Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to pause long enough from your frantic pace to be thankful. It’s easy to be busy, but it’s surprisingly hard to remember to be grateful. Even in summer, when everything is supposed to slow down, it can still feel like I’m hurrying all the time. Even if I can’t shorten my lists, I can make a point to take a break occasionally and look back upon all that for which I’m thankful.
So this morning, that’s what I’m doing. I want to start by saying thank you to the whole team that put on Vacation Bible School. Last week we hosted a week-long event for nearly 100 pre-K and elementary-school aged kids. This included nearly 20 kids from St. Philip’s School and Community Center (our ministry partner in South Dallas), several kids from Parish Episcopal School, and several more that came because they were invited by parishioners! It all was possible because of the incredible work of Cindy Hauser, our Director of Children’s Ministries, and a team of 70(!!) volunteers, who created a fun and deeply formative experience (one little boy told me it was better than his Lego Star Wars Summer Camp, which is HIGH PRAISE in my book).
I also want to thank the Episcopal Men’s Fellowship, which raised nearly $30,000 at their Fish Fry and Auction in early June. That money will be distributed in grants to various ministries over the next year, strengthening and supporting our work as a church. The men have fun together, but they recognize their calling to serve as well as enjoy one another’s company, and I am grateful for their impact.
I am thankful to the staff, who have remained patient and steadfast as we’ve made several changes in recent weeks. We now have a new Parish Administrator, Sophie Lowrance, a new Bookkeeper, Mary Hall, a new Curate, Shea Gilliland, and a new deacon, Ginny Kivel. But despite the transition, the office remains vibrant, effective, and responsive. You are most welcome to stop by sometime and say hello, as the team strives to serve and support you.
I am thankful to the Vestry, who are beginning to navigate the work of pursuing our strategic goals. If you haven’t read the goals yet, they’re posted in the Gathering Space and available here. We were extremely ambitious when we set these, but nearly six months in and we’re seeing progress already, something I largely attribute to our hard-working Vestry.
I’m thankful for the 18 pilgrims with whom I traveled to the Holy Land, and to our church for making it possible for me to share in that experience. We’ll have a presentation on Sunday, July 16 at 5:00 p.m., and I hope you’ll attend. You can also check out some of my pictures from the trip here.
And I’m thankful for the people who I hear about all the time, summer or not, doing sacrificial, loving, generous things in our city and world: volunteering to teach English at Gateway of Grace; cooking for families at Genesis Women’s Shelter; helping our growing Food Distribution Center (3,000 lbs of food given away this past Monday!); going on medical mission to the Dominican Republic; taking care of a vulnerable refugee who needed a new apartment; and on and on. The stories I hear about what you’re doing in the world are inspiring and hopeful and, it seems to me, more important than ever.
See y’all this weekend.