A mission without a task is a dream;
a task without a vision is drudgery;
a vision and a task is the hope of the world. (Anonymous)
This past year has been spent in large part discerning and clarifying our vision for Emmanuel in relation to our mission, “to love God and God’s creation with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Over the past several months I have shared my vision for our parish through sermons and Rector’s Ruminations, in terms of what I have heard from you and what I have discerned in my own prayerful reflection on our life together as a parish family here on Orcas Island.
“To S.E.E. thee more clearly” as a way “to love thee more clearly” serves as a summation of a vision for Emmanuel in building on our mission statement. Specifically, to reiterate:
“S” stands for Stewardship– stewardship of our earth, stewardship of our common humanity, stewardship of our resources to include time and money. Such stewardship theologically is our response to God’s call to us to be co-creators as an incarnational Church.
The first ‘E’ follows directly and signifies the Environment, not just the earth, but the cosmos that God has created. Stewardship of the environment calls us as co-creators to love our mother, the earth, as a gift and heritage and to see God present and active in the cosmos upon which we are grounded as an incarnational church. Said differently, the ministry of reconciliation is more than the care and concern for humanity, it entails all of the created order.
The second ‘E’ represents the need for Evangelization in recognition that as co-creators and stewards of our environment, we are all daughters and sons of God. Our task, our ministry as an incarnational church, is to share the love of Christ with all persons and invite those without a church home to become members of our parish family. Such evangelism is premised on our respect for other families of God within the Christian fold and other religious faiths. In short, Evangelization is sharing the good news of God’s love for us made incarnate in the person of Jesus as the Way, Truth and Life that is love incarnate. If we love our Church and that which we affirm, it follows that we will want to share it and invite others to know and be a part of it.
As I reflect on our life together over this past year, I am increasingly convinced of the importance of SEEing this vision as god’s call to us at the beginning of this new year.
We have enjoyed another year of significant ministry and satisfying achievements that point to new opportunities for ministry in 2012. We welcomed twelve new members into our parish family through confirmations and receptions, expanded our worship services, celebrated the completion of our outdoor labyrinth, reestablished an acolyte program, expanded our Rector’s Forum offerings, experienced growth in our food ministries, reached out to the community by tithing our income to support various organizations here on the island that work for the common good, just completed a successful Every-Member Canvass owing to the generosity of our members in the midst of difficult economic times. These various ministries are outlined in the reports contained in this Annual Report. For these ministries, I am grateful to you for the dedication and hard work that this parish church incarnates.
Having so noted, I also invite your attention to our Senior Warden’s Report and the realities expressed in Cathy’s concern as we face the new year and beyond. Her concerns and mine also, reflect Bishop Rickel’s concerns and vision for the Diocese – the need for congregational development, evangelization of younger persons and stewardship of our resources in terms of time, talent and money. These concerns invite us to now translate the vision we SEE: Stewardship, Environment and Evangelization into a plan for 2012. I plan to focus my vision, pun intended, time and energy in planning and sharing the ministry of SEE with our ministry group, administrative group and each of you. This will require intentionality, focus, follow-up and evaluation of the plans we wish to SEE realized with the grace and blessing of God.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) To which I would add, without a plan the vision fades. As we begin the season of Christ made manifest born of the vision inspired by the incarnation, let us be epiphanies of God’s love in the action we call ministry.