We use it to celebrate the many blessings in our lives and the many we ways we have to do God’s work through the many mission and ministry programs our parish offers. Tables abound with information and people to answer questions about what the program is about and how you can help.
We welcomed representatives of the beneficiaries of our annual Fruits of the Harvest benefit for outreach next month. This year those causes are:
- Earthquake Relief in Haiti supporting the Episcopal Church Foundation campaign to rebuild Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince and scholarships for students displaced by the earthquake at the Little Sisters of St. Therese of the child Jesus Catholic School.
- Episcopal Relief & Development’s USA Disaster Response Fund for rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed by tornadoes in Alabama and floods in North Dakota.
- Shelter, Inc. of Contra Costa County support for Mountain View Emergency Family Shelter in Martinez.
Welcome Home and Pentecost are times for our entire congregation to come together to worship and celebrate our community life together and then have a BBQ. While the diversity of our worship styles is good, coming together on these feast days reminds us that we are the Body of Christ in a larger sense that our corporate worship service units us as brothers and sisters with those we seek to serve.
But this Welcome home Sunday was 9/11 and the tenth anniversary of that horrible day sobered us as we prayed for the victims and their families and remembered a time when we came together as one national family and put aside our political differences to hold each other up when we needed it most.
Church Growth one Person at a Time—Welcome Home
We also celebrated this day with a new tradition. We received eight new members who came through our doors and felt God’s warm embrace in this family of faith. And there they were standing in front of a large family to be blessed as we received them into the household of God with word familiar from our own baptismal vows. And then we fed them lunch, heard their stories, passed the peace and helped them find a mission or ministry that calls to them.
“Will you receive these persons as new members of this parish family, supporting them in their life in Christ and receiving their gifts of ministry for the building up of this congregation and of Christ’s mission in this place?
- Episcopal Realities: Getting Back to Growth (discernablefutures.wordpress.com)
- Teaching Our Kids to Follow Jesus (discernablefutures.wordpress.com)
- Reviving the Cross of Christ at Trinity Cathedral – sermon at Trinity Cathedral, Miami, June 19, 2011 (diosef.wordpress.com)