Believe it or not, I look forward to the parish annual meeting. I am, by nature, a hopeful sort of person and I truly believe that the annual meeting is an opportunity for us to reflect on the glory of God made manifest in our lives. It is a wonderful time for us to celebrate all that is good and meaningful and purposeful in our common life as a parish.
That’s not to say that there aren’t challenges facing us. In fact, there are some issues we, as a parish, will have to grapple with in the next little while. We have significant financial issues and it is clear that there are difficult choices to be made.
I know that it is hard to get people excited about allotment, that’s the money we pass on to the diocese so that the ministry of the diocese can be accomplished. Allotment is not a tax; it is our responsibility to help with the corporate mission and ministry we share as a diocese. For me, not paying allotment is not an option. We have not been paying allotment and we are not planning to in 2010.
Something has to change. What changes is the decision we will have to make. In the meantime you might wonder what you can do to help. I have four suggestions:
1. Pray. Pray for the parish, the clergy, the Parish Council and the staff. These are challenging times and it weighs heavily on all of us. We are all working very hard to make sure that the quality of congregational life continues to improve.
2. Give. Continue to give of your time, talent and treasure. I know that these three “T’s” can sound like a cliché, but our financial worries will not be solved by money alone. Time, talent and treasure work together to help build the community God calls us to be.
3. Proclaim. Never shy away from proclaiming by word and deed the Good News of God in Christ. It is central to our baptismal covenant and to who we are as Christian people. The integrity of making our deeds match our words is a key component of community development.
4. Stay. A basic human response to trouble is to flee. But, you are an important part of what this parish of St. Paul’s is, and it is important that you remain engaged in our life as a community committed to Christ. As Paul says, the body is incomplete without all its members.
There is no problem facing us that we have not also been blessed with the skills to meet the challenge and to come out better for it.