Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some thoughts on life at St. Michael's by Kathie Kendall

Kathie Kendall a member of St. Michael's and someone who is very involved in the life of the parish, took it upon herself to write the following and asked that I post it. Thank you Kathie for your encouragement and prayers.

When I entered the sanctuary this past Sunday I immediately saw two small children sitting, very comfortably, with their Sunday school teacher (not their parents). They were waiting with excited anticipation to take their part in delivering donated food items to the altar to be blessed by our Rector. These items had been donated by fellow parishioners serving as the Body of Christ. Then I watched a fellow parishioner straighten Jim’s stole so that it lay correctly before he processed down the aisle to begin our worship he does every Sunday.

I had just finished teaching a Sunday school class to students that come every Sunday to continue in their walk of faith, One junior high student began our class with a prayer of thanks that we are free to gather together, happy to share in fellowship with one another and eager to enhance their knowledge of Scripture. During the week there have been Bible studies to attend with fellow Christians. There were meals prepared and delivered to the Neighborhood Academy. Faith in Action volunteers are active in our community. The youth of our Church spent part of Saturday raking leaves for people who needed this service. Our Church hosted a wedding, friends met in our church to witness this Sacrament, with our Rector officiating. Women met to prepare our altar for Sunday worship so we could share the body and blood of Christ.

I am touched by Jim’s blessing for children too young to receive communion, by our Church’s commitment to support our young, newly baptized members, by Jim’s instruction to our children receiving their first communion, by the way our children are welcomed and loved as we worship together... all a direct reflection of how we serve as the body of Christ.

When I first attended St. Michael’s I was sorely in need of a spiritual guidance, a church home and a church family. I walked into St. Michael’s and felt the presence of God. Upon returning the next week and being greeted by name by Jim, I realized that I had found both my church home and my church family. Jim has been my spiritual guide and I appreciate his gift to preach. I believe that Jim fulfills the duties, obligations and ministrations entrusted to him. I believe he has nourished us and continues to strengthen us to glorify God, both by his instruction and example.

Jim and our church family have stood beside me and my family during both happy and sad times. I have never felt alone or forsaken and will be forever grateful for all that has come to mean to me and my family.
My heart breaks for the extremely difficult position in which Jim has been placed. My heart breaks for our fellow Christians that feel they must leave our church due to whatever reason or for wherever they genuinely feel their hearts are leading them.

I know how confused so many of us feel and I mourn the loss of members of our church family. I have listened to people that have turned to Jim and wanted answers that he
doesn’t have or that they don’t want to hear. I have heard criticism of Jim because he either isn’t keeping us informed enough or keeping us informed too much. I don’t feel that Jim has misled us and I do believe that Jim continues to welcome all people to worship with us, I believe that Jim continued to feed us. I also don’t feel that God has left St. Michael’s and I pray that eventually the people that have felt the need to find another church home will return to St. Michael’s when they realize that they may never be in a more supportive and loving fellowship. I just wanted you to hear from someone who isn’t leaving and who will continue to support and pray for Jim and St. Michael’s.

I would ask that you all keep Jim in your prayers:

Dear Lord, We are called to support our Rector. We give thanks that you have called Jim to lead us and bear the responsibility and authority to maintain the unity of our Church. Jim must serve as mediator between hurt and conflicted members of our church and other places he is called to be. Even Jesus found making everyone happy an impossible task. Jim needs our prayers, encouragement, appreciation, respect and honor. Lord, we lift up the hands of Jim and his family, give them shelter and rest. We pray that You will preserve their family time, that You will cover their home, that their financial needs be met. We ask that You protect them and let them know how much they are loved In Jesus name ................ Amen

Submitted by: Kathie Kendall


Celinda Scott said...

Thank you so much, Kathie. What you said makes me think about our own rector and our own parish. I hadn't realized that St. Michael's had been experiencing pain similar to ours. I don't know what will happen, but it helps to know that others understand.

Robert Christian said...

These days have been very difficult for so many. I hope that in one of our diocesan goals, going forward will be to learn to be more tolerant of the various ways each of us live into our relationship with God. Each of us has our own special relationship with God and each will respond differently. I find in my former parish (of 38 years) that people feel there is a pat answer which I simply couldn't agree with and therefore was in someway not fully acceptable to them. I was tainted and wouldn't have been allowed to run for vestry or be in any teaching position with young people (even though I teach in a special needs setting).

Tolerance and diversity are a part of life and we need to emphasize that as we move forward. If it's any consolation to Katie; I'm sad about leaving my old church family. It pains me to think those people see me as skewed or misled even as I've been fully integrated at my new home of 3 years.

Something I found really special in Katie's letter is that the church family has been such a support in good and needy times. So often we try to get people in the doors by offering a way to save themselves. We are much more than that, then just people reading the bible. We need to share that with those who aren't "churched."

People will come and go and the going at times is very painful especially when the pain is directly related to what we're experiencing here. Hopefully the pain will lessen if we learn to respect one another as we grow forward into making God's kingdom a reality on Earth.

Yikes, Kind of preachy. Sorry, Hope it helps.