Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ten Years Together - A Journey Back In Time

10th Anniversary Celebration
May 1, 2011

A Journey Back in Time – 10 Years Together

I want to tell you that this has been an interesting week, dealing with the normal flow of events in life, while poring through the picture and video files on my computer hard drives for evidence of the life we have shared, many of us, for the past 10 years.

I want to ask those who have been along for the whole journey to stand at this time. And many of these go back another 5 years to St. George’s Parish. But many have come along for the journey, some have come, been touched along the way, and gone on to other assignments and places, others have come and found a new home here at REZ, or are finding it even now.

The slide show and movies that I’ve assembled give a brief 17 minute look back at faces and events many of us will remember through these past 10 years. Not all are here as I don’t have pictures of everyone. But I think you’ll enjoy the remembrances of a life lived together here at REZ.

[Start Show]

Familiar images begin as we see our image of IMPACT and INFLUENCE and the
World we want to touch with the love of Jesus.

Faces we give thanks for for their courage and spiritual fortitude in supporting a group of spiritual refugees in America, Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini and Yong Ping Chung.

We got to be a part of the groundbreaking events in 2000 and 2001 as these overseas bishops came to America to consecrate new Missionary Bishops for the growing Anglican Mission in America. REZ was at the heart of the Consecration event in late June of 2001, hosting it at the church we were meeting at, providing the altar linens, the worship, choir and even the press support. Somehow my cell number got passed on as the main press contact and I had calls from CNN, PBS, LA TIMES, Time Magazine and became friends with our main Anglican agitator, David Virtue!

We have enjoyed close relationships with our bishops, both on this side and the other side of the Atlantic, coming into relationship with our friends in Byumba, Rwanda. We were visited by Bishop Onesphore Rwaje, and he got his Colorado Miter to take back to Rwanda. We have had great relationships with our Rwandan friends and count them as family now. We have visited and begun to catch the vision for what can happen as we touch each others’ lives and learn to live and worship together as One Church, on Two Continents On Mission Together. [choir clip]
Bishop Geoffrey Rwubussissi has been here several times and we maintain a good relationship with Onesphore and Josephine, now the new Archbishop of Rwanda and his dear wife.

These relationships were natural for us as we have had friends from Uganda for many years at REZ. Our Ugandan connection runs deep with many friends, some of whom are back in Uganda, some of whom we are trying to keep from going back to Uganda and we give thanks for those continuing relationships.

We are bound in a Sister to Sister relationship with the parish church of Ngarama, in N.E. Byumba Diocese. We have been working on the parish for several years now, beginning with our trip in 2007 and continuing with our work with Pastor Servilien Nsingimana and the new bishop of Byumba, Emmanuel Ngendahayo.

[Ngarama Clip]

As you can see there has been a lot of work done already, and we are hoping to see the completion of this parish in another couple of years. The church meets regularly in this spot and in smaller congregations around the Ngarama district. There are vocational schools as well that we are involved with as we continue relationships that were begun on our trip in 2007 and more so this year. Our upcoming Ride 4 Rwanda will be a great tool
for helping us get to this goal. Needless to say, building churches in Rwanda and Uganda is much, much cheaper than building churches here in South Denver!

We also still enjoy relationships and have them with our partners around the world. We’ve have enjoyed relationships with Archbishop Diropka of Congo, with Kaili and Casper from China, and we relish our ongoing relationship through the Men’s Group and their bake sales, with International Bible Translators, Natalia and Sanjeir.

We enjoyed a particularly anointed time in Uganda working with our brother Doug McCain, LC1, in the building of the new parish church in Kicuna, Uganda.
It was an amazing time as we worshipped together for the first time and set the commemorative plaque on the wall.

[children singing clip]

We have been able to partner with them and will continue to partner. Their new bishop will be consecrated later this week I believe.

And our own Valerie has broken into missions as well, with the wedding dresses and her trip in Jan-Feb to Rwanda. She is involved in training seamstresses and tailors, bringing wedding dresses into Rwanda and Uganda and helping to provide an income stream for the Mother’s Unions and their outreach ministries.

Children and families are very important to us here at home as well. Our kids have always had a central part in our hearts and in the life of the parish. VBS has always been an adventure, sometimes tropical, sometime mystical – but the people who have made these times happen hold special places in our hearts. And we count these times as special times in the life of our parish. Sorry kids, I just had to include the Christmas pageant pics!!

Of course the summer would not be complete now without a visit from our favorite scaley friends and the Reptile Man!! How about that snake-handling priest??

Young people have also played a big role over the years and mission and ministry has happened. We especially remember the fun times, the 30-hour famine, the trip to South Dakota – twice actually – and the lives that were touched. How we were touched as much as those we served.

We remember the work with Project Christmas Child and the people who have been a part of our lives, but most of all the friendships and relationships that continue on.

Our work is part of a larger work in the city of Denver. The March for Jesus and Jesus Day celebrations –taking the Name of Jesus outside the walls of the church. We give thanks for our friends and advocates for mission outside the walls of the church.. Jude Del Hierro and Hank Salmans. For our own advocates for mission and for those who volunteer to go, to pray, to stand and to serve. From Washington DC to the Katrina Relief Project here in Denver so much has been done, for the Kingdom in the City.

Many have helped to lead along the way, and we celebrate their progress in ministry. We have been touched by one another’s lives, day-in-and-day-out. We are friends in the Kingdom of God

And there are those who have gone on before us for whom we give thanks.

We are a people of character – or a bunch of characters!!

We have worshipped in many different venues over these 10 years, always needing to use our creative juices to make a space Anglican.

We’ve washed each other’s feet

And staked our land for the Lord.

Now we face the future together and move out – going into all the world to preach the gospel, to make disciples, to teach and baptize – to fulfill all that God has made us for as He has promised.

I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Amen.

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