April 19, 2020
We Continue or Welcome to the Crucible
We received 119 ballots in our recent vestry election. What a testament to the importance our congregation attaches to continuing such an important element of our parish life. Our three new vestry members are: Kent Avery, Kevin Floresca, and Cheryl Timmons. Their first vestry meeting is April 27. I know you’ll join me in welcoming them to their new posts and pray also that the Lord gives them wisdom, peace, and a sense of His vision as they begin their work. Please offer that same prayer for the other members of the vestry.
The vestry election was to have been held along with our annual meeting, on March 15. Three days before that, the governor issued an order closing the schools. Last summer, in rapid succession, we learned that our rector was leaving, and that our request for a mortgage for our new building was denied. And so, the image of the crucible; a word used to describe “a melting pot used for extremely hot chemical reactions — the crucible needs to be melt-proof. Literally, a crucible is a vessel used for very hot processes, like fusing metals.” Yet another meaning of the word is “a very significant and difficult trial or test.” Welcome to the crucible.
When we are tested we look for results. How well have we done? Are we making progress? Or, is this test just too much for us?
Well, let’s take a look at where we are. The state of the congregation is strong, from its continued faithful giving to the encouraging discussions that emerge from our phone ministry calls. Without a place to worship, we have persevered in having worship services, including two extra services during Holy Week. We are beginning to use the same technology to bring together our Bible study groups. Our new rector? He’ll be with us in about six weeks and the Lord will bless him to lead us during the next phase of our continued growth. Our new building? The Lord has blessed us with property and funds once unimagined and we’ll look to Him through prayer to bring us home.
While we are Immanuel, there might be another name for our congregation: The parish that survived the crucible. There will be other tests and always occasion to turn to the Lord, but he has shown us how strong in our faith we can be.
John 21 speaks to events after the Resurrection when Jesus appeared to the disciples at the Sea of Galilee. Some had been out all night, fishing and came back tired and with empty nets. Jesus asked them: “Children, have you any food?” They answered no. Jesus said to them: “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” And they did, “and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.” The Lord provides; provides as only He can.