Bishop and Chapter – Two Minutes for Cathedral Ministry

At diocesan synod (04 November 2017) our Bishop laid out a challenge to all our congregations. He said about our future:

“We will be looking outward, rather than inward. We will not be concentrating on what is good for us but what is the best for others. We will be making a difference in the communities where we live with the intention of seeing people enter into communion with God through Jesus the Son.”

To do that effectively here at the Cathedral we need to strengthen and organize ourselves so we can be God’s disciples in the community. This means we are going to need a higher level of hands-on congregational involvement in our action teams and working groups.

As Lay Chair of Bishop and Chapter I am hearing more and more that a shrinking number of willing workers are trying to keep up with growing needs. So how do we turn this around?

James, the brother of Jesus, has given us a hint when he said in his 4th chapter: ‘What good is it my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?’ Then he adds: “Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

Perhaps it starts with each of us asking ourselves: “How do I thank God for the blessings I have received?” and “What gifts has God given me, and how am I using them for the building up of our congregation and our outreach ministries?” In other words, what am I doing to support the mission of the church?

We are trying to build a volunteer culture that values ‘teamwork’ where ‘many hands make light work’ and where individuals – without being asked – volunteer their time and talent.

We have probably 25 or 30 hard-working groups and committees that operate under 8 ministry areas established by Bishop and Chapter: Health and Pastoral Care, Christian Formation, Worship, Mission and Outreach, Property, Hospitality and Social, Administration and Finance, and Communications. Bishop and Chapter members provide leadership and coordination, but it is in the day-to-day good work of the 25 or 30 different groups that the real work, God’s work, gets done.

If you feel called by the Spirit to offer your time and talents here are a few of the many groups that would appreciate having you join them:

  • The Monday Morning Outreach group would love to have more people to prepare food or to sit and talk with our guests
  • The Guild of St. Joseph needs a few more men with handyman skills especially some who are younger
  • There is always need for Sunday morning greeters
  • The four Cathedral teams who serve and clean up at the Community Kitchen need new members
  • The Christian Formation team and Kurt Schmidt are developing exciting new programs for youth and young families, including Godly Play, which starts this morning. They have an immediate need for people with gifts in the areas of woodworking and artistry.
  • If you have gifts in the area of administration or finance or office work, there are many ways you can help.
  • If you have a gift in music, we have a wonderful choir and many other ways to use those gifts.
  • The Anglican Church Women (ACW) is a wonderful group of women that support the mission work of the church and draw us together for meals and special occasions.
  • We have a growing number of elderly members of our congregation. Some are housebound and some are unwell. Perhaps you’d like to be a friendly visitor.
  • We all know the power of prayer. Perhaps you would like to join our prayer team in support of those with special needs.

Finally I bring to your attention a very important vacancy on Bishop and Chapter. We have asked several different people but we are still in need of a person who has gifts in the area of hospitality and welcoming. Some we asked said they’d be part of this group, but no one has offered to join Bishop and Chapter and coordinate this work. We are especially anxious to put in place a simple system that properly and purposefully welcomes newcomers to our Sunday services. We need to discuss what that looks like and we need someone to start the ball rolling.

The message today is that we need you ...

In a book that Bishop and Chapter recently used as  study, Divine Rennovation: From a Maintenance to a Missional Parish, Father James Mallon said that growing churches dedicate time and talent to ‘welcoming and belonging’ programs because it is through those programs that newcomers first join the church. Only then they can begin to explore important questions of faith.

We all lead busy lives and there never seems to be enough time. Some might say “I thought Bishop and Chapter did most of the work.” Some might assume there are lots of volunteers. Some might see or hear a notice, but wait for a personal phone call. Some might think my weekly offering of money is my gift to the church. Some might underestimate their gifts and think ‘they don’t need me.’ Well, the message today is that we do need you. Many more of you.

If you believe your life has been blessed by God, offering your time and talent for the building up of his church is one way to say thank you. I invite you to speak with me or another member of the Chapter (the names are in the bulletin), or speak with Dean Geoffrey if you feel called to help. Thanks for listening.

Jim Morell, Lay Chair of Bishop and Chapter

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