When Charles O’Neil (the Planned Giving Consultant) visited our parish he asked an interesting question, “If St. Paul’s Church ceased to exist, who would miss it?”
One possible response of course is, “nobody, there’s noting unique or special about us that anyone would miss.” Now I know that we aren’t perfect and that we struggle with many different issues, but that age-old question about the cup being half empty or half full applies. To say that there is noting unique or special about us simply ignores the fullness of the presence of God’s Spirit in our community.
It seems in recent weeks my desk is piling high with letters and cards from many people expressing their deep gratitude for something we’ve done for them, be it a funeral, pastoral care or just a Sunday morning worship service. And that’s not to mention my e-mail in box filling up with similar messages.
If there’s a feeling that there is noting unique about us, perhaps it’s a matter of how we tell our story. For example, according to our bishop, there is not parish in Canada that has been involved in the sponsorship of more refugees than us. We have a significant out reach ministry and presence in the downtown that is envied by other congregations. Other clergy and parishes contact me regularly because our liturgy is considered to be “cutting edge” in the diocese.
Instead of telling our story from the perspective of what we have we tend to cry about what we don’t have. For example, instead of thinking of our budget from the point of view of paying light bills, etc, we should think about the offering as being put to supporting the ministry we provide for one another and for many others.
Our goal is not so much to be unique as it is to celebrate the love of God and to share the message of God’s love with the world. So, if you ask me if our challis is half empty or half full I would have to say, neither, our chalice runeth over, with the love of God.