Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Newsletter Article

As I discussed in my previous newsletter article, the Church is currently in an unusually long period of ordinary time that we call Epiphany. This period of the church year focuses on searching for the meaning of Christ's manifestation in our lives. Christ is often made manifest in our midst, though we often fail to perceive Him or fully understand or appreciate what he is up to at the time.

As of January 30th, this parish had its Annual Meeting. The "take home" message that I hope was conveyed both in the Rector's Charge during the Sunday sermon and also in the Annual Meeting itself was the theme of looking at what Christ has done and is doing in our midst at this parish. I believe we have been blessed and will be blessed with both opportunities and challenges in the coming year.

In the past year we have had significant growth in the number of children attending the Wednesday church school. Likewise, we have had to implement and staff a parish nursery for the growing number of toddlers during the Liturgy of the Word on Sunday. In the coming year, we are also going to be focusing on growth in the form of enhancing our physical parish building with the possibility of adding an elevator and making St. Paul's into a handicapped accessible space.

You may be wondering what any of those things have to do with each other, and the answer is Epiphany. Christ is in our midst in the form of toddlers' faces. Christ will be found in our midst in the coming months in the faces of construction workers coming in and out when construction on the elevator project begins. As with any time Christ appears in the Gospels, people and situations are changed and sometimes even inconvenienced. Having toddlers waddling up the aisle during services while chewing on a prayerbook or the general messy bustle of construction projects will no doubt try our collective patience from time to time as Christ no doubt tried the patience of his disciples on occasion.

We must always keep sight of what a blessing of grace it is to have Christ so visibly active in our midst even when we cannot see Christ from time to time due to the busyness of parish life. This coming year, let us go forth to love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit, for he is truly manifest in our midst, whether we perceive him at work or not.


Upnorfjoel said...

First time visitor Archer, and I enjoyed this post.

Several years ago when I belonged to an Episcopal Church in SE Michigan, we decided that an elevator was way past due in our 50year old building. And also like you, we were experiencing a little spurt in the number of young families with little kids that were joining.

As Senior Warden of the Vestry, I heard many negative comments from parishioners who really questioned the prioritizing of the elevator within our tight finances. They aren't cheap, as you've probably discovered by now!

Once it was completed, I almost fell in with those naysayers, because the people we felt that we had really built it for, seemed almost reluctant to use it, whether out of embarassment or whatever, and the one group in the building that LOVED using it were all of the little kids! But rather than trying to curb that, we enlisted some of them to be "operators" and urge some of the older folks, and those with mobility issues to climb aboard with them. Well, the little ones were great sales people and before long the elevator was humming all of the time with its intended use.

Funny how things work out sometimes!

The Archer of the Forest said...

Surprisingly, we have very few, if any, naysayers to the project. I think most people are fully aware of several people currently or who have died in the past few years, that desperately need an elevator but can't physically come to church otherwise.

Elevators are not cheap, that's for sure, but we certainly do need it. I may use your idea of little elevator operators. I imagine that will be a problem.