Friday, April 13, 2018

An Easter People

The last several weeks have been extremely busy for all of us preparing for and experiencing the most important liturgies of the Church's year. As wonderful as Holy Week and Easter Day are, they are also emotionally and physically exhausting, and so when the vestry members and I arrived at the Nicholas Center for our vestry retreat, I wasn't sure how much energy we would have left to do the hard work of planning for the parish's future. Perhaps it would have been more sensible for us to rest for a couple of weeks before tackling this huge responsibility; but the retreat center was available, that weekend was the most convenient for the vestry members, and we didn't want to wait too long and risk losing the momentum and intimacy we had built during Lent.

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.

Easter blessings,
Fr. Ethan+

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