While the weather outside has yet to offer cool mornings and the changing of colors here in Toledo, it is clear from inside our community we have indeed begun our Fall programming. Last Sunday and this Sunday following our 10:00 service we have and will again gather up at the front of our worship space for a lively and engaging conversation as we introduce our program theme for the year, Reclaiming Jesus.
Based on a faith statement written last year by 23 religious leaders (including our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry), we will use their 6 faith statements to engage various ways of approaching our collective faith life. Join us again this Sunday for more highlights of the upcoming year and another conversation unpacking what these words might mean to us and how we hope they will challenge and encourage our ministry together. All are welcome!
The first theme, Making Disciples, will take us from now until the end of November. Here are some of the highlights of how we will lean into this journey together:
Sunday (9/9): Ministry Fair– We had a wonderful turn out for our first Ministry Fair– following the service we had a robust coffee hour and tables set up with descriptions and representatives of many of the Trinity ministries. We were delighted with the turn out and that many signed up to get more information about how to get involved- stay tuned!
Saturday (9/22): Lay and Clergy Leadership Conference– 6 members of Trinity and I will spend a day at Bellwether Farms, our new Diocesan Farm, Conference, Retreat & Educational Center attending a diocesan event, Riding Backwards Bicycles: Practical Ways to Join God’s Work. We are sure to have an enlightening day together and learn a thing or two we can bring back to our work of making disciples.
Tuesday (10/2): Clergy Day– I will head back to Bellwether for a Fall Clergy Day of all diocesan clerics to spend time with our bishops in community. We gather 2 times each year to reflect on and build up our ties that bind and encourage discipleship in our various contexts.
Sundays (10/7 & 10/14): Worship Orientation– If you have ever wondered why we do what we do in worship and/or are interested in becoming a part of our diverse worship leader team, please plan on joining us for either or both sessions following worship these Sundays. We believe that how we pray each week informs what we believe and understanding our patterns and practices is surely a connection to our discipleship. All are welcome!
Wednesday (10/10) 7:00pm: Celebration of Ministry and Welcoming of a New Rector-We will gather as disciples to CELEBRATE all that God is doing in our midst through our call together. While I have now been with you for a year, this is the liturgy that will officially bind us one to another. A Letter of Institution is presented and signed by the Bishop charging me to uphold the office and ministry I have been entrusted with during our time together. Bishop Persell will be with us to preside and my dear colleague, the Rev. Albert Jennings will preach. It will indeed be a night of celebrating our call to discipleship.
4 Sundays (10/21, 10/28, 11/4, 11/11): Annual Giving Campaign– Recognizing Abundance-Part of our journey of discipleship involves learning to reflect on and expand our awareness of who and how we are called to live as stewards of the gifts with which we have been entrusted This year’s theme will draw us into a time of noticing and then responding from a place of deep gratitude and generosity.
3 Sundays (10/21, 10/28 & 11/4) 11:15-12:30: Introduction to the Episcopal Church- We will gather for 3 Sundays in a row for a short introduction to our history, polity, worship and spirituality. Part of making disciples begins with our own learning and growing as disciples located in a particularly rich and beautiful liturgical tradition. Plan on joining us for all three sessions each offering a different aspect of what it means to be Episcopalian.
Friday-Saturday (11/9-10): Diocesan Convention– Trinity members- Fritz Haney, Kim Henkel, Jolene Miller (and alternates, Alice Todd, Gary Franklin and Becky Roth) and I will be attending our annual Diocesan Convention in Cleveland. This time of “making disciples” is often described as a “family reunion” of sorts bringing together members of all our Episcopal churches in this diocese for a time of worship, fellowship and doing the business required to keep our larger household functioning.
Sunday (11/25): Bishop Mark Hollingsworth Visitation– It is of God’s good and perfect timing that this first theme of “Making Disciples” will culminate with a Sunday visitation from our Diocesan Bishop. Bishop Mark will preach and preside that day as well as offer confirmation or reception to those who are ready and willing to continue this lifelong journey as a disciple as an Episcopalian.
So, come home this Sunday and every Sunday after that to become a part of this growing and vital community. We continue to live in a time of excitement and literal chaos with the garage and our building still undergoing massive renovation efforts, and yes, it is annoying. I am also learning to see it as a metaphor for the messy, complicated AND beautiful work of growing and learning and becoming a follower, a disciple and a friend to Jesus and all those we meet along the way. Thank you for traveling together- for holding hands, for sharing meals, for worshiping and praying and learning how to be God’s light and love out in the world. You matter, we matter and together we are indeed being changed as we love God, love our neighbor and change the world.
May you never forget that you are loved.