In the past couple of weeks, it feels to me as though some of the projects and initiatives that we’ve been talking about are beginning to gather steam and take on some movement- this is exciting to me.
The timing of our beginning together- just after a General Church convention, just before our own diocesan convention and the beginning of the of the “program year,”- this beginning has been full of activity, generating ideas and receiving programmatic mandates that we’ve taken on in the form of resolutions. And now, we’re getting started. Gathering steam.
At last week’s Council of Trustees meeting we parsed the convention resolutions and got to work forming the new Social Justice and Equity Committee (if you’re reading this and want to join up, please contact my office and we’ll direct you to the convener of that group). This committee will serve as an “umbrella committee” to organize and share information between all of our social-justice-oriented groups and help to share the good news of the work that is taking place around our diocese. My hope is that this committee will focus on communications as one of its top priorities and work with our diocesan staff to inform and invite us all to this important gospel work.
At Standing Committee, we welcomed the new members and new leadership and dug into the work of understanding the role of the Committee and its responsibilities in our diocese. We started with setting group norms- an important way to set baseline expectations for working together in covenant community.
The Commission on Ministry has been reviewing the recommendations that I have made to them regarding the ordination process and we’re making headway on the discernment of an increasingly clean and clear practice that supports those who are exploring their call to serve God.
The group of individuals that showed interest in addressing the refugee cause has organized their “Advent through Epiphany Opportunity” and, after interviewing our brothers and sisters at Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services, have determined that the first step for us will be to collect gently used pots and pans, new pillows and small toys for children. This in-gathering is the first initiative in what I expect will be a long and developing project to support the refugee resettlement effort. (For more information on this, contact Loretta Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The anxiety that I have felt watching the local news, learning about gun violence and mayhem in our city of Harrisburg was given a productive outlet as I attended the One Nation Harrisburg Community Meeting last Sunday night at the Boys and Girls Club on Berryhill St. A dozen or so parishioners from St. Paul’s, St. Andrew’s, St. Stephens and Sycamore House also attended this meeting in which testimony was heard from residents of the Alison Hill and Uptown neighborhoods and committees were formed to take on the systemic issue of violence. Later in the week, I met with Representative Patty Kim and talked about ways that we might offer the resources of the Episcopal Church to assist in the effort of ending lethal gun violence.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks.
I am encouraged. Encouraged by the movement on all of these fronts, but even more, I am encouraged by the deep desire in our Church to build God’s Kingdom. Each of us has gifts, each of us is called to discern the best way that we might participate… and then, we are called to act. For some of us, that action includes using our leadership skills of organization and motivation. For some of us, the call is to be a “worker bee,” following the direction of others. God love the worker bees! And still others of us are called to support the cause in prayer. In one place where I served, the prayer team was one of the most vibrant and important parts of our congregational development effort. And, so it is: prayer is a powerful tool for us as we participate in God’s mission. It is an essential part of what we do.
So, keep praying. Keep building. We’re gathering steam and moving along. We’ll need to pace ourselves, some- we’re in this for the long haul- but doesn’t it feel good to be on our way?