On most mornings--except in the cold of winter--Tim and I have early morning coffee in our small screened porch, which opens to a stand of woods in the back where we regularly see deer, some times foxes, and often our neighbors walking themselves and their dogs.
I drink my coffee from a cup which reads ”Eclectic, Enlightening, Engaging, Emmanuel.” It's a wonderful motto or slogan dating, I think, from the early days of Rodney Hudgen’s time as Rector. It's meant to identify the present Emmanuel and an ongoing commitment to the days ahead.
Does it still reflect who we are? I like to think so, though perhaps not in the same ways as six or seven years ago. With me as your Interim Rector, the Sunday services are probably closer to The Book of Common Prayer than they might have been before, but we still regularly use materials from other Anglican provinces and our denominational partners. Though our choir has not yet started its season, I trust that it will continue its tradition of offering superb music from eclectic sources. Having Sugar (Rob and Lucy's white dog) in the front row most Sundays also says something fun about who we are.
I hope you find the sermons enlightening at least most of the time. We anticipate a new season of the Adult Forum and trust it will bring intellectual and spiritual stimulation. The several parish meetings we have had in the past month have been enlightening as we have heard a variety of voices offering differing perspectives and experiences about who we are and where we want to go. The commitment to Emmanuel is remarkable as people engage in growing not only in numbers but in our spiritual lives and in our connection with the world.
The vestry and the parish’s commitment to the renovation of this building to make it more accessible for us and for all who come here is a sign that we intend to engage ever more broadly and deeply with the community around us.
Can we do ever much more? Absolutely. Might we do some things differently, even in this time of transition? Certainly. Let us continue to show our care for one another. Let us listen acutely to our own voices and the voices of those who look to us to model the love of God. Let us be open to the notion that “new occasions teach new duties.” If we do this, I believe that those coming to us--be they visitors, prospective members, or a new rector--will find Emmanuel Eclectic, Enlightening, Engaging. Lift high the coffee cups.