I want to come back for just a very few minutes to these priorities that we have
1. Local Outreach and Mission
2. Welcome Ministry and Newcomer incorporation
3. Communication of our identity
Just briefly on each priority:
1. We have many opportunities that are presented to us to be involved in meaningful, redemptive mission in our city. This was a welcome heart-cry from our congregation!
As you know, I sit primarily on two boards, one for the New Wineskins organization, an
international missions group that gathers every three years to present, recruit and empower
World Missions and to highlight Unreached People groups.
I also sit on a local ministry's board of governors - called the James Resource Network, which reaches out in the S Metro area, to single parents with kids, who are just above the poverty line and not able to access some of the free government programs. There are a multitude of ways to provide help, that we can be actively involved in. Volunteer opportunities abound and are desperately needed. Finances are always needed, Mentors are needed. Homes are needed. JRN is currently expanding its programming in dramatic ways to answer desperate need in the housing crisis that the cost of living in Denver has caused.
We will be making volunteer opportunities available and encouraging you to take a part in helping with this ministry to our neighbors close at hand.
We also support the ministries of Alternatives Pregnancy Centers, with 6 offices now throughout the metro area.
You can take part in outreaches to Colfax Ave, Aurora, Downtown poor and homeless simply by asking. We will be overjoyed to make these connections.
And one of our strengths, Prayer, will be coming into play very soon as we join with others for the coming 10 Days of Awe. Look at the poster for the evening meetings. Ask Deacon Ethel if you are interested in being deployed to pray for either Mercy ministries or Businesses during the days of the 10 Days in September. We are putting prayer teams together NOW.
2. We will be turning our attention to communication of our REZ identity, as you see it here on the graphic we've handed out, throughout this fall. That will include a Sunday School time which will take each of the elements and break it down to understandable pieces, as well as a look at new member information and an understanding of what is happening with our Global family. This time will be called a "New Member / Confirmation" Class and will have both Adult and Teen components. If your hope is to become a confirmed member of REZ and the Anglican Church in North America, this fall will be your time. Please avail yourself to it, during the 9:30 to 10:30 time frame beginning in Mid September
3. There is a lot of change in the air right now. The board has appointed a "search committee" to look into land and building acquisition. Please pray for that process which is fairly long and involved. Our board and folks with building interest and expertise have been tapped to work together on this.
There is a general sense that it is time for us to move on from this space. New management has brought the fact that we have enjoyed seven years of uninterrupted lease to light and our rent will be increasing a bit, our times will have to be more circumspect, and we feel that its time for the next season of REZ's life in this regard.
While we explore what that means, we are working on an overhaul of everything about our public image, our branding, our website, our advertising and communication. We will be having fall Regional Focus Groups - to talk about all of this as we move through it.
Change is not easy, in fact, its impossible for some. But change is what we have today as almost a constant companion, and REZ is no different. We have been sequestered in some ways, as the Lord protected us from the collapse of our economy 9 years ago. REZ survived where a lot of small parishes did not, a lot of big parishes did not. In this place we have grown deep and now its time to grow wide! It is not an either / or -- its a both / and.
God is calling us to stretch our wings, get out of the nest and fly! I've been reminded many times in the past months of the mother eagle, who, when its time for the eaglets to fly, comes and picks the comfortable down out of the nest and leaves the cold hard sticks! That is the least of our worries! Because the next phase is that she literally pushes the eaglets out of the nest, casting them down the face of the cliff or off of the tallest tree. Granted she catches them before the hit the rocks and eventually, they learn to spread their wings and fly on the thermal updrafting winds like mom. That is the point of it all, in fact.
Like the eaglets, we are being stretched and challenged right now, we are facing unwelcome changes and daunting possibilities ahead. But we know that the watchful eye of the Holy Spirit is directing it all. We are not alone! In fact in addition to saying that He had "all authority in heaven and on earth" our Lord said finally, "and I am WITH YOU, even to the end of the age."
Jesus is never absent from us. We are from Him a lot, but it never works in reverse. Wherever we go - even away from His Spirit or presence - He is right there, behind us with a Word - available at the breathing of a prayer for help or direction.
We are on the greatest adventure that mankind can be on! And all it takes is trust! Our favorite verse is Prov 3:5-6... say it with me.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths!"
It is the Lord's plan to direct us in His ways, for the glory of His Kingdom and His Name. That is our prayer and song. I want to close with a familiar song this morning, a song of reminder and a song of petition. It is both our confession and our prayer.
Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mt Zion!
Which shall never be removed
and shall remain forever.
As the mountains are about,
are about Jerusalem
So the Lord is round about,
round His people here.
Peace be on Israel
Peace be on Israel
Peace be on Israel
Now and for ever more.