We welcome many visitors throughout the year. When visitors are known to us, clergy and staff welcome them directly and through the work of the Congregational Development Team. When I speak with newcomers about their experience at St. Peter’s, almost all remark on the beauty of our worship.
The hard work of following Jesus, effecting change, and being a place of radical love, welcome, and hope, cannot be possible without the gift of community. This fall let us nurture our community buy being together to “rest for a while,” to learn from one another, and to fellowship more deeply. May our times of fellowship and rest renew and strengthen us for the work of the gospel.
Anyone who has worked on a church staff knows the frustration and the gift of interruption. During staff meetings we learn that someone is in crisis. On our way to coffee hour we hear about an unexpected death. Preparing to begin our Sunday morning class we learn that a member of our community is desperately in need. Each interruption is not a distraction, but an opportunity to refocus, to remember our purpose and mission as the Church.
The journey of Christian formation begins with baptism. But baptism is the beginning and Christian formation does not end with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for children or Journey to Adulthood for youth. No Christian ever “graduates” from the Church, even in death.
The legacy of Absalom Jones is profound. Known for his speaking skills, he galvanized the Episcopal Church toward equality long before emancipation. The Feast of Absalom Jones is February 13, and there are several opportunities to celebrate his life at St. Peter’s.
As the New Year dawns and as each of us reflect on resolutions and opportunities for 2018, I hope you will consider how you might give of your time, your talent, and your treasure to support this vibrant corner of God’s Kingdom. Christ has no body now on earth, but yours.
As Episcopalians, we have the gift of the Baptismal Covenant in the Book of Common Prayer, and when faced with “compassion fatigue,” when faced with the question of whether to act or pray, when we can simply look to our baptism for the answer. The answer is both. In the Baptismal Covenant, we promise to continue in worship, fellowship, and the sacraments.
The culmination of God’s mission in the world is reconciliation, and reconciliation looks like justice and love. But the hard work of living more deeply into the love of God, the love of neighbor, and the love of self must be learned. We all have opportunities to discover how to deepen our commitments to Christ’s call, but we cannot do it alone.
I am grateful to St. Peter’s for continuing education opportunities which allow clergy and staff to participate in such conferences. Above all, I am grateful for our shared life of worship, music, and outreach: where we gather for beautifully inspiring worship, encounter God’s grace in the sacraments, and are sent out into the world to be agents of God’s kingdom and love.
Sharing in the faith of Christ does not require assenting to a set of intellectual statements. Sharing in the faith of Christ simply requires that we show up and allow our souls to be transformed by Jesus.