Priest's Letter for the May 2019 issue of our newsletter:
I am still reeling from the Easter festivities and I am tired. Not so much from the Easter festivities, to be clear, but from the plenty of wonderful activities that are happening right now at the parish. I am sure that some of you are tired and excited as well. The garden group and the Center for Spirituality group have met regularly and engaged in a very thoughtful and productive process. Plans for our large garden in the back of our property, with the purpose of beautifying the space and eventually creating a destination site for the local community, have been drawn up for everybody to see. The garden group is now subdivided into sub-groups dealing with specific aspects of the huge work that lies ahead, under the leadership of Patricia and James Betzhold, as well as the convener of the group, our junior warden Mike Manville. The Center group is also ready to produce a short version of its plan, to be presented to the Diocese for inclusion in a large "feasibility study" that they are engaging for the purpose of writing some major grants that would hopefully endow our Center as well as many other projects in our Diocese. Deb Donahoe will work toward a business plan for the Center which will also help us write our own grants. Our grant writing group, composed at this time by Ashanti Smalls, Jim Weaver, and professional grant writer Alex Martin-Donovan, has already submitted a grant to the Celtic Cross Society for the pantry. After looking into what is available elsewhere, the outreach/pantry group determined that there is a need for emergency backpacks. If the grant is successful, we will buy and fill backpacks with basic hygiene and emergency supplies that we have found that are most in-demand for those in acute need. The pantry continues to operate regularly under the leadership and the work of Ed Copeland and Mary Roberts.
In other words, we are all stretched. Members of the Vestry keep engaging in background activities that are nonetheless essential to the running of the place, and I consult them frequently, especially the senior warden Jan Aldrich. Those who are not named here are probably among those who do the most work. If you read this, please consider what kind of engagement you could offer to the parish at this time. As I have overheard several times this year: "If you care about the future of Christ Church, this is the time to act!" I agree.
Nonetheless, we would be foolish to think that our aim is survival. We, instead, have a mission and a responsibility that go well beyond "saving" a religious institution. We have the mission to spread God's compassion and make it known through our hospitality, which is nothing else than the extension of the hospitality that we receive here at the parish in the name of God. And we have the responsibility to be attentive to the deep desire of our souls, which is a desire for God's holy peace. If we don't look constantly for peace in our hearts and we don't spread the divine compassion, what good could come to us or anybody by simply keeping our doors open? Busyness can become a trap. And yet, we and many others who do not yet know this holy place, do need the doors to be open, do need to experience God's welcoming in a community of faith/trust. Therefore, let us get our priorities straight and let's keep being busy while resting all the time in God's embrace. Tightrope, friends!