Sunday, May 06 2018
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:9-12)
Leslie Valentine led a vestry retreat last Sunday to look at our mission statement using a theological reflection. This is a method of seeing the world through four different lenses. We looked at our mission statement to “Know Christ and Make Him Known.” Leslie used the invitation method of hearing all voices that was created by Eric Law. Each member invited another to respond to questions such as: what we love about St. John’s and what the mission statement says in different contexts. We reflected on the action, tradition, culture, and personal statements of the group. We ended with a look at where God is calling our church to be in the future. The entire session was surrounded by prayer.
I want to share a few of the group’s answers and ask you to respond to the questions yourself. The vestry loves St. John’s for its: spiritual growth; people; personal relationships; music; fellowship; warmth; love; spiritual family; pursuit of ministries; acceptance/community; generous spirit; use of gifts; family; hospitality; generosity; children who are our treasure; a beautiful place; support; fellowship; morning prayer; and a great place to raise a child.
Our vision for the future is: more diversity; younger, open minded, invested people who have a purpose; to be more evangelistic; growth in attendance; becoming a community center; allowing organic diversity in leadership; a center of life in our community; building community for our youth; keeping our building in good repair for future generations; a clear mission and purpose; and to do these things while retaining our traditions.
If you are interested in deepening your own spirituality, I highly recommend signing up for “Education for Ministry” next fall. Starting in September, the classes are held on Monday nights and the community that is formed is a model for all committees and groups at St. John’s. EFM does require a fair amount of reading each week, but many of our graduates tell me that it is the best class that they have ever joined. There will be an inquirers class on Tuesday, June 19th at 6:45 pm. If you would like to know more about the program, please contact Leslie Valentine.
We are called to love one another as God has loved us. We need to be a reflection of God’s love to one another. The vestry retreat was very uplifting because our vision of the future is very bright. I am very thankful for being in the midst of such a terrific group of people that really care about each other and those who are less fortunate in our community. If you are a new member, I invite you to attend a special service in your honor on May 20th. We want to thank you for joining this wonderful parish and we want to get to know you better.
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Duncan Burns