Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
This past week I took three days of retreat time to center myself, recharge batteries, and experience God in beauty, conversation, silence, and worship. What made this retreat time so peaceful and fulfilling is that I did this retreat with five of my classmates from Sewanee (two were absent). We came from Alabama, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina and we placed ourselves in the North Carolina Mountains where it was cool, rainy, sunny, and just amazingly beautiful.
We spent time in silence and in conversation accepting one another's struggles and joys. We prayed together, raising each other up as well as all our churches and ministries. These times are so important for clergy and they can be so important for all of us. Times where we experience the love of God in nature, in one another, and in worship center us in God.
Our group has met every year for five years and we dedicate ourselves to being with one another to support, pray, love, and worship. We gain great insight into our Lord and the Church and share ideas that have worked well and not so well. This year we decided it was time to take another step to build a larger community of the faithful. Our plan is to have a joint mission trip next summer with our group of seven churches and ministries (one of our members is the Chaplain at The Episcopal School in Jacksonville, FL and another is the Chaplain at Texas A&M University in Austin, TX).
Our first mission trip will be in Montgomery, AL where we will help repair homes in and around this historic city of the south where the civil rights movement laid its foundation. Our plan is to gather together in the 3rd or 4th week of June. We hope to have somewhere between 80-120 People of God helping others, building new friendships, and experiencing God's Kingdom in new and exciting ways. It is my hope and prayer that many of the All Saints community will participate, so please put the dates on your calendar. We have chosen Montgomery for our first gathering because of the great infrastructure available for housing and support.
We are called to go out into the world to help one another and All Saints has a great history of doing this in Gaston County. The opportunity to spread our missional spirit farther out is also a real and important aspect of this ministry. Let us go forth, out into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit, Alleluia, Alleluia! Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia!
Blessings this week,