When I miss a few days blogging it's a good bet I've been not only busy, but busy with things I can't really blog about because their are either too boring or too confidential. That has been the case for the past several days. Little of which I can talk about openly.
But I can say that today went very well. Solid attendance and a good spirit. One of our parishioners told me after the service that more and more it seems like the church and I are falling into synch. I would agree--there is a definite coming together that happens. I notice that people feel more comfortable with me and vice-a-versa! We definitely have some momentum going and that has everyone feeling good.
Which is not to say that I'm not challenging them. Today, for instance, we had to hold a special Vestry to authorize the Wardens to open a Line of Credit with the bank to make up for an expected shortfall in operating capital. In other words, we are about to spend more than we are taking in. This is not unanticipated, and we expect to make up the difference with the Stewardship campaign this spring and summer. But in the meantime we don't want to spend down the endowment, so the alternative is to take a loan against the Rectory (which the church holds free and clear).
Establishing such a line-of-credit turns out to be a real hassle. Obviously, the Diocese wants to discourage this sort of thing, so we have to pass a Vestry motion, get the Bishop's permission, and apply for approval with several Diocesan Boards! It's a pain--but it's the right move from a ministry point of view, as most of this deficit is the result of missional spending (especially the Director of Children's and Youth Ministry). They say money follows vision, and certainly everyone who talks about revitalizing parishes speak of the need to make this kind of move. As one person wrote recently, "Stingy parishes don't grow."
So having a special vestry meeting (during announcements, no less) today probably raised the level of anxiety a bit for people, but that's okay. It's a challenge for people to fund the vision that they endorsed at Vestry a few months ago!
Also, remember how I was leaving it to the Holy Spirit to give me another Warden? Someone has stepped up and expressed interest. I'm gathering with the other Wardens and this person next Sunday to pray about it together. Assuming that lightening doesn't fall from the sky, we'll have our third Warden. Whew!
The ARC group met on Friday to look at the physical space at St. John's York Mills we will be using. It's perfect! Big and well suited. It's on the second floor but there is elevator access. We'll need some money for paint and shelves, but that's what grants are for! we are all really psyched about how this project is developing.
I can now reveal that one of my parishioners, who comes to the Saturday afternoon service, has expressed a desire to be baptized. We've set Pentecost as the date. It's going to be a rocking service with extra (rock) musicians and, now, an adult baptism. She is excited by the prospect of full-immersion baptism, which I have never done with an adult. I think it is going to be an incredibly powerful and meaningful way to celebrate the sacrament. Lots of practical issues to solve, but I embrace the challenge.
I've also done a lot of writing in the past few days. My Column for the June Anglican is off to the editor. I was extremely pleased with how it turned out and curious to hear the feedback. I also wrote a piece for The Episcopal Cafe which should be published sometime this week.
After church today I did confirmation prep with the youth group and now I'm just taking a little break. In a few minutes I'll walk down to Trinity to say Mass and then back up to COTM for this evening's big concert. As I write this the choir from Church of the Redeemer and our choir are workshopping. This evening (7pm) they will perform along with the Niagara Vocal Ensemble.
Besides putting on a killer concert, part of the point of this event is to experiment with partnering with Redeemer to host joint events. If it is successful we probably will do similar projects in the future. Indeed, we are going to get a small group of Messiah and Redeemer people together soon to discern possible directions for future shared ministry. These kinds of partnerships are absolutely essential for urban evangelism, IMHO!
So I'm a tired Tay!