Keep the Momentum!
This past month has seen a lot of momentum at Saint Michael: Annual giving is off to a great start, major projects for the Refresh project are nearing completion, new mid-week adult groups are flourishing, and our children are more active than they’ve been in years! Years ago, when I was active in Cursillo and Happening, we used to say, “The best is yet to come!” That’s how I feel about Saint Michael!
At the end of October, we celebrated work that we have done together this fall and began to look toward 2018. We elected new vestry and diocesan leadership at our Parish Meeting and began to dream about the kind of church we are becoming. It’s natural for churches to look back and fondly remember a time gone by, but what we are doing here is looking forward – and I don’t take that for granted.
Saint Michael may be approaching its 75th anniversary (that will be in 2020), but we are not resting on our laurels. There has been amazing work done together in this church, but so much is left to do. The creativity and vision I sense in the leadership of this church excites me and I’m proud to be a part of it.
As we look ahead, I’m reminded of the sermon the Rev. Mary Lessmann gave before our Parish Meeting. She spoke about the process of building cathedrals: Those who make the plans and begin to build are rarely ones who get to see the finished product. Instead, they begin their work knowing that they will only be a part of the journey. Those leaders and dreamers do all they can to start the race, and when its time, they hand the baton to the next generation, to the next group who will continue running.
Saint Michael is in that phase of her history right now. Amazing women and men have poured their spirit into building up this sacred community and those of us who are still here running the race have received their work as a gift for our future.
Speaking with some of his closest friends near the end of his life, St. Paul said, “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me: the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).” He understood that in the course of our lives, we should not expect to begin and end the sacred work of spreading God’s love in the world, we are simply called to do the work we have been given to do when we have been given it.
We are all called to that sacred work here at Saint Michael, and the momentum is building. We have received so much interest and energy from so many, manifested in higher attendance and engagement, as well as increased giving. You are not alone in this church community. The hopefulness of our future is activating so many and I want you to be a part of our future!
As we near the rush of the holidays, please remember what you can do to play your part in the work of spreading God’s grace in our world. In particular, I ask you to consider how you will invest yourself in the work we will do together next year. If you’ve made a commitment of money and ministry in the past, I want you to consider how you will deepen that commitment next year. If you’ve been attending but not investing, it’s time to jump in. The sacred mission Christ calls us into is not something we can achieve on our own. We need one another, and sharing the journey with fellow travelers at Saint Michael is a great way to go.
The year is coming to an end faster than many of us would hope, yet we still have time to make a difference in the lives of those around us, especially those who are most vulnerable. The future is bright and our task is clear. Our neighbors need the witness of this church more than ever, and the call we have to “testify to the good news of God’s grace” has been made to each of us. May we respond together with energy and hopefulness, and together, may our cry be Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
The Reverend Chris Girata, Rector