It is hard to believe that I have now been your vicar for two years. My, how time flies when you’re having a good time! Truly, I am blessed to serve you.
When I first came on board, the vestry expressed a strong desire that SJS continue the work of moving from being a Sunday only chapel to having a fuller ministry presence. To that end, we have been working for some time to identify our vision for ministry.
Vision for ministry, mission, mandate and other like terms are often used to help organizations focus their efforts and resources more effectively.
In the Church, mission is the larger term, and we already know what that is because it was given to us by our Lord. The Mission of the Church is delineated by The Great Commandment on one side (Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and Love your neighbor as yourself – Luke 10.27) and The Great Commission on the other (Go make disciples – baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded. –Matthew 28.19-20). The Vision for Ministry is the unique call or way in which a congregation (or individual) carries this out in a particular season.
Your vestry and I have been working for some time now to articulate the unique call of God for this Church family. My assumption has been that God has already been at work here for quite a long time (!) and that probably what we needed was simply to identify more precisely what is already happening. Consequently, over a period of time, I have sensed and observed that St. James Santee is a place of healing.
As I have talked about this and checked out this perception with many of you, it seems to ring true. As a result, we have been using the following phrase to describe who we are and what we are doing in this season as , “Called to be the Hands of Jesus – Connecting, Caring and Healing.” The helpfulness of this kind of focus is that strategic decision making becomes so much simpler. When we are faced a decision, we ask, “How will this further our call to be a healing community?”
As one could imagine, this is a broad description, and we have lots of ideas about how to live it out. These have included developing a Recovery Ministry as well as a ministry of healing prayer. What is also included is the sense of being called to heal the hurts in the community and the families around us. To this end, we are offering The Marriage Course which is designed to strengthen marriages. This will be offered first to the congregation and then later, after a trial run, to the community,. This is not to say that we are overlooking the needs of single persons, but just that this is a good and obvious starting place.
There's more to add but the conversation will continue. See below for more information about The Marriage Course.
May you all have a blessed Holy Week and a glorious Easter,