The only constant is change.

Though I’ve quoted it for years, only recently did I discover that it was the Greek philosopher Hericlitus who said, “The only constant is change.”
 
It sure seems like that’s true around Central. Like the world around us, we are always changing, but this spring and summer bring major change in our staff. As you’re aware by now, Sandy Heidenreich will be retiring on June 30 following over a decade of service as Office Administrator, and Jill Cameron Michel and family will be relocating to Coralville, Iowa after May 21. 
 
We’re happy for them, but it will be hard for us. Both Sandy and Jill (along with Jim, Cameron, and Teegan) have served us extremely well and worked their way into our hearts, and we will miss them even as we celebrate these next steps in each of their lives. Sandy, I’m glad to say, will not be relocating, and will be part of the Central community – though she may take a vacation for a while!
 
While we can’t ever replace Jill and Sandy, we do need to plan for future staffing, and we do this as a growing congregation. At its meeting last week, I shared with the board some numbers. Numbers are not the most important measure of our health, but they do give us helpful information.  Since 2001, average attendance in Sunday worship has increased from 63 to a high of 162 in 2015. In recent months the increase has been more dramatic, with an average attendance in worship of over 180 since January 8 of this year.
 
Attendance numbers give only part of the story. Because not ALL of you come to church EVERY Sunday, we’re a bigger congregation than we might think. In fact, we have about 335 people who we could reasonably expect to walk through the doors on any given Sunday (plus guests).  That number will fluctuate as people come and go and yet for me is a fairly accurate representation of “our congregation,” those with whom we try to stay connected and for whom we offer spiritual care and nurture.
 
The other aspect of our context of growth is our neighborhood. We see lots of new construction going on, and new businesses opening. According to data from MissionInsite, the population in the area around our church building grew 14% between 2010 and 2014, and is projected to grow an additional 18% between 2014 and 2019.
 
We have taken numerous steps in recent years to support our congregation’s growth – adding a second clergy position and a facilities manager, renovations in our building, and establishing a Vision Implementation Team, to name a few. So while we are saddened by some of the upcoming changes, we are also committed to continuing to welcome God’s children into the community of faith and fellowship we call Central Christian Church.
 
I am thankful to be church with you, and look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
 
Blessings,
Linda