Newsletter (11/19/2015)

Dear Church,

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

There is a cold nip in the air and we can anticipate the approaching winter!  I am conscious that in our small city there are many who are homeless, struggling with addictions, living in dysfunctional families, emerging from broken relationships, suffering the pain of ill health and struggling with the misery of poverty.  How can we as a church express our gratitude to God for the many blessings we enjoy in this season of thanksgiving?  If you have any ideas that are practical in terms of how we can be a blessing to others in the neighborhood. Please do let me know.

Our son Joshua is here for a few days having finished his final exams in his medical training.  We decided to surprise his mother and so I booked his ticket without Chitra knowing about it.  I took Chitra on the pretext that I had meetings to New York and she spent some time with our friends while I went to my “meeting” to JFK airport and  meet Josh. When we walked in to our friends home the surprise was complete and it made Chitra’s week. The gift of family is special. Both Chitra and I so miss our children and it is a wonderful blessing for us to have our son with us even if it is for a few days.  Next week I will be flying to the UK over thanksgiving to preach at the Chapel Royal. Jolyn Walker will be preaching on Sunday the November 29th and I return onDecember 3.

I am currently studying Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church and while reading chapter twelve I was struck by Paul’s words…’ 1 Now concerning the gifts of the Spirit brothers and sisters I do not want you to be uninformed……4 there are different kinds of gifts but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord… 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good;…”

The first thing that struck me was Paul’s concern that the church was not guilty of being ‘uninformed”. This could  be understood in terms of ignorance or being unaware but on a stronger note being led astray. The Church of Jesus Christ is Charismatic in the sense of it being a gifted community.  It is important to recognize that these gifts have been given by God to his people for a purpose  that is the benefit of others. Paul refers to this as being the “common good’. Gifts are given by God to be used to bless others, it is never given for selfish gain.

What is this “common good” for our faith community? Over these next few weeks it would be useful for us to explore together what is the common good for St. John’s. I will explore some of these vital experiences in the light of the Biblical testimony within the Acts of the apostles. Clearly unity, the experience of salvation, the freedom from the law, the joy in knowing God’s forgiveness and being set free by Jesus gripped the apostolic church.  My prayer is that these experiences become our common experience here at St. John’s.

You would have received our Church stewardship letter from Ruth Lively and Phil Coy encouraging you to prayerfully consider the many blessings we have received from the Lord and to thoughtfully respond to God’s goodness by participating joyfully in the Mission of God through resourcing the local church by offering your time, your talents and your tithe. I want to encourage each of you to consider prayerfully how you can Pay, Pray, Promote and Participate in the ministry of our church. The Church is growing, People are coming to faith and the ministry of the church is responding to some needs. Please do get involved and do thank God for what he is doing in and through us. It is our privilege to be invited to share in the mission of God. I look forward to seeing each one of you during the week. Be assured of my love, friendship, support and prayers. God bless and keep each one of you.

Shalom!

Your Pastor and brother in Christ Jesus,

George I. Kovoor
The Rector,
St. John’s Episcopal Church, New Haven, C.T. 06511