I've been thinking about my life in Madison now that I am into my SIXTH year of serving the parish. For those who need clarification:
▪ My first Sunday at the altar was the Fifth Sunday in Lent (just before Palm Sunday,) March 21, 2010.
▪ I continued serving just on Sundays for a several months and then late in the summer of that year added a weekday afternoon to my schedule.
▪ By the end of my first year I was calling myself permanent supply priest and Bishop Alexander encouraged me to draft and sign a letter of agreement as priest in charge (part-time).
▪ I continued to carve out bits of time from my schedule in Athens and by the time Bishop Wright's "honeymoon" was over I was in Madison on Sundays and two weekdays.
▪ Now with my leaving Athens almost a year ago I have been included in this parish family in varying degrees for 5 years and 3 months.
This past year has been the joy of my life as a priest. And like I said last week the rhythm of the week feels like home to me.
But remember I also encouraged us to consider other ways that we could add to the calendar and enrich each week with other events and gatherings, some social, some spiritual, some both.
So that we are ready to live best into these possibilities, we want to add them with the kick-off of the program year this fall on the Sunday AFTER Labor Day during our annual Ministry Fair. I know you have some ideas from which we can choose, including:
▪ An adult class on aging well which would include learning how to keep wills up-to-date, making choices about end of life issues, power of attorney, bequests, insurance decisions, down sizing, etc.
▪ Regular Youth programming for our Advent-ures"alumni." Maybe even planning for a pilgrimmage in couple of years!
▪ Monthly (at least) Family Fun and Faith Nights - like Adventures with something for everyone.
▪ Home Church Groups - like foyers but more often and with less formal dining and a theme for study, reflection and conversation.
▪ More Sunday morning options
▪ EFM (Education For Ministry) either the new curriculum from Sewanee or our own "home-grown" version. Something that deals with "big" questions.
▪ Outreach of the month/work-day
▪ ___________________________________________ (Add your idea to the list!)
We are a growing parish. The shape and direction of our growth is largely determined by how we prayerfully decide to add to the rhythms of each week and month.
We will continue to grow from within this grace-filled life that God allows us to share so long as we keep looking for those new moments that only our faithful imaginations currently recognize.
I am excited to begin my second year as Full-time Priest in Charge (call me Rector). But I am also very aware that in order for us to continue in this happiness other official steps must be taken. I'll write about that next week.
For now know that my heart tells me we are a family having fun being faithful, together living to the rhythm of God's heart beating in us.