Ash Wednesday has brought us into forty days of Scripture reading, fasting, and giving, a time to renew our faith in Jesus Christ as we temper our appetite for the things of this world. Our Lent will also coincide, we pray, with increasing vaccination and further renewal of our lives together in the church and in the world. If new variants of the virus do not set us back, we are a little closer to normal with every passing day. This week's long-awaited resumption of four days of in-person instruction for Richland One elementary students was a signal moment in reclaiming life together for many of us. My ten year-old's joy at that return was thrilling to me; many moments like that are ahead. Perhaps by Easter, our Resurrection joy will be joined to celebration of further positive developments. Where might we be by the feast of Pentecost on May 23?
Your parish staff have spent a couple of weeks in reflection on those hoped-for improvements in our situation and will be working with the Vestry on a thoughtful consideration of St. John's ministries, programs, and events. We want to come back together with elements of renewal in our common life, refreshing and renovating our ministries when that is needed. We are asking questions about the relative flourishing and viability of some ministries, looking for opportunities to strengthen our strengths, raise up leaders, create new ministries, and perhaps bring some things to a necessary end.
To that end, we would love to hear from you. Maggie Mallette will be polling parents about resuming nursery and Sunday School, significant priorities that we will need a lot of help to accomplish. Fr. Scott and I will offer similar opportunities to gather your thoughts about worship, adult formation, and parish events. But don't wait to be asked; your thoughts on any of our ministries are welcome right now, by email, phone call, or a visit.
Lent is a season of prayerful reflection and preparation, in which we acknowledge our sin, so that we might be empty enough to be filled with Resurrection joy. It is a perfect time to plan our way out of the pandemic, anticipating the joy of a renewed life as God's people in the church. Resurrection is coming! Nicholas+