Thank you to all those of you who attended Parish Council / Special Vestry last Saturday. It was good to hear about how you would communicate who we are at St. James’ to someone who landed on our website for the first time, and feel the energy in the room regarding growing our church and making it a place of welcome (something for which we already have a good reputation).

Why were we looking at this? Well last year we applied for a Parish Development Grant to improve our communications. What we say about ourselves and how we present it, in signage, online, and in our community. A Communications Committee was formed and we were awarded the grant to make our improvements in 2018.

What is the goal of this committee? We summed it up in the title of our proposal: “Communicate for Community.” We are working on making it easier for people seeking God to find us through our various communications.

As carriers of the good news of Jesus Christ, we are all called to spread His universal message of love and hope, collectively and in our lives outside our walls. “I am not talking about getting bums on seats” on a Sunday, I am talking about sharing the gospel with people who are searching, and giving them a safe place and community to journey with: us!

If we give people the means to find us, and when they find us, they find an open community who are welcoming of all people and journeying together in this life of faith, not having all the answers, but seeking God faithfully, we can trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest. After all, that’s how the early church got started!

Acts 2:43-47 — Life among the believers

“Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

See you soon,

Mother Lucy

This past week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and you may have noticed last Sunday that we prayed for the leaders and people of churches across the world, for people of different denominations and traditions.

The week for Christian unity has always felt (to me) like a time for acknowledging the differences that Christians around the world demonstrate in their worship and traditions, and giving thanks for our common faith in the risen Christ. I find it incredibly beautiful that despite our differences, through our unity as the body of Christ, made real to us in the Eucharist, we are one body with Christian peoples, who celebrate and worship in completely different ways than we do, and that all of us take the time to pray for one another.

St. James’ has become an increasingly welcoming and diverse space, and I was reflecting on that whilst in Portland a couple of weeks ago.

Walking around the city, I saw many posters and signs in business windows that reflected the commitment of the people of Portland to welcome and respect people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, nations and abilities. It was as though unity and acceptance spilled out onto the streets. It wasn’t just talk either. Everywhere Tara and I went, the people we met were open and genuine in their interest in us as visitors and neighbours. The people that we met were actively modelling what their posters proclaimed. This is what we are to do at St. James’ and beyond the walls of our church in our daily lives: model our faith.

How do we do that day by day? What is one new way for each of us to show someone else who Christ is by how we live? Remember, we have the support of our brothers and sisters around the world, our friends departed and all the saints in prayer. I find a lot of comfort in that. We can always ask for help.

[Jesus said] “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Mother Lucy