A Message from Father Mark:
When Jesus was asked what must be done to inherit eternal life, his answer was simple, even if it wasn’t always easy. He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 Ever since Jesus gave that answer, the key to vitality in the spiritual life has not changed. It holds the key to changing our own lives, our churches, and our world.
This is an exciting time in the life of St. Simon and St. Jude. For while many congregations are facing challenges in numbers, dollars and vitality, we have been experiencing slow and steady growth. We are an important part of the community of Irmo and we are known in the diocese as an active and loving church. As your rector for the past 12 years, I could not be prouder of this congregation.
But we can always find ways to renew and refocus our vision for the future. This is why we have decided to use this transitional time before I retire as your rector to assess our spiritual vitality through the RenewalWorks process. It provides an opportunity to get clearer about God's mission for our church and to reinvigorate our own spiritual lives with a renewed focus on discipleship. It gives us the opportunity to ask, and begin to answer, these two important questions:
- How can we move forward in changing times?
- What are we called to do, and be?
RenewalWorks offers a way for congregations to address these questions by remembering Jesus’ basic teaching, reconnecting with a call to discipleship, focusing on growing hearts, and transforming the church, one person at a time. And it will form the core of a parish profile when the Vestry and Search Committee begin to search for a new rector for St. Simon & St. Jude this fall.
This is why I am asking every confirmed member of our congregation to participate in the RenewalWorks survey, which will be available this Sunday, March 8th through the end of the month. The survey will ask you questions about your spiritual needs, desires and practices as well as how well the church is helping you fulfill them. The survey is anonymous, takes 20-30 minutes to complete, and may be filled out online in the privacy of your own home, or you may ask for a paper copy.
If you have any questions about RenewalWorks, please feel free to ask me or Blount Shepard or any member of the vestry.
With thanksgiving for you all,