As I mentioned a few weeks ago while preaching, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Pastor Roger Valci of Valley Christian Center through our collaboration with CityServe, which is a coalition of churches and other organizations in the Tri-Valley dedicated to serving the most needy in our area. CityServe was actually initiated by Pastor Roger and is based on his exposure to a similar organization before his coming to Dublin. With his leadership, CityServe and its volunteers, some of whom are from our parish, are bringing care and support to many of our most needy brothers and sisters. I encourage you to visit their website, www.cityservetrivalley.org, to find out more.
At a lunch I had with Pastor Roger earlier in the year we discussed our ministries, our vision for our churches and just got to know each other better. We concluded our time with a tour of our respective facilities, and as I was about to leave Valley Christian, Pastor Roger threw me a curve. “Would you consider coming here to Valley Christian and preaching one Sunday?” Now that was totally unexpected! I told him I’d pray on it and, after much prayer and reflection, I contacted him about setting a date.That date came three weeks ago, and it was a wonderful experience. I had gone there in July to “scope out” their Sunday service so that I could prepare. That service began at 10:30 am with a long stretch of wonderful praise and worship music. Some announcements followed and then Pastor Roger preached on discerning the will of God in our lives. He preached a great sermon which lasted for about 45 minutes – much longer than I’m accustomed to at St. Raymond! Returning home, I quickly jotted down some notes and formulated an outline for what I might preach on.
Over the weeks that followed, I bolstered what I wanted to say with some Scripture research, but the essence of the message followed the outline from that experience in July. I preached for 38 minutes that day, I was told. Many people from the congregation came to me afterward to thank me for preaching at Valley Christian and to tell me my message hit home for them. Others from Pastor Roger’s staff also came forward to thank me for coming and to let me know I had done well. It was a very gratifying experience for me, to say the least.
What I take from this experience, and I know it is also the view of Pastor Roger, is that it is time for churches that profess the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ to come together and support one another. Yes, we have doctrinal differences and we do well to discuss them respectfully and sincerely. But what we share in common, our belief in Jesus Christ and our shared mission to bring the light of His gospel to cities and nations, could be so much stronger standing together. This, I am quite sure, is what the Holy Spirit is doing among the Christian churches of our time.
I look forward to connecting with Pastor Roger in the near future to discuss ways we can continue to be a support to each other and our shared mission in service of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I invite all of us to keep this endeavor and he and his congregation, our brothers and sisters in Christ, in our prayers.