“Remember,” Jesus says at the end of Matthew’s Gospel – his final words to his disciples – “Remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And that is a promise – a promise to remember always, to hold on to, amidst the changes which are all around us. What doesn’t change is God’s faithfulness.
-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE
All thanks and praise for God’s faithfulness!! I experienced it in abundance this past weekend through your vestry during our retreat. Friday evening after dinner we looked back on this long season of transition and how you have persevered. Vestry members reflected on the search process and everything they learned about their own faithfulness and the faithfulness of this whole congregation. “We’re pretty tough,” said one person. “If we can get through all that, we can get through anything.”
Saturday morning we gathered after breakfast to start discussing the Invite Welcome Connect initiative. We talked about the Gospel values that underlie this project and reflected on what pieces felt natural or made us nervous. For many the hardest priority was evangelism. It is common for Episcopalians to be uncomfortable with evangelism, because we associate it with rude or aggressive tactics that diminish people’s self-worth. On September 15 & 22 we will devote our adult formation to reflecting on how to cultivate a healthy, joyful pride in our faith and our church that allows us to reach out confidently to those in need of Christ’s love.
We also did an inventory of the ways we do and don’t let people know about the great things happening at Trinity, the ways we do and don’t help people to feel comfortable here, and the ways we do and don’t integrate new people into our common life. On September 29 & October 13, we will discuss how to better see ourselves as newcomers might see us and how to continue to grow in loving the stranger.
Saturday afternoon we got down to brass tacks and made commitments to unrolling this initiative with the whole congregation. It’s a big project that requires a lot of self-examination and personal growth, as well as creative planning and implementation. We will all dig into this creative process on October 20 and 27 and consider especially how to connect with newcomers in our midst and equip them to join in our ministries.
It’s an exciting time to be at Trinity, knowing how faithful our leadership is, how faithful the whole parish has been, and remembering that God is always with us in the risen life of Jesus Christ and in His body, which is the Church. Thank you for your faithfulness.