You may remember the catch phrase “Come on down” from the television show The Price is Right. Bob Barker would call out a name and invite the person to come to the stage to guess the price of some item--it was kind of silly fun.
Summer has come to its accepted, if not official, end on Labor Day, and now I want to invite folks to “Come on back.” There is always a summer lull in churches when people are away or engaged in summer activities while children are out of school. Or others just take the summer off, sleeping in, reading the newspaper, spending time with friends, walking the dog, whatever.
I don’t need to tell you it has been a time of turmoil and transition for Emmanuel. Perhaps some of you are not here because you could not bear the tension or you just wanted church to be a safe place. Some of you are angry or confused by what was going on. Those are quite real reactions to life here. In the past several weeks, we have been trying to address the issues facing us as we move ahead with the choice of a new priest to lead us. Responses to the survey which was sent to all parishioners are now being compiled, and we will discuss them at the forum on Sunday. Thanks to all who were a part of that effort or have otherwise shared your voice in the conversation.
But I want you to know that things are happening at Emmanuel. The parish responded generously to the annual Backpack Project, and a wonderful mix of folks prepared the backpacks and other school supplies for children across Baltimore headed back to school. Our organ scholar, Jordan Prescott, is back, regularly filling the building with music as he practices; the staff is engaged in preparing for Sunday and for the coming weeks and months. Folks have been here measuring and surveying the building with so that we can move ahead with the Accessibility Project and our commitment to making the buildings more welcoming to all. A plasterer is making much needed repairs in the Gallery and in the Peace Chapel. Without wearing blinders or being naive, we are looking ahead.
The Wednesday noonday Eucharist resumes on September 12, and there are plans in the works to have an adult education component sometime in the fall. As I mentioned, the Forum resumes this Sunday with a session lead by our Senior Warden on what we are hearing from you and our shared hope for Emmanuel. Our splendid choir also returns on Sunday, enriching and enhancing our worship. We are putting in place our Stewardship efforts for the coming year.
On a personal note, I will be here through Sunday, September 16th, and then Tim and I are off for a long-planned trip to France. I return on October 21st and will be here as your Interim Rector until the search process is completed.
If you have been dis-engaged, please re-engage. If you have been here all along, thank you. All of you, come on back as we look forward to a new season in the life of this wonderful parish.
— Jim Holmes