Trusting Enough to Rest
A Pastoral Note from Fr. Greg,
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Tomorrow is Trinity Sunday, our feast day. Bishop Wright will be with us for a parish forum on outreach at 9:15, then we will have one service at 10:30 and it will be full of joy and celebration. We’ll have a baptism and 3 confirmations. We have special music galore, including a newly written piece by Will Buthod in honor of Estelle Hinde’s decades of service as clerk of the vestry. After the service we’re having a cookout and an outdoor bluegrass concert. This will be a big and glorious day!
And after it is over, it will be time to rest.
In the last few weeks I have become more and more convinced that we need to rest this summer. Not the clergy, not the staff, not the vestry - all of us.
When we closed the doors of our buildings in March of 2020, we absorbed the emotional blow and the deep uncertainty of what the future would hold. Then we learned how to have church on Zoom. Then we learned how to have very occasional services outside. Then we learned how to have regular services on the plaza and then down in the courtyard, while keeping up a hybrid of outdoor and online services. Then we stopped the online services and had a hybrid of indoor and outdoor services. Then we went almost completely inside and focused on rebuilding our rosters and schedules of ministers. Then it was Easter 2022.
And all the while that was happening, we were establishing a new PORCH ministry, and a new Freeze Shelter ministry, and keeping up (even increasing!) our financial support, and we were caring for one another, and burying our dead and marrying our newlyweds.
AND while that was going on, you were experiencing similar levels of disruption at your school, at your work, in your homes, and with your extended families. Churches did not experience a special kind of disruption - we just endured together what you were also experiencing in the rest of your life.
But WE held together. Y’ALL held together. You came back and you never left all at the same time, and your faithfulness has convinced me to trust that y’all will come back after a slowed down schedule over the summer.
We’re not canceling Sunday services or shutting down core ministries. There are still plenty of things that need tending. But we need to slow down, cut out the non-essential things for a couple of months, and rest. And reflect. And get ready for the fall!
Beginning June 13th, the day after Trinity Sunday, you will see a few changes in our parish calendar and I hope you will consider making similar changes in your own ministries.
- Online Morning and Evening Prayer will be suspended until the fall.
- The 10am Wednesday morning group will be suspended until the fall.
- The staff will meet once a week instead of our usual twice-weekly schedule.
- The Beloved Trinity group will be on hiatus until the fall.
- Children’s formation, youth formation, and the Going Deeper class have just started their summer break.
- Our Wednesday 11am healing service, and our monthly eucharist at Park Springs, will continue as usual.
We have lots of things to focus on this fall. It’ll be time to re-establish our newcomers lunches, our Inquirer’s Classes, and confirmation classes; to rebuild our ministries teams in formation, outreach, and worship; to establish our guidelines for the faithful use of the Giles Bequest; and before you know it our annual pledge campaign will begin.
But before we start that work, look for ways to slow down in your parish ministry. How can the altar guild, flower guild, and choir reduce their weekly responsibilities? How can the outreach ministries step back and think about the future instead of focusing on the monthly demands to help? Can the hospitality team make life easier for themselves, rather than pushing to be their very best selves each Sunday?
And for Rhett, Will, and I, we will have fewer standing appointments on our calendars and more time to visit with folks, to imagine a new ministry, and to come to the fall excited rather than anxious.
So let’s have a huge, celebratory party tomorrow, and then let’s put our feet up and worship the Lord in beauty and holiness, but not in pressure or stressfulness.
Okay, I’ve talked long enough and you all get the idea. I’m going to take a nap.