The Annual Meeting that some of us just attended could be viewed as just another business meeting with churchy overtones. Nothing could be farther from the truth! While we elected new Vestry members and approved the budget for 2018, our time together yesterday was really about taking stock in the last year and noticing where God was present in our common life and ministry.
God shows up in the seemingly mundane tasks of counting the collection from Sunday morning, or helping a newcomer find the Chapel, the bathroom, or the classrooms for children and youth. God shows up when we smile and invite others to join us in our ministry. God shows up when we visit someone who is lonely, or we take someone to a doctor’s appointment, or pray the intercessory prayer list.
What strikes me every time we gather, as we did yesterday, is your willingness to engage, your willingness to pitch in and help, and your willingness to consider doing things differently than they may have been done in the past.
There is a convergence of thought and passion here. Our staff configuration is really beginning to gel and we are finding an excitement as we dream together of what God has in store for us at Epiphany. That dream and vision comes from building trust and finding a common purpose. Each one of us on the Staff is passionate about our work and we depend on one another for guidance and feedback. The excitement and creativity that we feel comes not only from our love for the work at hand but from the love we feel for each one of you. So many of you give so generously of your time and talent to the many ministries of this Parish. Your energy and commitment fuels the Staff and equips us to do the work that God calls us to do.
It is important to look back on 2017 and give thanks for the many gifts given to us and celebrate faithful parishioners who give so much to further the work of God here and in the wider world. Now we look forward to 2018 with all of its challenges and joys. We may fumble at times or even fail when we try something new, but we will learn together and the Spirit will draw us closer together for having tried.
One of the many wonderful hymns in The Hymnal 1982 is number 528, Lord, you give the great commission. I commend all the verses to you as a way to pray our calling as members of this Parish and as Christians. The second verse is particularly apropos given the year ahead of us:
Lord, You call us to Your service:
In My name baptize and teach.
That the world may trust Your promise,
Life abundant meant for each,
Give us all new fervor, draw us
Closer in community.
With the Spirit’s gifts empower us
For the work of ministry. (words: Jeffrey Rowthorn)
I am full of gratitude to be serving beside Thomas, the rest of the Staff, and with all of you. You are a joy and a blessing.