Greetings in Jesus’ name!
The Lord is Good! I want each and every one of you to know deep in your heart that the Lord loves you and is committed to your well being. He longs for us to live in relationship with Him and for us to rely on Him. We are encouraged to live our lives in the light of his Word even when we negotiate the curved balls that we sometimes face while confronting the challenges and opportunities of life.
The Church as many of you know has tried to engage with our context and bear witness to the presence and activity of God in our lives. We have tried to be missional, creative and engaged with our neighborhood. We have been trying to do our best in the context of financial scarcity. Our congregational demographic being primarily a student community we don’t have the money to support a small part time staff team. We find ourselves in a dilemma which is that if we don’t have a strong core community we are not able to keep the Church building open.
Your Church Staff Team: We are so fortunate to have Mazen who keeps the church so clean and welcoming. Angela does a great job in building relationships with people in the community who are sick and needy. She visits the sick and offers practical diaconal ministries of service and care. She builds relationships with people from East and North Asia. She prays with people and offers pastoral care to many. We don’t have many people in church during the week to welcome and engage with the people who drop in. There is a steady footfall of visitors during the week seeking God, to be quiet, to pray because they know that they are needy. I am grateful for the support and work of our staff team. Linda Meadows has done a great job in producing the worship booklets, dealing with telephone calls and all the administration that goes on in a small church
Annual Parish Meeting February 21st: The Vestry is working very hard with me to be faithful, creative and wise as we deal with our present realities. Do remember us in your prayers. We will be making tough important and necessary decisions for our future. Please do uphold the Vestry in your prayers. We will have our Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday the 21st of February at 12:15 pm. We will have the opportunity to hear what is going on to give thanks for wonderful things that are happening in our midst and to take stock of our life and witness together as a church family.
People are coming to Jesus: I am hugely encouraged by the number of people I have been able to share the faith with and introduce them to our Lord Jesus Christ. There will be several baptisms later on in the month. Last week George Toothman someone I met recently joyfully invited Jesus in to his life. George studied at Harvard and is setting up his business as an IT Consultant with Web Solutions here at New Haven. He is now a regular worshipper at our church. He comes to see me often and often joins us for Morning Prayer. There is much cause for thanksgiving. At the same time we continue to seek God’s financial provision for our common life and our witness as we seek to be the presence of Jesus here at East Rock.
Ash Wednesday is on February 10th which is the beginning of the Season of Lent. We will have the imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday in Grace Chapel at 8 am and later in the evening at 7 pm. The Rev. Brian Barry will lead these services.
Rector Visits the Artic: I will be going to the Diocese of the Artic in the Anglican Church of Canada and will be ministering to their senior leadership as I help them plan a large gathering of their Diocesan Convention in May 2016. I leave on Sunday, February 7th in the evening and will return on the evening of Thursday, February 11th. Do pray for me as I travel to this incredibly cold part of the world.
I look forward to seeing you all this Sunday at Church. Do remember that the Lord Good, He is with you!
Take care and God bless you.
Your Pastor and Friend,
Rector St. John’s Episcopal Church