Greetings beloved St. Georgians,
For many of us, the recent changes in weather have been unsettling. It has, at times, seemed more like fall than spring! In our society, changes in technology, politics, religion, economics (and the list goes on) can make it seem like everything is coming apart. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someplace we could go to escape the changes? For some of us, church is that sanctuary. Churches, however, change too, and St. George’s has been through its fair share in the past ten years. Some people have embraced the changes. Others have found them difficult to bear. My hope is that the church can be a place where we faithfully engage with change, even if we find it uncomfortable. This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, a day to celebrate that our God is somehow one God with three personalities in perfect unity with each other. The Trinity reminds us that God is not merely a monolithic being. Nor is God a committee of three individuals. The mystery of the Trinity is that somehow God not either/or but both/and. God’s self is constantly changing, constantly in dynamic motion among the three members of the Trinity. At the same time, God is also changeless in God’s love and mercy.
One of the societal changes before us involves the reality that some of us do not fit in an “either/or” way into classifications of male and female. Transgender persons have long been part of our families, neighborhoods and churches. Recently, the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia released a statement about how they are encouraging Episcopal schools to respond pastorally about these complex issues. I commend it to you (click here to read it). Their guidance extends to churches as well. Our vestry is currently considering how to amend our St. George’s welcome statement to make it clearer that our parish definitely welcomes transgender persons (along with people of any race, nationality, sexual orientation, and tradition). It is a challenge to say these things simply, and we will take our time to find the words that feel right. I know that some of us may feel less comfortable engaging these kinds of questions and changes. I believe that we can do this together as brothers and sisters in Christ, with God’s help.
I will have more to say soon about another upcoming change…the shift to summer schedule! In short, when we shift on May 29, our main Sunday service will be at 10:00 a.m. instead of 9 and 11. Over the summer, we will alternate weekly between a 9:00-style service and an11:00-style service (the Jazz band , however, will be playing three times during the summer). As always, I welcome your feedback, comments, and questions. I look forward to being with you this Sunday for the end of the program year, the revealing of prayer partners, compassionate parenting, Rite 13 celebration, chamber orchestra concert, and, of course, the celebration of the changing and changeless Holy Trinity!
Thank you for your sensitivity to ALL God’s beloved. I sometimes wonder if too much attention is given to the differences in order to communicate the welcoming we feel towards LGBT community. I understand as well that the church and it’s schools/staff/membership need to have a time together to share and learn what more they can do/or BE towards the transgendered person in our midst.
Do we really have to state the specific person we welcome? Can’t we just say We Welcome All and let that stand? I suppose a council with persons who are in LGBT who may have feelings about this one way or another. I guess I believe everyone wants to be seen as normal, nothing unusual/different and treated accordingly.
I don’t know……… God bless you for searching for the best possible welcome statement.