Greetings beloved St. Georgians,
I hope your Advent season is off to a good start. Remember the many offerings at St. George’s this season to help us slow down and find our spiritual foundation in a world that can often feel uprooted.
This Sunday we gather for the “annual parish meeting.” By canon law, parishioners are required to meet once per year for the purpose of electing new members to the vestry, the lay leadership board of the congregation. Other than that, there are no official requirements for this meeting. Many parishes use the occasion to share reports on the activities of the parish. It is a good thing to do, a chance to celebrate, share news, and give thanks. I wonder, though, if we might use this occasion to go even deeper as a community.
I have been reading a fascinating book, Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block. Essentially the book is about creating communities that move forward into a new future together, appreciating everyone’s gifts and caring for the whole. Although it is not “Christian,” it definitely connects with our concepts of living into God’s kingdom. Block suggests that a leader’s role is to convene and enable the community to do its work together in transformative ways. As your rector, I want to bring us together for this annual meeting in a way that knits us closer. We will have some reports, but I will invite us to focus on “inspiration” as well as “information.” I’ll have more to say during the sermon-time on Sunday and at the meeting at 10:00 in Sydnor Hall. For now, I ask you to pray with me over three questions (based somewhat on one of our texts for Sunday, Philippians 1:9):
- How is the love of God flowing freely in and around our congregation?
- How might we share in God’s love more abundantly?
- What gifts do you/others bring that will help St. George’s as we respond to these questions together?
As you pray about whom God is calling to serve on our vestry, keep these questions in mind. Please join us on Sunday for this annual meeting. I am excited to call us together and to see where the Holy Spirit moves as we gather.
Your brother in Christ,
P.S. Since this article was written, the news of shootings in San Bernadino, CA reminds us of the need to stand together in a world that is so often divided by violence. St. George’s, in partnership with our Muslim neighbors, is inviting the wider community to gather for a “prayer vigil for healing and unity” on Dec. 4, 2015, at 7 p.m. in the St. George’s nave. It will be a simple service, probably half an hour or so. The important thing is that we come together in this time of escalating tension as a witness to God’s redeeming and reconciling love.