|Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and for the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.Book of Common Prayer, p 832|
|At our meeting on Monday night, the vestry continued work on the big projects St. Luke’s is currently facing. There are a handful of big pieces in motion: the property sale proposal, exploring options to rent unused portions of our building, and some recently-discovered maintenance expenses. (We’re working on other things, too; these are just the biggest. The wardens will have their usual after-meeting summary for you next week.)|
Up till now, we’ve been working on these items separately. But while reflecting on our conversations about the possible land-sale, I realized that all three are actually different elements of the same question: What is God calling us to do with our property? To faithfully answer that question, we have to consider the whole picture, not just individual parts in isolation.
We began working on that by mapping out all the issues at play. To name just a few:
* How is our space currently being used?
* How do we balance our own needs with making our space attractive to potential tenants?
* What all do we need to do to keep our building up-to-snuff and how can we accomplish it?
* How can we use what we have to help others?
* What process will we use when it’s time to actually make a big decision like selling land?
* What’s our strategic plan for the future?
Beyond “Do we care about affordable housing in Rochester?” (obviously, we do), we’re asking questions about who we are, how we fit into the neighborhood and city, and our sense of God’s purpose for us. In addition, we’re trying to answer practical questions about which rooms are being used by whom and for what. Only by approaching the conversation holistically will we uncover what God wants us to do.
I’ve been praying about this for a long time but on Monday I stepped it up. Spurred by a question my coach asked, I decided to make a special prayer for guidance regarding God’s purpose for our land and building. So every day for forty days, I’ll walk the perimeter of St. Luke’s property and seek God’s guidance, using the prayer above. I’m praying it once as I start, just outside the entrance to our worship space, and then at each corner of our property. When I get back to the doors, I conclude with the Our Father.
On Monday, I asked the vestry to consider how they’re going to pray about this over the next forty days. And today I’m making the same invitation to you. We’re facing some big questions and wondering exactly what God is calling us to do. Please consider adding some special way of praying for God’s guidance for our community over the next forty days. You could walk our labyrinth once or twice a week, add a special time of silence during your morning devotions, read and meditate on scripture, or something else entirely.
Whatever you choose to do, I’d love to hear about your practice and what you hear from God. We’re working together on some big questions and the more we share the better we’ll hear God’s call.
Yours in Christ,Justin