Rector Reflections

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Happy New Year!  It seems odd to say that on the first of May, but it is at the annual meeting that we look at the year just past and begin to prepare for the coming year.   This past year has been a year of organizing our common life and our ‘stuff.’  We have a new closet so that the narthex is less cluttered, and new paint and furnishings to brighten it up.  Finishing the chapel windows by painting the interior and installing new latches is on our radar screen.   Much needed exterior painting began last fall and will continue this spring and summer.  But sprucing up our space has been only a part of the work of the past year.

Caring for the people of Advent has also been an area that has been the focus of time and energy.

  • Caritas, our lay pastoral care ministry, has been meeting to discuss the pastoral needs of the parish and determine how to best use our resources to meet those needs.
  • We continue to consider how to best meet the spiritual needs of our youngest members and this year began to plan a service that is more kid friendly for the 3rd Sunday of the month.
  • Our vestry has been learning about trends in church attendance nationally and thinking about how to factor this information into planning for the life of Church of the Advent.

The coming year will hold more change.

  • Our Outreach committee has undertaken a wonderful project in offering a summer day camp. Our hope is to provide an enjoyable experience of Christian community for our own kids at Advent, while inviting new friends to join us in the fun.  Our time will be enhanced when we are joined by children from several other parishes in the diocese, including some children from Latino communities of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
  • As mentioned above, work on the chapel will continue.
  • If there is sufficient support from the parish, I hope that in the fall we will be able to host occasional activities designed to meet the needs of those in the Hatboro area who count themselves among the “spiritual but not religious.”

Speaking of Change

Change, change, change!  “Change is the one constant in life,” wrote one ancient philosopher.   Part of being a church in the 21st century is to experience change.   There may well be some changes that you don’t like.  In fact, there probably already are.  But, maybe those very same changes are welcome changes to another person.  Such is life in a community.  Living together as unique humans is always a matter of give and take.

Part of my job as a leader is to, as best as I can, make sure the changes are intentional, made to address a specific need, and always well within the teachings and practices of the Episcopal Church.   Because our own tradition is so broad, it may be that even practices that are ‘normal’ in other parishes will feel quite strange here.   I pick and choose among those practices to select those that I feel will be most helpful to our life together as a parish.   I hope that we can use the questions generated by the parish for this meeting to explain some of the changes that have, or have not, been made this past year.

Finally, this year Chris Gilman and Linda McGuigan-Miller finish their vestry terms.  Please join me in thanking them for their years of service.