The Season of Promise
Listen to the long stillness:
New life is stirring
New dreams are on the wing
New hopes are being readied:
Humankind is fashioning a new heart
Humankind is forging a new mind
God is at work.
This is the season of Promise.
~ Howard Thurman,
Meditations of the Heart
Last Sunday, the St. Dunstan’s Parish Hall was abuzz as the congregation gathered for a special brunch and Town Meeting after worship. Now that I have been your Rector for a little more than four months, your Vestry and I felt that the time was right for a transparent conversation about where we are in our life together. We talked candidly about some of the attendance and giving patterns that parishes in transition sometimes see, and we also heard some challenging news about our projected budget for 2020, based on current pledge and rental income numbers. (Please stay tuned for a forthcoming “Note from Our Rector” for further details.)
While one might reasonably have expected the mood of Sunday’s gathering to be somber (and if I’m being honest, I expected as much), I have to tell you that I was – and am – in awe of the hopeful, forward-looking spirit that I and many others felt by the time we adjourned. Much to my surprise, the room was filled with palpable joy and promise. It reminded me a bit of Whoville on Christmas morning in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! There is no denying that we have work to do, but it is also very clear that folks are determined and ready to do that work – and I don’t just mean to balance the budget. The energetic discussion at the end of the meeting convinced me that folks are also ready to pray and think and talk and act together to fulfill God’s mission for this parish. This is joyful, promising work!
So what is God’s mission for St. Dunstan’s in 2020? Jesus commissions all of His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19), but how are we called, uniquely, to live out that commission in this place and at this time? Put another way, how might we “spread the good news o’er all the earth” (Hymnal, #178)…beginning right here at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Fort Sumner Drive? I will be inviting you to help me explore these and related questions in the weeks and months ahead, asking us to discern together our purpose and identity as a community of faith. In the meantime, I hope that you will join me in praying for God’s guidance, inspiration, and vision during this “Season of Promise.”