In the past two months, most of us have entered some kind of state of isolation. It is important to point out that those of us that have been able to do so are the privileged ones in our society. We are the ones that have the luxury of working from the safety of our homes in the midst of a plague that is sweeping the world. We have been able to remain inside a harbor while a storm has raged.
As we have taken on this new behavior, we may have begun to feel a sense of isolation from the rest of our community. It is here that being engaged in ministry is so important and so helpful to us. The ministry that we have in the church provides us with some kind of place in the larger context, and it is an invitation to keep taking small but courageous steps in sharing the love of God with the world. As parishioners have engaged in their ministries, they have found that not everything has stopped. Perhaps more importantly, they have found that there is much work to be done in this moment, and the Church is being called to be a voice crying out in the wilderness as we seek to protect the most vulnerable.
The meaningfulness of our vocations is bigger than what we get out of a job. A vocation goes to the depths of our being and is a reflection of how we are knit together as individual persons. It is something that flows out of our joys and meets with the needs of others around us. It is one of the ways in which our lives connect with others, and when we practice our vocation, we experience a deep gladness that comes up from the depths of our souls. Vocation is how we practice being disciples in the mundanity of our lives.
On May 9, the Parish Council convened to reflect on how each of our ministry councils (Invite, Connect, Grow, and Serve) are being called into a new moment of ministry. It was a reflection on the vocations of the people involved within those councils, and it was an invitation for each council to consider how it can move forward in a moment of social distancing and video calls. The council was asking questions about vocation, and it was seeking to create a new future for our parish by doing things in the now. It was not a conversation about waiting until we return to “normal.” Instead, it was a conversation about creating the new normal as we put one foot forward, however tenuously, in an effort to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In the coming weeks, each of the councils will be hosting individual meetings to continue the conversation that was started on May 9. I invite you to join one of the councils in their meetings. The Serve Council is meeting every other week for the time being as they discern how our parish can walk with our community. The Connect Council meets on the third Saturday and concern themselves with pastoral care and fellowship – keeping our parish connected despite a pandemic. The Invite Council is meeting on May 30, and they are looking at the many ways that our parish can invite new people to discover Epiphany, to be welcomed into our community, and to join in the effort of spreading the good news.
Each council has multiple ways for you to be engaged in the work of our parish, and we need more people to be involved with each council. As you engage with the work of a council, I am almost certain that you will stumble into your vocation; you will find yourself in that “ place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Fredrick Beuchner)