From the Rector

I am so grateful for the work of our Vestry last weekend at our annual retreat, and I give great thanks for Fr. Mike Michie, who preached a fantastic sermon in our absence, and also for all of your prayers for us. Every year I think it is the best retreat ever, and this year was no different. It was a time of relationship building, spiritual renewal, review of our strategic goals, and deep listening for where God may be leading us in the coming year.

Among the highlights of the weekend was a presentation by Mat Thekkil, Chair of the Capital Discernment Committee, who shared their findings after nearly 18 months of careful work. As you hopefully know, our campus is sizable (60,000sf of exclusively church-occupied buildings, plus another 60,000sf of buildings occupied by Parish Episcopal School’s Lower School), and it includes buildings that range in age from 10 to over 50 years old. Such an operation involves significant capital maintenance, and we know we have quite a lot to perform in coming years, including a mixture of deferred and anticipated projects that far exceed our ability to fund from the annual budget. The committee’s efforts and information have brought into greater clarity the importance of attending to our responsibilities as stewards of our buildings and grounds, so that future generations are blessed, rather than burdened, by our campus. More will be shared in coming weeks about the next steps, and we intend to pursue this patiently and carefully, so do please keep praying for your Vestry, and stay tuned.

One of the other highlights of the retreat was the telling of a Godly Play story by our Director of Children’s Ministries Cindy Hauser. Rather than trying to squeeze a single meaning or answer out of a Biblical story, Godly Play  invites us to wonder more openly and imaginatively about it, and thereby be open to all the ways God may be communicating with us through it. In case you didn’t know this, Cindy is a master storyteller, and she had a room full of adults leaning in to hear every word and ponder every wondering question. I encourage you to learn more about Godly Play, whether or not you have a young child in your home, because this way of encountering Scripture has the ability to richly bless your life and faith. Watch a Godly Play story being told here.

This weekend we’ll be doing some serious wondering of our own, as we hear part of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plain” (Luke 6:17-26), which is Luke’s version of the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:1-11). Part of it may sound quite familiar, as it includes a list of “blessed are you’s,” but these are definitely not the Beatitudes with which most of us are familiar. We’ll have to wonder quite carefully just what Jesus is teaching us, how this is good news, and how he would have us live in response.

Hope to see you soon.