“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
As I prepare to leave for my sabbatical in Dublin and Italy, I am aware that you here at home will be doing the important work of discernment. At this point in the history of the parishes of St Paul’s and Trinity churches, the sister parishes have learned more and more to value the gifts that each congregation offers. Further, your leadership has developed a way of working together which honors individuality while building collegiality. So it is no real surprise to see that now, when Trinity and St Paul’s are thinking strategically about your future, that you should do so in consultation with your closest friend and sister. And it is in that spirit of cooperation that I believe you will find answers for the future that come from your imaginations rather than a sense of fear or scarcity.
As most know, the joint visioning committee has been chosen. Daryl Moy and Tam Hernández are the co-chairs. The members are: Cameron Beaudreault, Dr. Kellie Ishmael, Jo Ann McGrath, Mark Monroe, Cecilia Quintero, and Melanie Rowe. Please pray for their work and for our consulting leader the Rev. Bill Cruse who comes to us from the Kaleidoscope Institute.
Please know that this committee has not been charged with lassoing one congregation and dragging it (either up or down the hill) to become just like the other; rather they have been asked to look at the years ahead with the eyes of imagination in order to perceive things which are now invisible (even to us). And they cannot do this without you.
Soon and very soon you will receive an invitation to the first of three joint church gatherings. The first will take place while I am away. Its subject will be history. I know you will believe me when I say that it is most difficult for me to be away while you share this experience. In fact, it pushes all my control buttons to be out of the loop at this time. BUT this is your process and with God’s help you will walk it. Just know that I will be praying that day. (And oh, enjoying the Italian sunshine!)
We in the modern church do not know what these lean church times mean but we can feel the pressure. The question, however, is not what do they mean but rather how are we called to respond. And I can tell you one thing: the old model of Episcopal Church competition is over. It was “diabolical” in the classic sense. Meaning that it fractured the body of Christ into smaller competing cells.
Today we are called into “symbolic” relationship where we draw together to support each other and share strength in order to serve the world. That is what this process is all about, hearing God’s call together.
So blessings, and love, and respect to all as you ponder. And please remember as you confer to put on those Superman eyes in order to see what is currently invisible.