Gay and I are grateful for the warm and generous welcome we have received during our first week at Calvary. There is an inviting vitality and authenticity among you and we are very happy to be here.
In addition to routine pastoral duties, there are three main objectives that I need to accomplish during the time I am with you and prior to the call of your next settled rector.
• Help you establish patterns of parish life with a full time rector. During the Holy Conversations last fall, the membership of the parish resoundingly expressed the desire to call a full time rector. The vestry and the nominating committee are well into the process of doing just that. As that process moves forward, you’ll have opportunities to practice on me as your full time rector in the interim!
• Help you with necessary organizational and administrative adjustments prior to the arrival of your full time rector. Those who are interviewing for the position will want to know how things get done at Calvary and who is responsible. There will also be questions about how the communications system works and what equipment is used to support the ongoing life of the parish in its mission. I’m working with the vestry and parish leadership to address the most important of these organizational and administrative adjustments.
• Help you strengthen your commitment to faithful stewardship and generous giving. God is providing all the resources to provide for Calvary’s mission. You want to be operating “in the black” and have a balanced budget by the time your new rector arrives. The key to both of those realities lies in the heart of the giver.
Each one of you has a vital role to play in this final stage of transition as you prepare to call a rector. Following the example of ONE Episcopalian, here’s what YOU can do:
• Worship ONE additional Sunday per month. If you are attending once a month, make it twice. If you are attending twice a month, make it three times. And so forth…
• Move up ONE step toward the tithe. The Episcopal Church teaches that the tithe – giving one tenth of our household income – as the minimum biblical standard. If you are now giving one percent, step up to two. If you are now giving two percent, step up to three. And so forth…
• Move forward ONE pew when you come to worship. The pews in the front of the nave are almost empty. Newcomers will be more at home at first on the back pews, which are now almost full. (Ten of the sixty-six worshippers last Sunday were visitors).
• Participate regularly in ONE Calvary service activity. Whether it is outreach to those in need, visiting the sick, preparing a meal, singing in the choir, taking care of the altar, or helping out in the parish office, each ONE of you needs to be actively engaged in service to Christ and this church.
• Spend ONE hour in prayer each day. Does that sound like a lot? Pick up your Book of Common Prayer. If you spend fifteen minutes each day saying Morning Prayer and fifteen minutes each day saying Evening Prayer, you are half way there! Add five minutes at noon and ten minutes at bedtime and you’ve spent forty-five minutes in prayer. That leaves only fifteen minutes, which can be easily accomplished during your daily routines as you remember people or concerns that need your prayers. If you are homebound, this can be your special ministry to your Calvary family because you have more time than others who are working and raising families. Remember what Jesus said to his disciples that evening in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Could ye not watch with me one hour” (Mt. 26:40)? I’m not asking any more than Jesus asked!
There are many other ways in which you can and do make a difference at Calvary. Don’t stop! But these five things are contributions almost every member of the parish can make and when that happens the results will be phenomenal. You, as ONE member of Calvary Church, do make a difference.
I’ll see you in Church!
The Reverend Ronald D. Pogue