Returning but Still Sent

On behalf of those who worshipped at our recently closed Verona site, I want to thank our entire church family for the warm welcome we received as we returned home to Fitchburg on October 9. We count it as God’s blessing that we, for a season, gathered in Verona to celebrate God’s grace in the sacraments, robust worship, and commitment to one another through Jesus-honoring relationships.

Beth and I came to Verona less than a year ago from the City of Minneapolis to the suburbs of Madison. This transition would have been much more difficult had it not been for the love and acceptance of the Verona family. We thank them for their welcoming way and generous hospitality.

Our last worship service together, we celebrated memories of Verona’s beginnings, children born and baptized into the family of God, leaders who have served faithfully for more than five years, and relationships that formed and strengthened over time and sure to last until Kingdom come.

On October 2, after worship, we rolled up our sleeves and began the somewhat sad and demanding work of vacating our site premises. In all honesty, I have never witnessed such camaraderie and positive attitudes in the face of a difficult circumstance. By 2:00 pm we had brought the last of Verona’s furniture, sound equipment, ecclesial supplies – you name it –  over to Fitchburg (sorry for the mess for those who use the Fellowship Hall). Everyone contributed in some way. I praise God that though many were working on very tall ladders removing heavy audio/visual equipment and wiring from the ceiling, no one was injured. God’s grace covering this project was overwhelming.

Though we no longer have a lifeWorhship Center in Verona, we have not in any sense abandoned Verona as a mission field. The energy we gave to facilitating Sunday worship will now be redirected toward facilitating Regional Impact Gatherings to serve and restore shalom to Verona area neighborhoods. These gatherings will focus our imaginative energy on the health and spiritual vitality of the Verona community, one neighbor and one neighborhood at a time.

On October 9, it was wonderful to see most of our Verona brothers and sisters in worship at Fitchburg. As we worship and integrate with the larger church body, may we be refueled for the missionary task at hand, connecting people to life in Jesus in the Verona region.