Recently, I have been spending more and more time with individual church members and their families. Sarah has joined me for a few of these conversations. In any year other than 2020, we would have hosted larger gatherings as a way of getting to know one another. However, to be as safe as possible such social gatherings are not recommended. Thus, getting to know one another, to listen to each other’s stories and to learn more about each other’s lives, takes a little longer and with a little more effort.
These conversations have been so helpful in my understanding of St. John’s and Montgomery and the families that call this place their spiritual home. Sarah and I are both grateful for the hospitality you have shown by inviting us into your homes. Even in the smaller settings, we are doing our best to minimize risks.
My mother told me never to invite myself to another person’s home. She is correct, of course. However, I do want to get to know as many in the parish as I can. So, I do want to extend an invitation for you to recommend a time that is mutually beneficial for us to visit. This can be for breakfast, lunch, drinks, or dinner. This can be one afternoon in the church office or at the coffee shop. The time of day and the location are not as important as the chance to talk and to listen.
Coming to St. John’s and Montgomery in the middle of a pandemic is an unfamiliar way of making a transition. I am mindful that we are limited in how we celebrate a new ministry together, and recognize that in some cases, perhaps we will have to do so by livestream. In the meantime, I wanted to share this prayer that a new Rector prays from Celebration of a New Ministry in the Book of Common Prayer pages 562-563. Please know that I am guided by this daily.
Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under
my roof; yet you have called your servant to stand in your
house, and to serve at your altar. To you and to your service
I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with
the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding
with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of
my heart and will center in what you would have me do.
Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted
to my care, and grant that I may faithfully administer your
holy Sacraments, and by my life and teaching set forth your
true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the
duties of my ministry. In prayer, quicken my devotion; in
praises, heighten my love and gratitude; in preaching, give me
readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the
clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may
be drawn into your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the
sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.