Bishop Michael Hanley will be with us this Sunday, December 9 for the Sacrament of Confirmation. At our service of worship, two individuals will be confirmed, four received into the Episcopal Church, and two will renew their Baptismal vows. This is a significant event in the life of St. Luke’s and comes at a time of joyful expectation as we approach the conclusion of our Interim period. Please plan to be present to greet your Bishop and stand with your friends as they commit themselves to the continued work of the church.
It seems wonderfully appropriate that the work of our Search Committee should be reaching its conclusion during the season of Advent when we wait expectantly for the arrival of our Lord’s Nativity. This past Sunday, Debbie Kohler, Chair of the Committee announced that they will be recommending a candidate to the Vestry for their consideration as next Rector of St. Luke’s. This is a time that we have been waiting and working toward for two years; an exciting time, to be sure, but one also accompanied by uneasiness.
Transition times are always accompanied by some anxiety, an anxiety caused by our uncertainty about what comes next. But this anxiety can be dispelled by two factors – first, a rehearsal of things already known and second, a commitment to a common stance going forward.
We know, for instance, that God has been present and active in our interim period. Our congregation has grown, nourishing and enriching programs for children, teens, and youth have begun and are flourishing, new opportunities for worship and service have been embraced, and an attitude of despair has been dispelled and replaced with joyful expectation. We know that the Profile Committee prepared an accurate and hopeful self-portrait and updated that portrait as we grew. We know that the Search Committee has taken their charge seriously and prayerfully and was committed to finding an individual that would best serve the parish. We know that the Bishop and the Canon to the Ordinary carefully screened potential applicants for suitability prior to passing their names on to the Search Committee. All these things are certain and give us confidence about the days ahead.
However, our greatest source assurance of our future vitality lies in our determination to make our ministry with our new Rector a success.
But what makes a successful minister? Is a successful minister primarily concerned with everyone’s happiness? One who never says anything controversial? One who singlehandedly attracts new members? One who is a brilliant fund raiser? The one with the most dazzling sermons? One who gives until they themselves are depleted?
I don’t think so. I think that the successful minister is the one who has the commitment of the members to seek success together. The truth of ministry is that it is a mutual endeavor – we never succeed alone, but in concert with those who work with us to create the Kingdom.
Our interim time has been a success because we worked together to make it so. Your new Rector will succeed brilliantly because you are committed to succeeding together.
On what might be the coldest morning of the new winter, I walked around the outside of the Church, hands thrust deep into my pockets and shoulders braced against the withering wind. To my surprise, I find this gorgeous little snapdragon blooming under the protection of a little shrub up against the south side of the building. I have no idea who planted it there, nor how long ago it was set in the earth, but it has survived the ravages of icy wind to bloom and cheer my day. I’m reminded that no act of kindness is ever lost and that we plant hope in spite of the presence of the cold and wind.
Speaking of things floral, the Altar Guild would like to invite members of the congregation to bring poinsettias to decorate the Church for Christmas on Sunday December 23, when we will green the sanctuary following worship.
Pointing the Way
After an absence of some years, St. Luke’s is once again a visible presence on Powell Avenue. Our new sign points the way to the sanctuary highlighted by a bright red post. Thanks go to Jim Stumpf for the beautiful powder coated signpost, and to Sid Welch, Steve Terry and Jos Gonzales for the installation.