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Vestry/Council Retreat Friday, September 26, 2014

On Friday night, members of the vestries/council of Grace Church, Christ Church Episcopal and Trinity Lutheran Church, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church gathered in our Grace Church office to continue our walk together in faith as we seek to love and serve God and God’s people in the Southern Berkshires.  First we spent time visiting with each other, getting to know a bit more about our histories and our spiritual stories before sharing a meal graciously served by Sue and Rick Gore.  Together we watched a talk by Bishop Sean Rowe of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania entitled, “Of Delusions, Half-Truths, and High Expectations of God.”  Bishop Rowe appealed to us to remember that we are children of God and that while we may feel that we are in the wilderness “we serve a God who is going to take us to a new place.”  Nothing is impossible with God. He said it is time for us to act and to “raise our expectations of what God is doing in the world because our God is willing to co-create with us.”

Our three churches have come together in worship and service. Foyer’s Groups comprised of people from the three parishes are gathering in homes to share supper and stories. What is God doing in and through us in this time and place? There is much good work being done in our communities.  Our work in Gideon’s Garden, the Lee Food Pantry, Great Barrington’s People’s Pantry, the Sheffield Pantry, and our Community Dinners is bearing good fruit.  Children and young people are being transformed through the love of God, relationships are being explored with other workers in our community, we are sharing with others what we are learning as we embrace our gifts and our challenges in being church, and weekly we are gathering in our congregations to worship God through beautiful music, inspiring prayers, and generous fellowship to give thanks for all that God has given us.  

Ringing in my ears from our gathering is the call from Bishop Rowe to “act, act, act, act” and to raise our expectations for what God working in and through us can accomplish.  We have Good News that the world needs to hear.  How can each of us individually and collectively share God’s love that will change the world one life at a time?  I ask for your prayers and invite your creativity as we do the good work God has given us to do, keeping our heart and minds open for ways to participate in God’s new and abundant future.

Peace be with you.

Janet

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