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January 6, 2019: Canvass Reflections, Part 1

by Father Jadon


As the twelve days of Christmas now come to a close and a new calendar year begins, we turn our attention to the priorities of the dawning year.  Even as we contemplate new year resolutions and take stock of things “done or left undone,” our celebrations of the Epiphany and of the Baptism of our Lord, this Sunday and next, extend the festal season of Christmas and wrap our New Year pondering and planning in the hope and promise of new birth. 

As I shared with you several weeks ago, our every member canvass of the last few months was an important opportunity for leaders and members of the parish to talk with one another about their hopes and dreams for the parish and to air hurts or concerns.  More than 100 people took part in the canvass, a large percentage of our active membership, and much good feedback was collected.  Parish leaders who conducted canvass conversations were asked to summarize what they heard in brief written comments which were disconnected from names and collected into a lengthy report.  The good news is that this process produced a wealth of thoughtful feedback.  The “bad” news is that, since this was a canvass and not a survey, grouping and/or sharing all this feedback isn’t very easy.  I have been reading and rereading and wondering over fourteen pages of dense prose with everything from short, specific comments like, “can we please paint the front doors of the church red” and “still upset about removing ‘Memorial’ from our name” to broad, sweeping thoughts like, “All Souls was very important to me at a particular point in my life, but I am hungry for different things now” and, “is it right to call this parish progressive, beyond its historic welcome of gay men?”

In this Weekly Message over the coming weeks I will dig deeper into the specific questions and comments that have emerged from the canvass. I hope you will stay tuned. I’ll do my best to attend to the recurring themes and shine a light on areas where there is strong agreement, areas where there is a real diversity of opinion, and areas of my leadership and/or our common life where change or improvement is desired. Having recently celebrated my two year anniversary with you (at the beginning of December), I am grateful to have the opportunity to reflect on these matters both individually and as a community, being open to finding an epiphany of our own.



Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word:
Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts  may shine forth in our lives...

Last Published: January 3, 2019 3:56 PM
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