Thursday, January 1, 2009

The year behind us, the year ahead

As we begin a new year, like you I have a few reflections on the year that is past, especially a year such as the one now behind us. Our nation elected a new president, the economy skidded into a deep recession, and the globe continues to be consumed by wars in the Middle east and elsewhere. The clarion about global warming grew loud, but with little to show for it. 

Like many of you, I am filled with hope about our new president but I am realistic that the problems we confront are difficult and will take considerable time, resources, talent and courage to solve.

On the personal front, 2008 marked a huge transition for Lori and me as we moved to Virginia to lead this wonderful congregation at St. Paul’s Memorial Church. Saying farewell to All Souls in Berkeley and Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento was painful. Moving our household stuff was a major headache and leaving friends and family continues to be a heartache. Finding an abode remains a challenge for us.

On the positive side, the cross-country trip this summer was a great adventure, and meeting new people and learning the traditions of St. Paul’s has been a joy. And I am grateful to all of you who have helped ease our transition at both ends of the country, and to those of you who continue to keep us in your prayers and provide for us in big ways and small.

As I look at the year ahead for St. Paul’s, three interrelated goals come to mind:

1- Becoming more intentional in how we welcome new people and help them find a meaningful and pastorally fulfilling spiritual home at St. Paul’s.

2- Becoming more outwardly focused as a beacon of Christ’s hope to the community and world beyond our church walls.

3- Deepening and expanding our commitment of ministry to the people of the University of Virginia to enable them to be a beacon of Christ’s hope to the community and world.

I will say more about each of these three goals at our annual meeting January 18, and in the weeks and months ahead. And, in the meantime, I invite your ideas and conversation on these three goals here on this blog.

New Years blessings to all,


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