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.