As a much younger person, I thoroughly enjoyed reading adventure stories. Among my favorite authors was one Jules Verne, a French novelist who was a forward thinker, well ahead of his time. Nowadays, we might classify him as a science fiction writer, although in his time, the wonders of our world and universe were very limited.

We are referring here to a time period of about 1870, long before airplanes, rockets, powered submarines and copious energy availability. Of particular delight for me was my reading of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” an adventure story that gripped my young imagination. I easily identified with Captain Nemo, commanding the Nautilus, and diving deep into the oceans to pursue a sea monster. In the story are times of doubt, of terror, of deep despair and disagreements, of lack of faith, yet also determination and courage to face the unknown, with all of its associated horrors, both real and imagined. Most of the fear can be attributed to having to deal with the vastness of the unknown, the relentless pull into an alien environment, far out of a person’s comfort zone.

Even today, when faced with the prospect of having to do things differently, many of us subconsciously fear the unknown that lies ahead. We too, resist being taken out of our comfort zones. Such an event is even underway within our community in John Day. Our United Methodist Church is faced with having to organize and deliver worship services in the absence of an ordained clergy person to lead us. We are very much in unchartered waters, with associated fears and uncertainties threatening to overwhelm us. Yet, in the face of such adversity, the human courage, determination and trust in our faith are helping us to move forward together in an exciting, positive new direction.

We are determined our church will become even more vibrant, eagerly seeking ways to help others in our community, and fired up with enthusiasm to welcome all who wish to see and participate in this new adventure. Certainly there may be some rough patches, but with the love of Christ in our midst, we are joyfully setting out to do His work in a new way.

We are being led by lay folks, just like you, empowered to achieve great things! Come to join with us; everyone is welcome. We will guarantee there will be no sea monsters and we will not take you under the sea, but it will be an adventure.

We are located at 126 NW Canton, John Day, right across from the Kam Wah Chung Interpretive Center. Worship starts at 9:00 am. Call 541-575-1326 for further information. Many blessings to you all.

Pastor Mike Lamb is a lay person assigned to NEO Circuit of the United Methodist Church.

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