FRANCISCO-fact: Regathering has been a wonderful gift. It does not feel like we are fully back to normal. Are there things the leadership is think about doing to head us back in that direction?
I certainly understand that things seem better this coming autumn than they have seemed the past two years and that we have not actually come out the other side of COVID to a place like we knew before the onset of the Pandemic. Your sense and mine are being experienced elsewhere as well. This past week I met with the clergy from St. John’s, St. Dunstan’s, St. Thomas’s, St. Timothy’s, Church of the Epiphany, Church of the Holy Comforter, and Church of the Holy Cross. These churches are in various forms of adjusting to where they are, from reducing the number of services to rethinking childhood formation to what they will consider the new normal. Our experience is not an isolated one.
The leadership of St. Francis has planned for a full autumn of regathering events: the welcome brunch after the 10:00 AM service on September 11, the Chili Cook-off for Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington at 5:00 PM on Sunday, October 30th, and the Rummage and Craft sale from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturday, October 1, and the Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 2 at 5:00 PM at the cross in the front field of the church. These events simply take us through October with a few more things yet to happen in November and December. This is a call to all members to attend, help, and regather!
Additionally, we are going to work with Renewal Works, a ministry of Forward Day by Day to gather information and find ways to do some informed reorientation of our ministries. There are two important aspects of this work that will take place during the fall. First, we will be gathering a small group of 9 parishioners to do some online work together with the leaders of Renewal Works. They have already worked with over 350 Episcopal Churches in the past five years to help them increase their spiritual vitality. The second item of this work will be to do a parish wide survey called the Spiritual Vitality Index! This is an online survey that takes about twenty-five minutes. Its purpose is to gauge the church’s vitality through the individual answers of the index. We are encouraging all Franciscans to answer this survey. The results and information will be used to guide our actions, ministries, and formation. There is more to come on this effort, so be on the lookout in the FRANCISCO-fact, the weekly email, and the announcements at church.
The leadership of St. Francis is engaged in discernment and in the work of serving God. Keep our work and discernment in your prayers and think of saying yes when we ask for help!