Friday, April 13, 2018
It turns out that we still had energy--A LOT OF ENERGY--for the work before us. We did talk about mission and evangelism, including multigenerational Latino ministry, but mostly we shared deeply personal things about our lives; and we discovered as we told our stories, that each of us had arrived at St. Helena's, because someone had invited us. That was a key discovery, and we agreed that our primary focus moving forward needed to be an exploration of different ways to invite new people to join us, just as we had been invited.
We realized that telling the stories of our spiritual journeys and inviting people were intimately connected, and once we had connected those dots, we began to connect others. Our imaginations ran wild, and we began writing all of our hopes for the church on a white board, from grandiose projects for improving the building to smaller goals like holding hands during the Lord's Prayer at 9 am or restoring the labyrinth. This twenty-four-hour conversation was only the first of many, and we will be encouraging all of you to imagine and dream with us. There is virtually no limit to the things we can create, if we simply give ourselves permission to believe in them. That is what it means to believe in the new life that Jesus's resurrection has made possible. That is what it means to be Easter people.
This Holy Week and Easter Day have been the best of my life, because all of you responded to my invitation to be vulnerable and to share your deep stories of faith. You have showed me and others, your feet, your wounds, your scars, and your Good News of new life, as I have showed you mine. Vulnerability and authenticity are best foundations I know for building a healthy and vibrant congregation. We have survived much, and that has given us the strength to explore this new life at St. Helena's, which we marked on Sunday with the dedication of our new sign, a wonderful gift from our sisters and brothers at Grace Episcopal Church in Hinsdale.
During Eastertide, we will be focusing on our new life in a variety of ways. Today, our vestry will begin its two-day retreat on evangelism and mission at the Nicholas Center downtown. Adult and children's formation will focus on deepening our understanding (and practice) of our Baptismal Covenant. We will host a number of community events, including our Day of the Children celebration with a kung fu demonstration and folkloric dancers on April 29, followed by the Blessing of the Bikes on May 6. And we will begin our work on our evanglism grant from the Episcopal Church on sacred storytelling. I hope that all of you will help us to continue the momentum of our Lenten and Holy Week experience, so that we can all be signs of the abundant life that Jesus has given us.