Recently, our Senior Warden, Shawn Rhodes, asked the congregation to think about what Christ Church means to them. It was an exercise that he did in preparing his short words about why his family gives financially to our church for his remarks about Stewardship. His words were powerful and moving, and made me begin to think about what this church means to me.
It’s not just my job, it’s not just the place where I am called to live out my priesthood. Christ Church has come to mean so much to me, and it’s not just because of my role at the church, it’s the people.
In my reflection, I realized that Christ Church has been the place where I have experienced God’s grace in a tangible and real way. I think it’s easy for churches to talk about grace and God’s love, but putting it in action is much harder. I’ve been the recipient of this love and I’ve seen it flow out to other congregation members and to our community. I’m not sure that our congregation knows how deep these roots and the outpouring can be, but it is a powerful force and a spiritual gift of this congregation.
I’ve seen a deep willingness to learn and grow. There is a hunger in our congregation for growth, and not just in numbers of people in the pews, but in a depth of faith. Folks are willing to step into uncomfortable places, to have humility, and to admit when they have room to grow. This is a pure joy to watch, and a delight to lead and to see others leading; this is a unique talent of this congregation.
I’ve seen so much spiritual resilience in this congregation, and I know that it’s rooted in our communal desire to worship together. As our in-person attendance slowly climbs back to pre-pandemic numbers, I’ve seen the joy in the worship return. And I’m convinced it’s not just because we like how the church feels when it’s full, but because we truly love to worship God together in community. A true gift of this congregation is how much they love to love each other; how much joy is exchanged at the peace, and how we all root for each other’s health and growth.
What does giving to Christ Church mean to me? It means all of these things will thrive well past my tenure here, which isn’t ending anytime soon. I give to Christ Church not because it funds the staff’s salary, but because I think about the person that will sit at the very desk from which I write this in ten or twenty years. I think about how that outpouring of grace and love, and humility in learning, and delight in worshiping together will shape who we are in the future. I give to Christ Church because it’s a community that knows what it’s about and continually chooses to authentically live into their mission.