In 1606 when John Smith and Christopher Newport set sail from England they were authorized by the same King James I who ordered the English translation of the Bible, now known in many parts of the world as the KJV. Newport was Captain over the three vessels, the Discovery, the Susan Constant and the Godspeed, with Smith having to wait until landfall to take his charge in establishing the first English speaking settlement in the “New World,” Jamestown. Smith was not a good passenger and was charged with mutiny only to be saved by the royal charter’s taking effect as soon as they were standing on the banks of the Powhatan River.
Prayers in English were first prayed in the New World in Jamestown. The Rev. Robert Hunt led the settlers in intercession twice a day -- every day -- as they sought God for wisdom, provision, and protection. In fact, after the declaration that essentially freed Smith from the charge of mutiny the next official act by the English in the New World was a corporate prayer.
They sailed with much support and hope and some anticipation for economic return on their investment but the longer, landed story of Jamestown is not a good example of “getting one’s money’s worth.” Mosquitos, rats, harsh weather, and bad relations with the “locals” all made what quickly became bad only get worse. For sure they never stopped praying.
Thinking analogically, we’ve not yet left our homeport. What has occurred up to now in our dinner conversations has been more like the collection of investment capital, the appeal for permissions, and drafting of a charter. Your ideas, thoughts, and dreams are the resources with which we will set sail. For sure there is much to be learned from this history and since we have no control over the distant future we can take care to manage our ambitions, our hopes, and our expectations hoping to be good passengers and better sailors. Wherever God is calling us we should be ready to say our prayers.
In the next weeks these final preparations for our voyage will be made:
Our “All Saints on Deck” will begin at 10:30am with worship in Holy Eucharist streamlined to allow us to finish the day in special session and still be dismissed as early as 12:15pm. We will share the same summary the vestry has used to draft a budget, get a quick review of that draft, and share in prayers to help make those commitments of time, talent and treasure for 2015 and beyond as we voyage with God into a “new world” of mission and ministry.