A letter from the Dean: Communication and sharing

May 15, 2018

Dear St. Paul’s family,

This week we celebrate Pentecost, the day when the church was born. It’s a day to rejoice in the ways the Spirit has gifted each of us for ministry and to be listening for the movement of the Spirit in our life together. I’ve been listening hard these last few weeks, both to the Spirit and to you. My weekly letters are starting to generate conversations of all kinds, and I am grateful for the parishioners who let me know what they are hearing. If we can’t tell each other the truth, we have no business trying to be a faith community. So please keep the feedback coming so that we can respond and ensure that everyone is heard and cared for.

As Chapter, executive staff, and I continue our work to plot a sustainable course forward, people share ideas that don’t have to wait for a strategic plan. Pentecost marks a turning in the middle of the church year. We have completed the cycle of Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection, and ascension: in this second half of the year we focus on being church, on living into the gift of the Spirit as we learn to live as the body of Christ in the world. How do we strengthen that body? Here are some ideas we are working on:

  1. Continue these weekly letters and address themes suggested by parishioners. What do you want to know about?
  2. Increase interaction between staff clergy and congregation members through a slightly more leisurely exchange of the Peace, and occasional lunch or happy hour gatherings after church on Sundays .
  3. Invitations to spend a minute during church sharing something about a ministry you are passionate about. 
  4. Summertime socials at parishioner homes on Fridays and Saturdays starting in early June. No agenda, just being together with me and hopefully other staff members, so we can know each other better. Let me know if you would like to host a gathering!

Ours is a faith built on hope: the hope that we and our world can be transformed by the love of God. Our hope is fed by faith, and our faith is strengthened by active participation in our corporate life. I am committed to being fully present for this part of the body of Christ, and my faith tells me that God’s Spirit is moving among us. My hope is that the love we show each other in friendship and care will spill over into the world around us, and that we will all experience the excitement and new life that once overtook another community band of faithful people, when the Holy Spirit swooped down on them and turned the whole world upside down. May God, who enlightened the minds of the disciples by pouring out upon them the Holy Spirit, make you rich with his blessing, that you may abound more and more in that Spirit.

The Very Rev Penny Bridges

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3 thoughts on “A letter from the Dean: Communication and sharing”

  1. We must indeed tell each other the truth even when that truth sounds like criticism or even complaint. One truth is that we as a community seem a bit fragmented and slightly lost. I'm grateful that the Dean is moving toward keener listening and more interaction among us, and that we are invited to engage more fully by supplying feedback to her.

  2. For most of us, our contact with the community at St. Paul's is limited to an hour and a half on Sunday mornings. I really don't know anyone by first and last name. It finally has dawned on me that there is very little relational activity in the Worship Service. We are being talked to, sung at, and occasionally we join in on reading something.

    This is all well and good, but even the sacred meal doesn't allow for mealtime sharing of our lives and individual ministries. No wonder we cannot feel like a community. We can't all relate through Penny.

    I think what is missing is good old conversation with those who sit in the pew. Without it, we are all set up for a "performance."

  3. I disagree respectfully with 'anonymous'. Conversation, as suggested, would spoil the integrity of the liturgy. We must find another way!


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