To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:1b-8 NRSV).
In this passage St. Peter reminds us of some very important truths which we can easily lose sight of: the abundant grace and provision of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ; the precious hope we have received through His promises; our calling to turn from our old ways of life that we may share in God’s own nature; and that we must make every effort to support and strengthen our faith with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual-affection, and love. Travelling this pathway, St. Peter tells us, can keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful as we seek to follow our Lord together as a parish.
Since beginning to my time as Priest-in-Charge here at St. Luke’s in late August, I have been so grateful for this community which I have been called to serve. In many ways, these past six months have been a time of learning for me: learning the basics of pastoral ministry and leadership on the ground, but also of learning the rhythms and character of our particular community. I have sought to be respectful and supportive of what has gone on before me, to lead by also being quick to listen to the wisdom and experience all around, and to begin learning about the wonderful and dedicated people who make up our parish.
This past fall at Diocesan Synod, every parish was called to participate in two significant initiatives. The first is a five-year worldwide Anglican movement referred to as the Season of Intentional Discipleship, in which we as the people of God are to revisit and turn our attention to one of the primary tasks of the Church: “to equip and grow disciples who in turn go out to equip and disciple others.” This asks us not only to take seriously our own calling to continually mature in the Christian faith, but also to invest in the nurturing of a living faith in others as well.
The second initiative is for all parishes in the Diocese to develop and implement a Mission Action Plan in 2020, which is to be a 2-5 year plan to help us focus our efforts and engage with God’s mission in our wider community. The Bishop said this involves taking “a step beyond where we are now… even if that means dropping something internal to take up something external.” Resources will be available in 2020 from the Diocese to assist us in this process.
Together, these two initiatives pull us in two directions at once: calling for us to turn our attention inward and clarify our own calling as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, and also to follow our Lord beyond our own walls and areas of concern to be led by the Spirit to take our part in the Living God’s redeeming work in our community.
In addition to these two tasks for us starting in 2020, we also have our ongoing Building Renovation Project, through which we have been tasked with raising significant funds in the near future to enact some much-needed repairs on our beloved church building.
All together, this seems like a whole lot to ask of any parish all at once. How are we to go about accomplishing all of this? I would again call our attention to St. Peter’s words to us, reminding us to trust in the abundant grace and provision of our God, whose “divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life”, who calls us as His people to lean on His divine promises, and to make every effort to strengthen our faith through how we live each day. This is, we know, not a guarantee that all our plans will succeed, or that we will not have to face challenging situations and choices. But if most of all we seek to be effective and fruitful followers of Jesus Christ, then this is the adventurous, blessed, and hopeful path that lies before us.
Exciting days are ahead of us here at St. Luke’s. May the Holy Spirit give us the grace of clear vision and willing hearts to take our part in God’s Mission, here in Gondola Point and beyond.
Respectfully submitted, in the love of Christ,
Rev. Rob Montgomery