Wikipedia defines Fellowship Hall as “a large room in a church building where certain activities take place, such as, dinners, breakfasts, meetings, workshops, etc.” Did you know that our own Fellowship Hall was the original sanctuary long before the “new” sanctuary, completed in 1962, was even a dream? So much living has happened in that building. Imagine a time lapse camera placed up in the corner some 65 years ago that never stopped snapping pictures. The resulting film would tell of unnumbered wedding vows, memorial receptions, youth group meetings and senior celebrations, Sunday classes and International Fellowship dinners, community gatherings and food packing events, Red Cross blood drives, VBS day camps and Christmas fairs, the prayers of a thousand elders and deacons, and ten thousand nursery school naps! That camera would also tell of the inevitable wear and tear; the holes made by an over-zealous game of dodge ball, that leaky roof, and those clogged kitchen drains.
Our experience of “fellowship” in that hall is grounded in the experience of the original disciples. Mark tells us that Jesus “appointed twelve…to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message” (Mark 3: 14); that before they went out, they were first called to spend time together with him. So the Twelve spent three years traveling, eating, sleeping, walking, praying, laughing and even weeping together with Jesus. Our time-lapse film of those three years is called the Gospels; and the depth of that fellowship was evidenced by the deep sharing of every aspect of their lives! Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said we must set aside the “wish dream” of an ideal Christian community, so that we might experience a real community, a living fellowship hall where broken and sinful, yet beautiful and blessed human beings gather. A fellowship called by the Risen Christ to confess, forgive, love, equip, serve and go forth with the message of his saving grace.
Keeping all this in mind, I’m excited to announce that the leaders of St. John’s have called the church to A Season of Togetherness – a time to renew our relationships inside the church through celebration, worship, and service, so that we might be better equipped to reach out with Christ’s love wherever He leads us. The kick-off BBQ will be on Sunday May 29th! We hope you’ll join us!