My friends, there is a lot going on in the life of the church. We only need to look around in our parish to see it–our ongoing Harvest House ministry, our active youth group, ongoing celebrations of our 225th Anniversary, new faces populating our pews, the start of an environmental ministry group in our parish, and the myriad of special events that we have scheduled for the rest of the summer and fall.
As exciting as it all is, what is even more amazing is that it is just but the local manifestation of a massive surge of life coursing through the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Earlier this spring, each region of Connecticut held its inaugural convocation as it gathered together members from the many parishes within each region to imagine what might be possible as we begin to look at opportunities for collaboration and exploration of new ministries in each of our local contexts.
Since those meetings, nothing has slowed down even though we are in the summer months. New ministry networks–collaborations of two or more people from two or more parishes working on common ministries–have been springing up all over. The breadth of ministries being explored by these new networks is amazing: environmental issues; racial justice; Africa partnerships; liturgy, music, & the arts; and even micro loans, to name a few. It seems that every time I look, there is something new and exciting being started.
I believe that what we are witnessing, in our local parish and in the wider Episcopal Church in Connecticut, is the movement of the Holy Spirit. We are collectively stepping out into the world to seek God and to participate in God’s mission. As we take these first steps, the Spirit is active and enlivening–opening new opportunities and bestowing upon us all excitement and passion.
Nor am I the only one who feels this way. Which is why this fall, we are trying something new and exciting as a part of our annual convention–an opportunity to celebrate the work of the spirit in our midst.
On Sunday, November 20, for the first time in many decades, we will hold a massive, gathered worship service open to all Episcopalians in Connecticut, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, titled, “Celebration of the Spirit.”
And you are invited.
The Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, will be joining us to preach to a crowd of as many as 2,000 of our sisters and brothers from all over the state. It will be a service of music and song, proclamation and celebration. If you have never had the opportunity to pray and sing with people in worship on this scale, this is a day you will not want to miss.
Following worship at the convention center, you will have the chance to learn more about some of what the spirit is leading us into with the Ministry Network Expo. This continuation of the celebration will feature many ministry of networks that already exist or are starting up around Connecticut as well as a collection of engaging and experiential workshops from a handful of the ministry networks.
The Celebration of the Spirit is a free event, and given the limitations of space, registration is required. I will of course be there and it would be wonderful to have a large showing from St. Stephen’s. Given that this will take place on a Sunday morning, arrangements will be made for worship here at St. Stephen’s for those who are unable to join us in Hartford–more details will follow soon.
If you have any questions about the Celebration of the Spirit, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to joining with you and members from all our parishes for worship in November!