Dear Friends in Christ,
Stop what you’re doing, look around for a moment, and catch your breath.
How does it feel? Pretty good, I suspect. If you do it long enough, you might also notice things that are invisible in the torrent of daily life. The grass outside is greener than when you last looked. The light is slanting through the window at a different angle. Your neck hurts. You’re thirsty.
Moments when we pause and become aware are vital to our health. We are about to take one here at Grace Church.
The Diocese of Virginia recommends periodic Mutual Ministry Reviews for congregations and their rectors. These reviews are not a performance evaluation or strategic planning. Instead, a Mutual Ministry Review is a pause. It is a moment of reflection and awareness.
Dr. Lisa Kimball, Vice President for Lifelong Learning at Virginia Seminary, joined our vestry at their meeting earlier this month to talk about the review process. This coming Sunday, she’ll conduct the actual review, talking with the vestry, reviewing foundational governance documents, and incorporating feedback from staff members.
The purpose of the review is to notice things that are invisible in the torrent of our daily life. What patterns—healthy or unhealthy—have we fallen into? What assumptions are we making about roles and responsibilities? Especially in these challenging last two years, emerging from the pandemic, who have we as a church become? Is it the church we want to be?
While the process does not formally involve the congregation as a whole, I encourage you to reach out to a vestry member or one of the clergy if you have thoughts you’d like to share. And I encourage you to pause and think about your own ministry, here at Grace Church and out in the world.
What identity have you drifted into? Does it feel like the person you want to be? How do you feel about the part you play in the communities around you?
Pause. Reflect. Be aware. And then move forward with clarity and the boldness it allows.
Yours in Christ,