This past winter, we received a letter in the church office explaining that due to repairs on Highway 2, we could expect more traffic on the main street to the south of our church, Pioneers Boulevard. While some might have found that news stress-inducing, our Outreach committee saw this increase in traffic as an opportunity: how might we reach out to weary drivers traveling past?
Sending children to the edge of the street with bubbles seemed an unwise ratio of safety to fun, so they arrived at the idea of a new sign for our existing sign frame. Members who live in the area have seen it by now; it reads “Welcome, O Pioneers! Settle Here.” While we do not have solid data on the exact outcomes of this sign, I can report that a number of my friends and acquaintances have referenced it these last few months – in emails and as a greeting when they see me in person. Friends from far away who have seen the photo posted on social media have not just hit the “like” button but called to say how much they enjoyed the Willa Cather reference from a Nebraska congregation.
I’d like to think that when the pioneers driving past on Pioneers see the sign it jogs them just a bit from the weariness of their travels and moves them over to a different kind of journey – a place with more joy and creativity; a place with some energy and a will to think what they might do differently than usual once they exit their vehicle.
We’ve had a great summer at South Gate – many, many service projects, many opportunities for neighborhood engagement, and strong giving to missions. I’m looking forward to the fall season as we continue to engage, act and grow in our faith together – on Pioneers.