Dear Friends in Christ,
I am delighted to offer my first report as the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, and my thanks to you all for inviting me to continue this journey of faith with you all.
This comes, however, at a time of challenge and of accomplishment, of change and of opportunity.
At last week’s Vestry meeting, we adopted a budget that reflects significant challenges to our parish.
We will need to discern how to change our ways in order to live within our means, while continuing to press on towards our mission of sharing the good news of Christ with the city of Euclid and its neighbors.
We can take courage from the visible signs of growth and accomplishment that surround us. The Community Meal has strengthened in numbers and in community cohesion during the past year. We have begun to reap the benefits of our Capital Campaign; it is a delight to be able to meet safely in our Undercroft, without stumbling down the stairs. This morning, we will commission a remarkable number of licensed lay ministers – proof positive that the Spirit of God is not done with this parish or its people: we are being called and sent to do the work of the Gospel in all sorts of ways.
At the Vestry meeting, one of our members declared, “I am not afraid to try anything any more.” The most common admonition in the Bible is just that, “Do not be afraid.”
We are in a time of challenge; we do not need to be afraid. God is not done with us, and we are far from done with God or one another.
Change challenges us, but it can also be a time of opportunity. It is an opportunity to look beyond the way that we have always done things and dream of something new. It is an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments, and what we do well, and where our energy flows, and to discern what those things may tell us about where God is calling us next.
We will begin some of that discernment today. It will be the work of this year’s Vestry to reflect on your input, to continue to pray and to plan, and to work towards a new footing, sure of the grace and provision of God to make it solid.
For, “God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains be toppled into the sea;
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.” – Psalm 46