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Southern Nevada clergy share resolutions for themselves, their congregations

The sense of renewal a new year brings often leads to resolutions for change. Here are personal and congregational resolutions from clergy from the Las Vegas Valley.

Rabbi Sanford Akselrad, spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Tamid in Henderson

“As I look to the year that lies ahead personally, I want to try and live more in the moment. Much of my professional life is looking ahead to the next program or activity. It is often hard to “be in the moment” and accept the feelings both good and hard that come with that. But I think it is important for me and for us all to appreciate the goodness that each day unveils.

“As I look for a resolution to (suggest) to my entire community, I would ask that we all reflect upon the impact of our words. We live in a world with many competing ideas and points of view. How we share our thoughts, and how we express our disagreements with others is so important. We must resist the temptation to demonize ‘the other’ and to distort ideas that we do not agree with. It is important to keep civility in our society and create an atmosphere where we can all work together for the common good.

“Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!”

The Rev. Paul Block, pastor of New Song Lutheran Church in Henderson

“My New Year’s resolution is to cultivate empathy in myself and others. Technology brings us many blessings, but it also contributes to cultural fragmentation. We choose media outlets that reinforce our perspectives. In the home, families compete with smartphones for attention. One research study found that goldfish have longer attention spans than humans.

“All of this has diminished our ability to listen. We have become emotionally hard of hearing. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Imagine a grass-roots empathy movement in Nevada.

“Perhaps the Prayer of Saint Francis can kickstart the empathy revolution:

‘Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

‘O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.’ ”

The Rev. Charlotte Morgan, pastor of Indigo Valley Church

“From childhood, I remember our pointed hats with silver glitter glued to each one that said, “Happy New Year!” Mom, Dad, sister, brother and I all drank “pop” from real Champagne flutes. At 10 p.m., the ball dropped in New York City and it was our Happy New Year. We never spoke of new year’s resolutions. Instead, we held the belief that each year we would gather together to bring in the new year.

“In science, a microscope is used to see something with clear resolution. The ability to create focus, or to see something deeper, less obvious. One word can describe the essence of new year’s resolutions: Hope. Whether we need to see things clearly, stop a habit or seek renewal, the basis is hope.

“This year, my resolution is to bring hope to my congregation. For each life, no matter the struggle, where there is life there is hope. Just as my family celebrated each New Year’s Eve, we look to the future as we celebrate it. My hope is that we all remember the child within each of us and know that we are the children of God.”

The Rev. Jason Adams, pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church

“I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but the start of a new year is a great time to set goals and get some perspective on who we are and how we’d like to be in the next 12 months. This year, I’m planning to make more connections in our community and work in partnership with others. Personally, I will try to get more rest with my family and share more responsibility with others. I pray that this year would be a year of compassion, especially for families and those experiencing homelessness in Las Vegas.”

The Rev. Dennis Hutson, pastor of Advent United Methodist Church

“My New Year’s resolution is to — and I don’t usually make resolutions — be the best Christian and pastor that I can be to make a difference in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

“For my congregation, it is to help us grow in our relationship with God and then show that relationship through the love that we have for one another. And we need to build up relationships, positive, loving relationships. And that way we can make this a better city, a better metropolitan area, and, hopefully, a better state, better country, better world.”

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