Dear St. Paul’s Family,
Although I was baptized in another faith tradition, the vows of our Baptismal Covenant I have made over and over again are at the core of vestry service. Each vestry member offers to that service unique, God-given skills and experiences that allow his/her strengths to shine. Add prayer, discernment and reflection and you have a recipe for a vestry ready to live out their call to a sacred ministry. I am grateful for the possibilities the Holy Spirit presents to us by leading these vestry members to accept the call to this work. I am not suggesting our shared ministry will be easy, but with God at the core, even when it is difficult, we are not alone.
The variety of gifts and strengths of your vestry was evident this past weekend, as we participated in a “retreat” via Zoom. Admittedly, a retreat via Zoom did not meet my idealistic hopes of quiet walks on the beach, fellowship around a fire pit or revealing icebreakers, but, even so, it was a spiritual time of awakening and abundant blessings. As we contemplated Ephesians 4, we were directed to “speak the truth in love and grow up in every way into Christ” helping us recognize that our call is not only sacred, but an awe-filled and exciting responsibility to lead St. Paul’s to grow into its mission.
I was inspired when the vestry, upon recommendation of the Facilities Team, agreed to hire an architectural firm to help develop a plan for the future of St. Paul’s buildings. WKWW, a firm specializing in religious architecture, has worked with many churches of historic significance to integrate modern ministry facilities into classical architectural structures. After careful assessment, the firm will provide a report to the vestry to help determine how best to proceed, based on codes, best practices, and desires of the church stakeholders.
No doubt, this decision will offer challenges, but as one particularly wise vestry person said this weekend, “great things never came from comfort zones.” I think the vestry’s response to God’s call to “open doors, open hearts, open hands”, and I pray St. Paul’s as well, will be “We will, with God’s help!”
Dear Lord, today we are new — new members, new leadership new year, new sense of vitality. Help us to do the difficult work of embracing the new, allowing new faces into the circle and new energy into our midst. Help us to know our history, but then to accept your call to leave what we know and to press onward — to care more about vision than about viewpoint, more about servanthood than about rules, more about mercy than about merit. Help us to have the courage and wisdom to lead as you led — by serving. AMEN