It has been 10 months since my arrival in the Saint John the Divine and Church of the Holy Communion parishes. We do not yet know each other as intimately as I hope we will in the future. However, after 40 years in parish life I can state that some features are consistent across cultures, time and churches. One constant is that everything is always evolving, hopefully for the positive.
Our message never changes, but our methods and approaches must change to ensure that we answer Jesus' Great Commandment to trust God and serve others. We also have to remember that Jesus gave us the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. We must fulfill both if the parish is to become an outpost of the Kingdom of God on earth.
The speed of change has increased dramatically in the past 10 years (i.e. think of the smartphones, the internet and the growth of social media as clear examples.) As a result, I am convinced there is a feeling of urgency in society that was not present even 5 years ago.
The local parish’s continued sustainability is reaching a crisis point. I, however, take strength in the notion that the word “Crisis” in Chinese is formed by the combination of two symbols: “Dangerous” and “Opportunity.” Therefore, a Crisis is a “dangerous opportunity.”
In the coming weeks, I will share with you my own thoughts and those of others reflecting on our life together in the future. It will contain some difficult and hard truths, facts and observations; however, we need not be defeated or despairing. We trust in a God who saved Israel and the Reed Sea and raised Jesus from the dead.
Our Scripture is full of stories that demonstrate that God can work with very little to produce nothing than miraculous results. Think about it:
Our commission and mission to become who God is calling and expects involves:
I want this to be a two-way conversation, therefore, leave your comments below or