Loving God, we thank you for the gifts with which you have blessed us, especially readiness for change and joyful courage for the journey we are on. May we be guided by your Holy Spirit as we reflect on the decisions we face. Help us to follow Jesus, serving our brothers and sisters as he would have us serve them, within our congregation, beyond our walls, into our community and the world. Be in our hearts and minds now and ever more. Amen.
In the Midst of a Grace-ful Transition
We are a church in transition, not just because we are seeking a new rector, but because the Vestry, with the support of the Discernment Team, has invited all of us to go deeper in articulating the calling people are feeling individually and as a congregation. Instead of becoming immersed in the mystery of who we will call to serve as our new rector, we have looked at where God seems to be calling Grace in our next season of life. We trust the Holy Spirit to inspire and guide us, and in doing so we have strengthened and defined our structures, we feel God’s spirit with us more deeply, and we offer ourselves in service, as Jesus did.
We have looked at our internal and external ministries and thoughtfully searched for ways to be more effective sharing Jesus’ love and compassion with each other and with the world. We have elected more members to the Vestry to expand lay leadership, and members of the Vestry have claimed more direct responsibility for the ministries that make up our life as a church. Our staff structure has changed and evolved to include a full-time person responsible for supporting pastoral care, formation for all ages, and outreach. Each of these actions has made us stronger.
In recent months we have brought people together for graceful conversations in people’s homes. When asked what Grace means to them, the word our members repeated over and over is home. We explored our relationships over time and how we have come to be a multigenerational community dedicated to mutual support along life’s journey. New members and members of many decades have enriched our understanding of what it means to be a church. We have learned how much we enjoy asking rich questions and really hearing each other’s stories. Such work has opened Scripture and Worship to us in new, exciting ways.
All ages at Grace are eager to find ways to serve as Jesus served. We have begun to ask more questions of ourselves: What are we here for? What do we want to happen? What does Jesus’ call to us look like in action? We are very proud of our youth and their adult companions on the annual mission trip to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. We have a growing team of helpers who assist with the food ministries in our diocese. At our annual meeting we heard several suggestions of how to include members of every age in the services we provide. Outreach has become a vital and important aspect of our life together. While the outreach team has sought to focus on fewer ministries, we are doing that with increased determination and with our eyes more focused on our community’s needs.
Now we turn our attention to discerning who might best lead us into the future we are beginning to imagine.
As a team discerning God's plan for our church, we are entering the second phase of our search process. We open ourselves to God in prayer and ask for the Holy Spirit's guidance. Even as we are discerning our future, so will the candidates for rector be prayerfully discerning what God wants for them.
The Rev. Canon Doris Westfall, Canon to the Ordinary, has responsibil…Read More »