By Kerry Nelson
As part of our monthly Vestry meeting we spend 15-30 minutes on study. This could be reading this week’s scriptures followed by discussion or Daniel reading a passage from the latest book he is studying and asking a pointed question. No matter what the topic, the ensuing conversation is thought provoking and wide-ranged. At our September meeting our study topic was to review the vision and purpose of Grace Episcopal Church. We defined our vision and purpose by asking the following questions:
Why do we exist? To Make Disciples in the Episcopal shape of Jesus’ Way. This led to a discussion of what is the “Episcopal Way”? Our answer was that it’s a practice based faith with a balance between Daily Office and weekly Eucharist and parish based. Parish based means we serve those within our church walls as well as the extended community in which Grace resides.
How do we behave? Ethic of Hospitality, Ethic of Reverence, Ethic of Wonder and Wisdom, Ethic of Presence. Our discussion added one word to this answer – joyful. We felt it should say “Ethic of Joyful Reverence”. We want to show our joyfulness for all that God has given us.
What do we do? As Episcopal Christians we worship at home daily and together weekly; study the scriptures, our tradition, and what it means to be a disciple today; we serve our families, our parish, and our world in the name of Christ. Everything we do is done with an ethic of Welcome because we are only here by Grace. These words are visible everywhere in the written materials of Grace. We feel they represent the essence of what Grace Church is.
How will we succeed? When we make disciples, when our ethics are intuitive, when our love is tangible. We felt this is an ongoing process with successes along the way.
The last question asked was “What is most important right now?” Our responses: To rejoice! Spiritual stability. Stop what we are doing and sit at Jesus’ feet. Unity and common purpose.
The one common theme of our purpose and vision is the word “we”. Grace is a community of people working together for the glory of God. Everyone has a part. What is yours?