Each week in our Prayers of the People, we pray for our congregation. One specific prayer has imbedded itself in my devotions in recent years. It’s from the Book of Common Prayer (page 817), and like the best prayers, it is apt and direct and keeps my own sentiments and irrelevancies safely to the side:
“Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth,
hear my prayer for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse
the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary
for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within
your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
More and more this prayer seems right to me. It seems to ask God to give us what we need. It describes us all — faithful, careless, penitent. Then there is that appropriate and wide-open request that God “grant us all things necessary for our common life.” In an increasingly fractured world to have a common life, to be part of a caring community is a rare and wonderful thing.
In all kinds of large and small ways, the people of Bethesda maintain and build up our common life. One visible, though not always clearly understood way, is through the “board” of the parish, Bethesda’s Vestry. These elected and appointed officers work with the rector and staff to guide our pastoral, spiritual, and material life. Your Vestry has been outstanding during the past year!
In equal measure the search process has unfolded with great integrity and value. Each person on the Search Committee has prayerfully given their best for this congregation, articulating the aspirations of the parish in a wonderful profile, and now discerning the best candidates for our congregation. The interim is going very well.
On January 30 we hold our Annual Meeting and Election. We will choose a slate of four adults to the Vestry and several people to serve as delegates to the Diocesan Convention. We will also hear important reports from the Sr. Warden, the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, a Stewardship update, and a report from the Search Committee. We will pause and thank our outgoing Vestry members: Richard Crone, Becky Myers, Maury Wolfe, and Zach Shipley.
Join us for the Annual Meeting this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. in the Parish Hall.