Dear Friends,

We have had some wild storms here lately, each one followed by some of the most beauti-ful skies, including the recent rainbow directly over the church. Seeing this reminded me of a favorite story of mine in the Bible, “Jesus Walking on the Water”, from Matthew 14:22-33.

For years a picture hung on my office wall showing storm clouds and large waves. In the distance is a boat and in the foreground is Jesus standing amidst the waves with out-stretched arms holding onto Peter who is partially under water.

What caused me to love that picture was the depiction of Peter. The storm raging around him, he is waist deep under water, but his eyes are fixed on Jesus and the look on his face is pure peace.

The picture, like the story itself, reminds me that when the Lord calls us, we must re-spond. We must step out in faith, even when that means leaving the comfort of the boat. In doing so, we demonstrate our obedience to Christ. Seeing the waves, and the storm in the picture remind me that as a follower of Christ, we will not escape adversity, opposition, or distractions meant to take our focus off Jesus. Seeing the boat in the dis-tance reminds me that people are watching, and we must be an example in our faith, and to be someone who demonstrates discernment and wisdom as we lead others.

As I think about the kind of deep faith that it takes to step out, to lead, to be an example for others to follow, I think about how blessed we are here at Bethesda-by-the-Sea to have a leader, a Rector, with such faith, following the leading of Christ.

Father Tim has prayerfully prepared a new Strategic Vision for Bethesda-by-the-Sea, which he will be sharing with the parish in the coming months. This new vision not only helps to chart the course for our future, but it builds upon and strengthens the wonderful traditions of this very special place.

Living into our vision will include some staffing reorganization, as well as structural changes to the way we utilize our physical space. There will be new ministries, policies, and procedures that will enable us to fully embrace all that Bethesda can and should be.

One very exciting change we want to announce is the new Bethesda Nursery! The nursery has been moved from the third floor to its new location on the first floor, in the former ECW room, across from the Library. This allows us to transform the old youth room into the new Flower Guild Room, and to create a new Youth Room on the third floor where the nursery was previously.

Remember, there will always be a reason to “stay in the boat” where it is easy and safe, but there is only one reason to step out and walk on the water – to follow Jesus’ command to “come”.

May the Lord Bless You.

Joseph E. Sanelli
Parish Administrator