Monday, January 13, 2014

So much happening

I feel the need to write, but can honestly say I don't quite know what to say.  This last six months has been a whirl of activity and colour, life, questions, worship, prayer, discover, reinforcement and faith, hope and love.  I feel very warmly welcomed and quickly at home here as part of the congregation of St John the Divine, as part of this Diocese of British Columbia and in this city of Victoria.

Sketch by Martin Machacek.
The Church is active, vibrant, welcoming and alive.  The people who I am fortunate enough to count as colleagues are dedicated and fun to work with, those who give so much time in voluntary service to the Church are committed and faithful.  There are many activities which take place in the course of each week and the church offers a variety of worship, groups, events, ministries and social action. 

Of course it's not perfect, nor is the Rector who serves it.  But we, together, are seeking to celebrate those aspects of the life of the Church which are life-giving, and to consider what we can do to make our ministry and our community a place which will continue to serve and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ for many years to come.

St John's is a growing Church - not just in the new faces that seem to appear every week, but in a desire to learn together, to worship together and to keep serving one another and the world around.  We are building community, we are seeking to be a place of love, inclusion, welcome and faith.

It feels as though, a few months in, we are at a point where I feel I have a grasp of much of what is going on, and a fair amount of what has gone on in this church.  People have worked hard to make sure I am aware of the identity of St John's and to express to me what they appreciate about what has been and what is.  We are considering who we are, and where we are going and that is not always comfortable, though it can be very rewarding!

I have made some changes, which I talked about on the church blog.  They are to my mind small changes (the reintroduction of a confession and creed to our main services) but they say something about being a part of a bigger scene; the Anglican tradition, and a part of the historical church. At some point I need to write something here or on the staff blog about why exactly I think that confession isn't about an obsession with being bad people, but about acknowledging the brokenness of the world, and our complicity in systems which are often destructive, that will be another conversation, though.  One that goes along with my ongoing thoughts about 'sin' which I blogged about a few weeks back

Having made those changes, and done some adjusting of our monthly Iona service, though I feel I need to keep restating something I have been saying for much of my ministry: I am not trying to create change for the sake of change.  If there are things about the life of the Church which are good and positive, whether they be traditional or innovative, established or recent, I wouldn't want to sweep them away just because I think things should be different.  Often I don't.  But where there are things which distract us from who we are, where we do things 'just because that's what we've done before' I want to ask 'why?' and whether those things need changing, leaving behind, working on, affirming or adjusting.

Change is disturbing, and distressing for many people. For others it is enlivening and exciting.  I hope that as we address any need to change, and any need to stay the same, we will continue to listen to one another, to who we are, to who we could be,  And that the God who remains steadfast through all of this will help us to find our faith in one another and in Godself,

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