to do great things at Saint Athanasius. For we will continue to hear His Word, baptize, absolve, and receive His Supper. And there simply is nothing greater than that. For where these gifts are, there is He. Blessing and doing great things for His people.
His servant and yours,