Turning a New Page

A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, January 14, 2018

By: Al Rider, Senior Warden

As you are reading this, Weezie and Buck are driving to Denver. We all wish them godspeed and safe travels. Needless to say I am saddened by their departure. We have been in such a good place.

But now we turn the page! A new moment to listen, reflect, and try to decipher what is God’s calling for St. Mary’s. One thing I know is that we remain in a good place.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been fortunate to observe a number of groups at work at St. Mary’s, including The Rector Search Committee, the ad hoc committee addressing Legacy Giving, the Vestry, the Fellowship Committee, the Choir, and Altar Guild. These groups collectively compose well over 70 parishioners. What I saw was commitment and seriousness of purpose. I also saw laughter, gracious collaboration, and shared mission.

From where is this vitality, this enthusiasm coming? I believe we have responded, and will continue to respond, to the findings of our recent discernment. That process challenged us to be more engaged, as Bob Hetherington says, “to lean in.” When we – each in our own way –  serve the needs of this parish and the needs of our community, we live in the Spirit and it feeds us.

While we are in transition, awaiting the calling of our new rector, I urge each one of us to continue to lean in. I am confident we will and for that we will continue to remain in a good place.

Goodbye, St. Mary’s

A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, January 7, 2018

By: Weezie Blanchard

I am terrible at saying goodbye. In fact, I’m writing this at noon on Friday because I had a total mental block that I had even agreed to write this, which was meant to be my written goodbye reflection. And as the staff is laughing and shaking their heads outside my door, I’m wondering why that is…

Perhaps one reason is that I don’t feel like I’m really saying goodbye. Yes, we are moving to Denver. Yes, I will no longer be the rector of St. Mary’s. But at the same time, you all have become so much a part of my life that you are now part of who I am, no matter what the future holds for me.

You all welcomed me warmly from the time that I started here in January 2015, and we have been on a wonderful – if not always easy – trajectory ever since. Through John Miller’s retirement, through the discernment process, through the “longest job interview ever,” as Al Rider describes the time leading up to when I became rector, and especially through the last 16 months when I have been honored to serve as the third full-time rector of St. Mary’s, we have worked together to figure out how to be the Body of Christ at St. Mary’s and the world. What a blessing!

I believe that St. Mary’s is something that has been entrusted to each of us. It is both a holy and a happy place, and I love that those two things are not mutually exclusive. God’s presence is so strong in the affection and respect that we have for the history of St. Mary’s, our pride in its mission church sensibility, and the commitment to a common life in the Body of Christ that is so essential to a healthy, striving church. Never have I known a church where those attributes were so integral to its DNA.

And it has been a delight and privilege to see the evidence of God’s presence become an ever-increasing part of our life together. That is a tribute to you all – parishioners and staff. You all make the love of Christ come alive here and in the wider world. I carry that with me with the deepest gratitude, humility, respect, and love. Thank you all.

Embracing a New Year

A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, December 31, 2017

By: Bob Hetherington, Priest Associate

“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” It is time to put Christmas in its largest perspective. We move from looking at angels and shepherds to a focus on God’s purpose for the human family – “the word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth.” This baby that was born in the manger was the full revelation of God.

The next time we see Jesus, he is a full adult. To be a full human being all we have to do is look at Jesus. He is the model of how we are meant to live. We are called to live lives of love and compassion. We are called to be generous people. We are called to give our lives away on behalf of others.

We live in a world which hungers for people who can live this way. The world is full of pain and brokenness. Through witnessing to our faith we become God’s arms and legs working in the world for healing and reconciliation. We do this through:

  1. Prayer – offering our lives to God, making ourselves available for the work of reconciliation.
  2. Worship – gathering together to offer our prayers and praises to God as a community – gaining the focus that we are God’s people being renewed in God’s spirit.
  3. Building Community – ministry beings by offering support and encouragement to each other. We need this grounding in each other so we can better meet the challenges of our lives.
  4. Mission – going forth to serve the needs of the world. The more we give our lives away the richer the experience of living becomes: “he who would save his life will lose it and he who loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Christmas marks the beginning of God’s journey with us as a human being. God leaves God’s realm of glory and joins the human family. We gain new energy and purpose. Now there is work to be done, a new year to be embraced.

What does God have in store for St. Mary’s Church in 2018?