He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt 22:37-40
Baptisms: (under 16 years old) 5
We begin our 3rd year now.
Last year I stood before you and talked about all of the accomplishments we had made and the plans we were laying to infuse energy into different ministries and programs. Instead of naming all of the ways we have grown this year, I’m going to thank a few people, mention a few of our accomplishments, and then I’m going to very plainly set before you a task.
Thank you to all of our Christian Education teachers - children, youth, and adult. Without your commitments our children would not be learning the traditions of our Christianity and our particular ways of worship and relating to God. And our adults would not have such a wonderful and open community to grow and test our own beliefs, theories, and needs.
I give thanks for all of you who have participated in our Outreach opportunities and supported the family of God near and far. If we cannot or will not care for each other we have missed God’s message entirely.
I give thanks for all of you who have given your time talent and money to mission of St. Theodore’s and the Church at large. Any of you who have served on a committee, guild, or shown up to give thanks and praise to God.
I give thanks to our Vestry, who has worked tirelessly, for your dedication to lead this parish. I want to especially say thank you to Sue Scott, our Sr. Warden, for your friendship and relentless care for this parish. I also want to say a special thank you to Al Addington, Gary Creakbaum, and Sarah Nelson for their last three years of service on the Vestry. Take a break, you deserve it. But know that I’m coming for you soon, your work is not finished.
Also, I think it is important to again recognize the accomplishment of this parish for it’s hard work in paying off our mortgage, congratulations again.
Now, it is time for all of us to get to work!
About midway through each year, I read a study done by the Alban Institute at Duke University on the first 10 years of ministry in a priest’s call. The study takes a look at what “the norm” or expectations and relationships between priests and parishes. I won’t go through them all, but year one is about simply figuring out what key opens what door, figuratively and often literally. It is also the “Honeymoon” year. Year two is figuring how how to extend the honeymoon - who doesn’t want to do that, right? Still, a few changes are made institutionally and some of the faces begin to change.
Now, to year three, “Hitting your stride”. It comes with clarity of roles, knowing what needs to get done and what doesn’t, relationships have been built with many - but more are to come. And then comes a warning. Be careful, it says, about making too clearly known the direction which you (that’s Vestry and Rector) want to lead the church. Creative resistance will occur the study warns.
Well, if you don’t know by now, I’ve never heeded warnings well. So I’m going to tell you about what WE are going to DO. But, you should know, it is not my idea, it’s yours. In the Holy Cow report that his parish completed as a part of its profile one of the top things stated was that you (and now we) wanted to invite more people to be apart of this parish to share in the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.
That is my focus, and just this past Wednesday night, your Vestry agreed that it would be ours. With that I would like to introduce two mantras that you will hear over and over and over and over again in the next 12 to 18 months. The first is “Seek to Serve” - it’s really simple and really, really important. Sue will give you much more about this in a few minutes and days, and weeks, and months to come. The second is “Come and See”. You’ve heard me use this several times and yes, it is biblical. I’ve been gently introducing this so that it becomes something you know well. And it is with these words that I will tell you that I have appointed Mike and Shirley Sheets to head our “Come and See” initiative. You will be hearing from them soon about what this initiative will do for our parish and how you will be involved.
I will leave you with this. This is your Church, what it will be, how it will answer the call of God - to “Come and See” and to be “The hands and feet of Christ in the world” or to “Seek to Serve” is up to you. I greatly want to walk that path with each of you.
Fr. Will +