Some days you really don’t feel great. Today is one of those days. I think the challenge to get going in the morning is harder when you feel terrible. I just feel very congested this morning. It could be the weather…there is a enough smog to choke ya. Nonetheless the day awaits and there is a lot to do.
I’m looking forward to Arby’s today. I missed last week as I was in Rochester. It is a small group we have on Wednesday’s but it is a great community and I miss it when I am not able to be there. The change to pray together and to have fellowship together is something I look forward to each and every week.
Supposed to be another stinker here today. Very hot, very humid. This should be good for the vegetables I planted yesterday. Its like a greenhouse outside and I know the tomato plants love that. I know, I should have it all in by now … but surprise, surprise I was behind in that was well. It was exciting to get it in the ground yesterday. I planted a garden for the first time last year and really enjoyed watching it through the summer and picking buckets and buckets of tomatoes. This year I have tried some peppers and zucchinis as well.
Anyhow…I gotta get back at work. Have a great day everyone!
Are you familiar with the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy?
If you are, try out these words with that tune and you will get my experience of synod today.
Boring, Boring, Boring
Synod’s awfully boring.
Speakers are long winded
and speak in monotone.
Boring, boring, boring
This day was awfully boring
Me and three persons, stuck in misery.
I should not be too unkind….but it really was a lot to take. In any event …here is the news from today. We came close to making a decision, but we referred it to someone else, hate to make a decision while we are here. We did not change the canon regarding the month of synod, there is room in the canon already for that to take place. We can’t be sure if that means there will be a change in timing or not. There was a great photo of Marion and Ray Hinton on the big screen for the Huron Church Camp cleanup. We had great dinner and good conversation and we have been able network with folks around the diocese and that is always good I guess. Sometimes I think we get bogged down in stuff that does not matter and we forget that we are the church. Called to be more than mangers of everything. Bridget Willard writes “We get so focused on micromanaging God and His Kingdom that we forget to realize that He is more than capable of handling things on His own!” I am reminded of that after today.
Perhaps the lesson is that we need to be conscious of how we micromanage God in our own day to day lives the way we corporately can micromanage God as well. I think as I lay down to rest I will pray that I can find the ways that I try to manage God in my life and struggle to find ways to let God manage me instead.
We are in London. All is well.
The synod service was its usual 2 plus hour self in the swealtering heat.
Catherinanne I did have a great chance to talk with Percy and Sue O’Driscoll. I miss them both. It was good to chat. Percy saved my clerical life nearly 8 years ago when he made it possible for me to come to St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. I shall never forget how pastoral he was to me as a bishop to a priest. I was not accustomed to haveing that kind of care from a bishop. Thank you Percy!
I’ve been up since 6:30 AM. I was hoping to hear “Jump Start Trivia.” So far it has not aired. It is supposed to air at 6:40. A number of you asked about when to listen. I told you 6:40 AM …. Sorry I had no idea it was moved and I do not yet know when it was moved to? Oh well….I may be cancelled. Is it possible? Anything is possible!
Well, I best get ready for a day of exciting sessions at Synod … Yippee!
Jump Start Trivia is airing at 8:15 AM this morning. I just heard Tony Doucette Say so. Thank God I wasn’t cancelled. My legions of fans could not bear it (LOL)
We have missed our Tom Holmes since back in December when his health really started to fail. In January Tom was given a new heart in London and has fought hard to get better and get back. We were delighted at church today to see him to be able to hug him and welcome him home. St. Mark’s by-the-Lake has been praying for Tom each and every day that he has been away from us. It was a prayer answered seeing him in the congregation today!
The kids celebrated Ascension Sunday by sending off balloons with messages of love, hope and Christian loving along with the parish’s name. We all went outside and watched as the balloons flew high into the sky headed north over the lake to Michigan. We may have a tonne of Americans in church next week – who knows? We were treated to a great homily from Geoff Dibbs – our Honourary Assistant today. We were remined of our call to minister. All of us are called not just the ordained. Great job Geoff! We all have our work cut out for us. We are being asked to lose our lives to gain them. We often treat "church" as a place to get something. Thank you for reminding us that it is a place where we come to offer our ministries to each other. It is great to have a good preacher at St. Mark’s for a change.
No sooner do I get settled then we have to go again. This time its off to Synod. I am not sure there will be the same level of excitement with this group as there was with the course on was on but who really can tell? I will be online in London tomorrow and Tuesday morning and will be back on Tuesday afternoon.
The weather has become amazing. Well over thirty here today with the humidex. I love it…at least for now! As I was just out in the garden enjoying the sun I was reminded of how fortunate we really are here. I was feeling over heated and was about to complain when I though about the heat in Indonesia today coupled with the disaster of thousand of people dead in the streets and many more missing after the devastating earthquakes this week. I really think there is no need to complain about the heat but rather say a prayer that those who suffer will be given strength.
Oh yeah, the movie – “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” It was quite will done. It was a good family film and it touches well on the issues of class, determination and following your dreams. I would recommend watching. It was worth the rental for sure.
Happy Sunday all!
We had a visit today from our friend Art Noseworthy from Barrie. He joined us a high class lunch at the crafter’s fair. It was so good to see him again and to spend some time with him, brief as it was. It is a great feeling to sit with those who have been an important part of your journey when your paths cross again. We met Art and his wife Janice and their kids Amanda and Carrie in CFB Borden when we lived there. The girls served at our wedding. There has been much change in life for all of us from those days. The most
obvious change being Janice’s tragic death over a year ago. We miss Janice a lot. Having Art with us and talking about her was good therapy for that sense of loss. Art was so kind to us. He bought Catherinanne and I some stepping stones for our gardens. Many thanks Art – you can be assured that we will now think of you daily as we are in that garden every day. Catherinanne will get to spend some more time with Art this summer in Borden. I just feel good to have reconnected.
It was a wonderful day today. It was sunny and warm and provided good opportunity for a BBQ and an evening walking in Reaume Park. Thanks to Steve and Sandy for a great dinner and a walk. We are settling down for a movie and some popcorn. The movie is “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” You can check out he web page for this true story at http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/greatestgame. If you are interested in what Roger Ebert has to say about the film you can visit http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050929/REVIEWS/509290302.
In any event the lights are dimming. Bye for now.
This Sunday we will celebrate the Ascension. The feast day was on Thursday and since it was sunny – legend has it that we are in for a long hot and dry summer. Funny what you read on the internet, wouldn’t you say?
Ascension does not have the fanfare of Christmas or Easter, yet it is an important feast day and an integral moment in the file and times of Jesus of Nazareth. There are no gifts exchanged at all and there are no pageants, yet this is the feast which announces that Christ is unified with God the Creator. It is, in our parish moved from the fortieth day after Easter ( A Thursday) to the Sunday so that we might all celebrate together this important feast. Some people get caught up in scientific conversations about weather or not Jesus really did go “up” like a spaceship. This level of discourse misses the rich relevance of the feast. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. There will be room enough for all. Jesus by the mystery of the Holy Spirit is still with us. God is incarnate around us and we must seek to do that which we are called into.
In the account of the Ascension in Acts 1:1-11 two men in white robes say to the apostles, “why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” I think sometimes we do that too. We spend a whole lot of time focus on some far off space where we will hopefully arrive someday. But we need to be on with the work of kingdom building here. We need to further the reign of God by living out our baptisms. We need to seek and serve Christ as we are reminded in this feast that he is still with us. God’s presence is real in those around us.
I like this feast day. We have a great opportunity to celebrate a Holy Day and Hallmark has not interfered.
I’m off to the Tigers Game in Detroit. Can you believe they are in first place? I hope the rain holds up. I’ll you look up toward heaven.!
There was so much information to digest these past three days. In fact, having just sat down and looking over my notes from the course I cannot believe how much could be squeezed into that short period of time.
The course was called “Raising the Roof.” Its focus was on congregations that are growing from pastoral to program size. (Pastoral size parishes have an average weekly attendance of 50-150, program is 150 – 400 in average attendance). This course is designed to help clergy assist parishes in the transition. At an average attendance of 160, St. Mark’s by-the-Lake is in that transition. We have experienced growth and can no doubt experience even more. In the book and the course “Raising the Roof,” Alice Mann states that congregations like ours see ourselves as open and welcoming – we in fact are. But she goes on to say that reluctance to “expand capacity in ways that would permit net growth….is to post and effective ‘no vacancy’ sign” over the door. She makes clear that many newcomers will get the message and go away. Some of the obstacles include 80 % of seating taken up on a regular basis – we are there. How about this quote – “Parking is filled up if there is no convenient space obvious to the newcomer who arrives five minutes before the service starts.” Does this sound familiar to you? If you are a member of St. Mark’s by-the-Lake it probably sounds very familiar.
What was very encouraging in these past couple of days was learning about parishes success in overcoming these barriers and others. But the greatest part of the course was being in a room with 35 clergy all of them a part of successful and growing congregations. It was helpful to have formal and social time with clergy who are facing many of the same issues that I face in a growing congregation.
We now have a committee of 12 people named Markus and another 25 or so people who will make subcommittees of Markus. How exciting that we have engaged on a process of learning about ourselves this year. It is our hope that by January 2007 we will have looked seriously at who we are and how we serve the community around us. I now know that we have already begun to do that which church growth experts like Alice Mann encourage congregations to do. We hope that we can identify our “no vacancy” signs and remove them where possible.
I am looking forward to June 1st when we have a significant meeting of Markus and all of its subcommittees. Times are exciting at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. I’m also looking forward to getting to bed tonight.
Having a good time here. Lots of work though. I have been in class all day and still have a little bit to go. The internet service at the hotel has not been working right and I have not been able to get on here with any consistence to blog. There are so many things that are helpful in the course and applicable to day to day ministry in growth settings.
Back home tomorrow after classes in the morning.
Cheers for now!
Today was a long day with lots of learning and great conversation about growing church. I will be back to t. mark’s in a couple of days, no doubt armed with lots of good questions. While I was having good dialogue with 35 church leaders from across North America, Catherinanne saw some of the neat city. You can see pictures in the photo section.
I have met many people today with great stories of growth in the church. This is very inspiring as we all know that many of the conversations we all have are rooted in survival. The common thread seems to be lay strength. St. Mark’s is fortunate that we have strong lay leaders who drive change. Thank God for a good group of lay ministers. I was proud to speak of all of them today.