Can you believe it? All Saints turns fifteen next month! Fifteen years of forming a community who shares in the life of God for the life of the world. There is so much to look back on, so much to celebrate, so much to give God thanks for. In his grace, he has created a multi-generational family eager to house his Spirit’s presence, eager to welcome others into this joyful participation, and eager to follow Jesus in the Anglican Way. We are by no means a perfect church, but we do serve a perfect God, and he continues to deal generously and lovingly with this local family.
While this communal gift is something we all cherish and long to protect, it’s also something we’re called to nurture and give away. This sense of mission, of a community stewarding its life with God for the life of the world—that’s what pushes us forward into the months and years ahead. We are called to journey together toward a deeper life with God, which inevitably pushes us further out into the world.
We can expect that this is what 2019 has in store for us. One of the first events on our annual calendar is a Parish Forum on church planting on Wednesday, January 16. The Church Planting Catalyst Team will share with us their initial recommendations for how we can become a church-planting church, giving away more of our communal life for those around us in need of such a gift. One of the most effective ways to make disciples of Jesus is to plant churches. I believe 2019 will become the year when some tangible steps are taken toward this end.
One month later, we will host another Parish Forum on Wednesday, February 27 when we will explore together how the Spirit is leading each one of us to participate in the first phase of the development of our property, a new Nave. The thought of a new Nave can be exciting, but not as much as the opportunities it will bring to strengthen our communal life together for the sake of others. We must remember that our mission isn’t to build buildings, but instead to build a community who houses the very presence of God for the good of the world. As much as we keep that as our focus during the development of our property, the more our property will truly become a Mission Abbey, a refuge for prayer and a launching pad for mission.
We can also expect this Spring to celebrate the opening of All Saints Immigration Services. Stacy Preston and Lynn Binkley, along with their team, have been doing much work behind the scenes in preparation for this new ministry. There is such a huge need for these kinds of services that who knows how many other doors will open to care for others through this initiative. We are so excited that this ministry will be launched during our church planting and property development efforts, for it will only enlarge our kingdom vision and help keep us on mission.
These efforts inevitably entail change, which can be scary at times. But anything healthy and growing involves change. So rest assured that as we continue to strive to be a community that shares in the life of God for the life of the world in these and other ways, we also renew our commitment to stay alive to those core features of ours that have brought life to so many people. We will always strive to be a church that (1) offers healing hospitality, (2) nurtures family-like relationships across all ages, (3) forms disciples in the Anglican Way, (4) serves the world, and (5) remains financially generous and responsible. I can’t wait to see what God will do!
“Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20–21)