Rector’s Report 2018
The Rev. Kyle Tomlin
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It’s hard to believe that 2018 has already ended and that we’re now halfway through January of 2019. Time seems to have a funny way of speeding up the longer you live; it feels like just yesterday that 2018 began. I know that several of you have expressed that to me on various occasions and I do think it holds true. The end of year now having arrived, I want to take just a few moments to reflect on 2018 here at Church of the Messiah. No doubt in the reports that follow, you will hear about the various administrative, social, and outreach activities that took place here throughout the past year, so I’ll leave it to the others to speak about those things. But as one who was charged in my ordination to “preach, to declare God’s forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God’s blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood, and to perform other ministrations entrusted to [me]” (BCP 531), I want to focus on the spiritual health of our congregation. To put it another way, I want to reflect for a few moments on where we see Christ at work in our congregation, speaking His Word to us– putting us to death to our sin and raising us up to the new life that we have been so graciously given in Him. To that end, I can think of no better place to start that our common worship life. After some initial bumps in adjusting certain practices in our Sunday morning worship following my arrival in 2015, I can honestly say that I now feel like we’ve settled into a nice groove with our practice of the Liturgy. Our Sunday worship here at Messiah manages to be godly and reverent, with just the right touch of lightness, but most importantly, it is Christ-centered. Jesus is the reason why we gather every Sunday, so that He might speak to us in Word and Sacrament. That said, almost every Sunday morning one of you has commented on how you have felt the presence of Christ here that morning. And with good reason! He is here! He has promised to meet us in Word and Sacrament, and He is always true to His promises. In addition to our Lord’s presence in our worship on Sunday mornings, He has also been present at our Morning Prayer services on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Every Tuesday and Thursday, four of us gather at 9am to celebrate the Daily Office for the morning from the Book of Common Prayer together. It has been a wonderful way for those who attend to start their day in Jesus, hearing His Words and praying His Word back to Him. It usually takes us about 20-25 minutes and it certainly helps us to keep our focus on Jesus for the remainder of the day. If you haven’t attended, I would encourage you to consider coming to join us. This is a good habit to have!
Beyond our common worship life, I can see the hand of our Lord at work in the various teaching ministries that take place in our church throughout both the week and the year. This past year, we have continued to have Adult Ed. on Sunday mornings in which we’ve studied together the Old Testament lesson for each Sunday. For many of you, this has been your first in-depth exposure to the Old Testament, and it has been a joy for me, as your pastor, to see you growing in your knowledge of our Lord’s Word. Along with Adult Ed., we have continued to have several wonderful opportunities to grow in our knowledge of the Scriptures and in faith. Our Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies on Saturday and Thursday mornings, respectively, carried on their work faithfully. (You can see those reports later in the booklet.) Sam Bouchard and our Sunday School teachers continued to do an excellent job of teaching our children about the Liturgy in Sunday School. We also continued to have a Wednesday afternoon Rector’s Bible Study in which we studied, and are studying, Paul’s Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians. Several men from our parish have joined Fr. Kyle every other Tuesday night to study the fantastic Christian basics book, “Law & Gospel” published by Mockingbird Ministries. During Lent we did an in-depth study of the Anglican faith as expressed in the 39 Articles. And during the Fall, we had an 8-week Catechism class that was attended by about 15-20 people. Since a large part of my calling to you is to teach you, it has been a joy this year to see so many of you coming out for these teaching opportunities. All of this is to say that, by God’s grace, I think we are in a pretty healthy place, spiritually-speaking, as a parish. Our Lord is at work among us and is doing His work on us. As He promises, He is always unconditionally faithful to us. This doesn’t preclude the fact that we have our challenges as a parish, of course. No doubt, we do. Like many parishes, finances and membership are always sources of struggle. But, with that said, I would like us to keep in mind what our Lord has told us: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). So that’s what I’d like to encourage us with for this coming year. Let’s keep our eyes focused on Jesus and trust Him to handle that we need for the year ahead. He is trustworthy and true, and He will do it.
Yours in Christ,