Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Spirit is moving. At our Diocesan Convention in January, I invited our congregations and diocesan leaders to join me in re-imagining how we – diocesan staff, leadership, and congregations – might better discern where that Spirit is leading us in our neighborhoods and communities.
The Church is a movement. Early Christians organized, not to create an institution, but to preserve, support, and spread the good news of Jesus, who was always in neighborhoods and communities, bringing to life God's goodness and grace and transforming lives. As contemporary Christians we too need to be on the move if we are to continue Jesus' work.
Today, rather than living under the tyranny of the Killer B's – budgets, boilers, buildings, and blame (for what's not working) – or anxiously trying to preserve our institutions, we believe God is calling us to go out into our neighborhoods to discover how to live out the gospel in ways that are new and life-giving. We are convinced that embarking on such a journey will revitalize and renew us and the lives of all God's people in unexpected ways.
We are inviting you to attend one of three gatherings to be held this fall at locations throughout our diocese. At these gatherings we will:
- Update you on what we have been learning and seek your feedback.
- Introduce and update you on key activities on our journey of "Joining God in Shaping Our Future" – and the practices of listening, discerning and experimenting that continue to guide, focus and form us on the journey.
- Listen to your ideas.
- Ask you to join with us in the next step of our common discernment, exploring where God is active and present throughout our diocese and among our neighbors.
God is up to something in our neighborhoods and communities. We believe this is God's call for us – to be actively engaged where the Spirit of God is already at work. God is inviting us to renew and reclaim our abundant lives in Christ so that we might see our future not primarily as an institution, but as vital, thriving communities that work for the common good of God's people in our local areas.
We encourage all of our congregations to be with us on this journey. These gatherings will be held in September – Thursday the 8th, Tuesday the 13th, and Saturday the 17th. Details and locations will be announced in the near future. Please share this invitation with members of your congregation.
God is up to something. Let's find out together.
Mark M. Beckwith