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Finding Your Place in a Faith Community

            Find your place in our Faith Community…define the terms of your relationship to our Faith Community…are you part of the Apostolic Community…the Eucharistic Community…the Nominal Community of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church?

            Last Sunday’s Gospel (Lent 3 Year A John 4 – the encounter between the Samaritan Woman at the Well and Jesus)…seemed like a graceful time to preach about finding one’s place…I have a connection to my homily, Homily Lent 3 Year A Part One and Homily Lent 3 Year A Part Two…if you would like to listen it.  At the beginning of her conversation with Jesus, the woman at the well had one relationship to her community…at the end of the story as told in the Gospel of John…her relationship to Jesus and to her community had changed.

            That’s true about us as well.  The hoped for goal for every disciple is to become part of the Apostolic Community.  However, it is also true that our faith journey may lead us in various directions.

            In addition to the YouTube links, I have attached a Levels of Relationship to a Faith Community which describes the various circles of relationship in every Faith Community.  I concluded my preaching last Sunday by encouraging everyone to find your place and then to identify people who may be part of the Eucharistic Community…and people who may be part of the Nominal community…and look for opportunities to invite them into the next circle of relationship.  Some may have been hurt by the Church…others may have been overwhelmed by other circumstances in their life…still others may be waiting just to be asked back.

            Take a look at the descriptions below.  Find your place in our Faith Community.  Lent is a season when we are encouraged to consider what it means to be baptized…what it means to be claimed and loved and sent forth…a people, forgiven, healed, renewed!

 APOSTOLIC – Baptized Persons whose lives are woven into the life of the Faith Community come what may…although may or may not be involved in elected leadership…engage in one or more areas of mission and ministry.

EUCHARISTIC – Baptized Persons whose primary point of contact may be the Worship Life of the Faith Community…may be involved in elected leadership…may be engaged in one or more areas of mission and ministry.

NOMINAL – Baptized Persons who may once have been part of the Eucharistic Community but for a variety of reasons…now relate to the Faith Community on a more irregular basis…may once have been part of the elected leadership and are not engaged presently in any aspect of mission and ministry.


Most importantly, remember that where ever you are on your Faith Journey, the people of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church…welcome you and walk with you!

Every blessing,


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Linda…we are blessed with access to media resources that provide us with the opportunity to upload important reflections…preaching…teaching…to the website so that those who can’t be with us on a given Sunday…can be part of what was offered…Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. April 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Maggie…I am glad you and your family have found your place among us…and it is important to affirm that for many reasons…our place in a Community of Faith may change…it is my desire to continue to welcome everyone to take the next step…

  3. Maggie G.
    March 31, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Father Sparks,
    Your homily last week was very enlightening. In the past I have thought of my place in the faith community more as “where am I on my life journey” in faith. I believed, that after much time I would find myself having “arrived” at the Apostolic center of the circle. Your homily helped me see that “where I am” can be a deliberate decision of taking a step into the next ring of the circle. It needn’t take years to get there. Thank you for the invitation to take that next step!

  4. Linda P.
    March 31, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Father Doug, I just watched the YouTube links. How very nice to have the opportunity to “be in church” on those weekends where we cannot otherwise attend! Keeping connected if only by technology is surely an advance over missing out. I too find the gospel story of the woman at the well to be very significant and telling, and agree that her story segues so nicely into a discussion of one’s place in our community of faith. I also identify with the cyclical nature of how individuals move from a Nominal to a Eucharistic relationship, and back again. It is quite reassuring to hear you say that this is a normal and expected part of being a member of a church — and, more importantly, to know that we all have a standing invitation back into a greater relationship, even if just for a time.

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