In Canon Michael Ambler’s Zoomed sermon on Sunday, October 17, 2021, following the Mutual Ministry Retreat of the Vestry the day before, he pointed out the words “Servant” and “Glory,” from the Mark 10:35-45 Gospel reading. Jesus taught that they were to be servant leaders, instead of wanting to be seated beside him in glory. Michael was reflecting on the strong spirit of servanthood leadership exhibited by our vestry members. The “glory” is the hope-filled positive life we share in the Body of Christ – our congregational life of faith together.
During the past eight or nine months, vestry members have done a thorough job of surveying the congregation about thoughts, ideas and feelings about the quality of our life together. They have had regular contact with a portion of the membership as a means of pastoral care. The retreat on October 16th, attempted to collate all the gathered information and as informed leaders, to discuss where we have been, where we are, and where the Spirit is leading us forward.
This is hard work but necessary for a healthy organization to do. Soon we will be communicating how and when the vestry will propose to discern a path forward. Some of the process involves a review of present ministries, an inventory of what passion and energy exists for maintaining or changing these, and what decisions need to be made about the building and grounds needed to support these. Recent quotations reveal major deferred maintenance needs, requiring serious attention. Affordable, sustainable alternatives to our present use of facilities will be explored. These are big challenges for our small, vibrant congregation.
But as Canon Michael said, “If any congregation in the Diocese can face them, St. Pat’s can!” We are a small but mighty force in Christ’s Body – the Church. I am excited about discerning how the Spirit will continue to lead us forward, whatever surprises may come. I am inviting you to a serious regimen of prayer and thoughtful conversation about our future. Please listen to sisters and brothers, talk honestly and openly with our leaders, attend gatherings, and share what the Spirit is saying to you. We will be offering some configuration of small group gatherings soon and I urge you to make a commitment to participate. Discernment of future leadership will be happening and I urge you to be open to a call yourself or to someone else.
This season’s Fall glory of rich colors in the landscape reflects the beauty and quality and diversity of our leaders. I commend their commitment and their faithful spirit of servanthood in respecting one another as we face these challenging, yet exciting times in the life of St. Pat’s together. God is with us. And with God, nothing is impossible!
Shalom, Fr. Rick