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February 17, 2019: Canvass Reflections Part 7, The Conversation Continues

by Father Jadon

Over the last seven weeks, I have reflected with you here about the feedback that was harvested from the every member canvass that a large percentage of you participated in last fall.  While I was not able to address every single comment in the concluding report, I tried to address the recurring comments and themes. I’ve reflected with you on: the different things you are looking for in preaching; how we address issues of politics and justice; the means and metrics we use to understand how and why people are joining or leaving us; our finances; our need to embrace and proclaim the good that is happening among us at least as much as what challenges or worries us; and the tensions that exist between prioritizing existing members of the parish and those who are new or not yet among us. In all of these reflections I have tried to be candid about the areas where we face challenge or disagreement and the areas I myself need to rethink and/or improve. As I said I would do at the outset, I have also tried to report back to you the wide diversity of opinions that emerged about nearly everything, which, I hope, encourages all of us to remember the famous Rolling Stones refrain that my mother used to sing to me (and still occasionally does), infuriatingly: “You can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need…”

The goal of this entire process has been to listen to one another.  I was reminded this week that the words conversation and conversion share the same roots. Truly and honestly speaking and listening, in love, is one of the most effective and powerful ways we are converted, individually and collectively, into the beloved community that God calls us to bring into reality. But as important as it is to stop and seek to understand one another, building as much consensus as possible along the way, our God ultimately calls us to get on with the “work we have been given to do.”

In the coming week I’ll be taking part in the annual conference of the Consortium for Endowed Episcopal Parishes, which I think is one of the most constructive and optimistic gatherings of Episcopalians each year.  The theme this year is: “What’s New, What’s Now, What’s Next.” I think that’s a good theme for us to be left with, now, as we look forward to the unfolding weeks, months, and years that God has in store for us. Our task now is to embrace such a theme, both as a set of statements and as a set of questions, and fully appreciate what has been, is now, and is to come.

Last Published: February 14, 2019 2:37 PM
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