Greetings from a very rainy England. It was wonderful to see so many of you at church after the heavy nonstop snow over the weekend. The choir deserves high marks for being there on Sunday in full strength and leading the congregation in worship.
Mazen did a great job by coming early on Sunday morning and helping me to clear the snow off the sidewalks and the entrances to the church building. I am so grateful to God for this humble and devoted servant of God whose integrity, his devotion to God, his cheerful ways encourage all of us. His faithfulness and his industry are real acts of worship!
I was able to drive to New York on Sunday afternoon after the Church service. The road travel ban had been lifted and I felt that I had been given an opportunity to fly to the UK. There were mountains of snow that had been piled up high by the large and efficient snow plows. It felt like driving through narrow windy roads with snow walls towering over me on both sides of the road. I was able to catch one of the earliest flights out of JFK and arrived in London on Monday morning only to be told by the pilot that the snow storm Jonas was following us to the UK. But instead of snow it was bringing buckets of rain. It has been raining nonstop since I got here. I hope the snow has melted and the sun is out over New Haven.
London is a great city with its diverse cultural, religious and ethnic communities living and shaping their future together. It is the financial capital of the world. It has magnificent buildings and history stares you in the face wherever you look. It is good to be back on a visit but I feel there is a unique energy in the USA that gives me hope, a sense that it is possible to make a difference and a sense that the sky is the limit. I am grateful to be able to serve God here at St. John’s trying to be innovative and missional. It is a privilege to live life to the fullest and bear witness to God’s grace and mercy.
Chitra and I are grateful for the many friendships that we have established both within and outside the church. Our church faces many challenges some of it has to do with: 1.Helping our new members to be integrated within the church family. 2.To build on the faithfulness of the core community of long term members. 3.The challenge of mission here at East Rock, our witness on the street within our neighborhood and places of work. 4.All this requires costly participation to sustain and resource this important mission. Financial viability is something that successive Vestries have had to deal with.
It has been a joy working with our small Vestry as we seek to discover God’s purposes for us as a church and learn to trust God for all our resources. You have been generous with your time, energy and finances. We will be making tough, but important decisions for our future. Please do uphold the Vestry in your prayers.
We will have our Annual Parish Meeting on the 26th of February where we will have the opportunity to hear what is going on and to take stock of our life and witness together as a church family.
It has been a good visit to the UK. I return later this evening back to the USA and look forward to seeing you this Sunday.
Take care and God bless you.
Your Pastor and Friend,
Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church