Happy August! I hope and pray that the summer is going well for each of you and that you and your families are able to enjoy some restful and restorative time together before summer comes to an end. There are fewer parish events and activities happening during these summer months, and I’m grateful for this slower pace that gives the vestry and staff more time for planning purposes. I thought you might be interested in the following questions and answers.
What’s happening with the parish discernment process in response to the closing of the school?
The discernment process will involve at least two components: first, a careful inward look at who we are and the gifts we have to offer at this moment in our life together; and then, based on that information, a wider conversation with our local community to determine how St. Andrew’s can best partner with our neighbors to address needs in our community. The vestry has hired Ms. Caroline Black, recently retired Canon for Formation for our diocese, as a consultant to guide us in our planning and to help facilitate the discernment process. Discernment takes time, and our process will continue to evolve as we listen to one another and to the Holy Spirit at work in our midst.
It is crucial that parishioners understand how the discernment process will work. To that end, the vestry has decided to offer a Parish Discernment Introduction meeting at three different times within one week in late September:
- 7:00 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 25
- 10 AM on Wednesday, Sept. 26
- 9:15 AM on Sunday, Sept. 30
The same material will be covered at each of the three meetings. Please make every effort to be present for one of these Introduction sessions so that we can all begin on the same page.
What happened to “Being and Becoming”?
We started the “Being and Becoming” conversation before we knew that St. Andrew’s Episcopal School would be closing, and then we paused in our work in order to attend to the closing of the school and the beginning of discernment. My sense is that our work of discerning together can’t help but incorporate at least some of the three goals of “Being and Becoming”:
- Being Church
- Offering intentional, authentic relationships with God and others, even across the usual divides
- Re-engaging in our neighborhood
Once our discernment is over and our new mission(s) started, we can reassess which of the “Being and Becoming” goals, if any, still need our attention.
What happened to “Coffee and Conversation”?
John and I are still eager to have parishioners come to our home for Coffee and Conversation. We plan to compile a list of dates and begin extending invitations once the schedule for the parish discernment process has been decided. We anticipate resuming Coffee and Conversation in October or November.
As we walk through these warm days of August together, my prayer is that God will continue to bless and guide us, individually and collectively. May we seek to love and serve both God and our neighbors, and may we remember that we are held at all times in the palm of God’s hand.