(If at first you don’t succeed…)
This Sunday is our Annual Meeting. For the second year in a row, we will not be able to gather together in the way we want…. (Wait a second, am I having déjà vu? Isn’t this what I wrote last week…?)
Seriously though – this upcoming Sunday we will indeed have our Annual Meeting immediately after the service at Gray’s and via livestream! I hope you have had the opportunity to read the Annual Report. The only business we will conduct will be hearing reports from the Rector and the Chair of the Finance Committee, answering questions, giving a vote of acclamation for the Vestry Candidates, and decommissioning and commissioning our Vestry Members.
Even though the Annual Meeting will be abbreviated, it is still an important part of our life together—remembering what has transpired in the past year, understanding our present situation, and orienting ourselves toward God’s future for us. Regarding our future, here are four practices I believe the Lord is inviting us to cultivate this year.
Reflective Listening: Jesus wants to cultivate in us fresh ways of listening to Him, to each other, and to our neighbors – listening and responding to a person’s heart, rather than merely hearing and reacting to words.
Creative Connecting: We need to cultivate life-giving ways of spending time together. These have been disconnecting and lonely days!
Intentional Diversity: We are an Intergenerational, Intercultural, and Interpersonal church with a unique opportunity to cultivate interactions between these generations, cultures, and individuals. There are mutual gifts to share, stories to hear, and wisdom to receive that will further shape us as a Kingdom Community.
Adventurous Thinking: Where we’re going is not where we’ve been, so we’re called to cultivate new ways of being, thinking, and doing. As we engage the challenges of our future, “the answer is not to try harder, but to start a new adventure…to learn and be transformed. What is needed? An adventure that requires adaptive capacity” (from Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger).
I will elaborate on each of these on Sunday, beginning a conversation that will continue throughout the year.
May the Lord continue shaping us as Immanuel, a church that lives as “God with us for the sake of others.”
Your Pastor in Christ,
P.S. What a wonderful service our Zoom Eucharist turned out to be! Almost 100 people attended, and it was good to see so many mask-less faces and hear so many voices and worship our Triune God in this way. Thank you for your graciousness and flexibility, and thanks to those who made it possible.