Journeying: With God’s Gracious Favor & Continual Help (Elevation 2.0)
The following letter from Wallace+ appears in the February/March 2011 Epistle newsletter:
My Dear People,
Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy Name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – A Prayer for Guidance, The Book of Common Prayer (page 832)
|Journey to Adulthood: Caroline, Emily, Genny, and Lucy, members of the Journey to Adulthood Youth Group at St. Paul's, get a little silly on Sunday, Jan. 30 during the Farewell Reception for Youth Minister Bryan Appel. Photo by Youth Mentor Maureen Hains|
A student at the time, he immersed himself in reading, study, and spirited conversation about world events, about government, philosophy, and morality. Not yet twenty years old, he was working toward a law degree at the University of Giessen, in present-day Germany, when he was picked up by the police and taken in for questioning. On his person, the authorities found pamphlets espousing political views seen as radical. He would spend the next four and a half years in prison.
Upon his release, he made the decision to leave Germany and come to America. He first went to Philadelphia, where he managed to learn English in just three months, and, in turn, he became a teacher of languages.
Three years later, coming across an advertisement for a teaching position at William and Mary College, he made application. He was recognized as easily the most qualified candidate and won the appointment.
In Williamsburg, he found lodging in the home of a fellow member of the faculty, Beverly Tucker, and it was there, that Christmas, in 1842, that, as a gift to the children of the family, that he put up the first Christmas tree in Virginia.
He soon met his wife, and also soon began to consider a calling to ordination in the Episcopal Church. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1847 and, after serving several small parishes in Virginia, was called to St. Paul’s in 1856, where he would serve for over thirty years, momentous years in the life of St. Paul’s Church and in the life of the nation.
To think of the young Charles Minnigerode, the student of 1834, and then to think of him, in 1889, upon his retirement from St. Paul’s, presents us with a compelling image of journey, the journey of life, and the journey in faith: of what it means to make our way through the world, and through our days, seeking God’s will for our lives, and asking God’s aid all the while.
As we move into the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War & Emancipation, Dr. Minnigerode is naturally more in our consciousness than he might otherwise be. Having said that, we can just as easily look to the life of our patron St. Paul as well, as we ponder the events of his life, as he journeyed with God, far and wide, across the Roman world, seeking to do God’s will. And, indeed, in every generation, this has been true and is true: God’s people, with God’s gracious favor and continual help, seeking to do God’s will in the world. And, indeed, so it is with us, here at St. Paul’s, today.
Just over a year ago, we completed Such Great Heights, a process of exploring two essential questions, "Who does God call us to be?," and "What does God call us to do?" Out of that time of discernment and visioning, last winter we moved into action with Elevation. It has been a busy and exciting year, with much to celebrate about what we have done together—from the new energy and offerings in our music ministry, under the leadership of David Sinden; to the continued, prayerful refinement and strengthening of our worship services; to the start of our Covenant Groups, including Caring Companions, a course Kate is leading, as training for pastoral care ministry. And the year ahead is equally full of promise!
Below, you will find Elevation 2.0, a list of action items for the year 2011. As with Elevation, so with Elevation 2.0, these plans for action are rooted in the discernment and visioning we have done together. Working with a committee of parishioners, led by Vestry members Anne Rusbuldt and Don Switz, we studied the results of our Such Great Heights movement, talked with parishioners, sought the Vestry's counsel, and spent time together thinking and praying, before finally seeking and receiving the Vestry's support for Elevation 2.0.
As you look over Elevation 2.0, please pray for God's guidance as you consider the year ahead and what parts you will play in our life and ministry together. And please mark your calendar for Sunday, February 20, when we will celebrate our second annual Elevation Sunday. The sermon that morning will focus on Elevation 2.0, and, during the forum hour, there will be opportunities to learn more about and get involved in the various offerings included in Elevation 2.0.
Meanwhile, I look forward to another year with you, as God continues to lead and guides us onward and upward, that, through God's most gracious favor and with God's continual help, all our works may begin, continue, and end in God and in God's will.
With great thanks and anticipation, your brother in Christ,