Sunday, October 11, 2009

Planting a seed

On behalf of TEC and the Episcopal Diocese of Rio Grande it was my privilege to open the doors and preside at Holy Eucharist this morning.

I did not have time or resources for a whole new sign but I did get our logo out there, and the word "Episcopal."

The church as they left it; the church as it looked this morning.

The new frontal is made of green African fabric that has been waiting in my fabric collection for a worthy purpose. It was just the right size to hem and hang on the altar too. A friend picked up flowers. I brought in my Ethiopian processional cross for the occasion, though it is safely back home now.

Attendance: a hefty 4. An offering was taken and will be turned in to the diocese.

Someone from the break away group parked next door and watched to see who and how many showed up. If we are threatening, we must be doing something right.

Afterward my friend and I went to the 66 Diner and had retro comfort food: meat loaf for me and chicken fried steak for her, both with mashed potatoes and gravy.

So, we have a building (two in fact) but no church (the people). Pray for God to raise up leaders with the hearts of missioners, for wise and creative and effective communication and outreach. There is opportunity here.

Rehydrating and resting this evening.

Blessed be Godde.

--the BB

19 comments:

Fran said...

Thanks be to God! People will come, Church will be happening up in here!

Jane R said...

The Lord has built it (with some help from you); they will come.

Paul said...

Let's just make a wild estimate and say the SW quadrant of ABQ has 125,000 inhabitants and two Episcopal churches: the Cathedral Church of St John downtown and Our Saviour in the South Valley. This is a conservative area: blue collar, military, immigrant. Yet I cannot help believing that an inclusive church with respect for tradition would have no appeal when most of the churches in this area (and that's the older half near the river - don't see many in the new construction areas) are conservative evangelical or pentecostal. There is a dearth of mainstream denominations in this part of town. (No formal demographics, just observations from driving around.)

susankay said...

prayers indeed for you and The Church of Our Saviour -- and for its congregation -- now and yet to grow.

Apostle In Exile said...

I keep thinking that the Episcopal Church is one of the best-kept secrets in the United States - and that there must be lots of people who would leap to come, if only they knew the richness of faith that we offer.

Malcolm+ said...

I'd quibble with you, Paul.

I agree you have two buildings. I'd disagree you have no church.

I seem to recall it was "wherever two or three," and you had four. And assuming your canons are the same as ours on this point, the minimum required is one person to communicate with the priest.

susan s. said...

Prayers for you and the church.

Glad you had the meat loaf, but I go with your friend... chicken fried steak. Was there gravy? It's important, you know.

Paul said...

Malcolm, your point is quite valid, except these were imports, friends who traveled from cities north of Albuquerque to the far south end of Albuquerque just so we could indeed make Eucharist together on this first day. In terms of joining the entire host of heaven, yes, the community of the faithful was there and not alone. The Church of God was gathered.

My concern is sustainability. When San Gabriel, where I have been assisting, started it began with no building but with a core group that made the intentional commitment, and they lived in the area that would be served. So I was speaking in the sense of lacking a local community. My acolyte friend had to travel an hour to get there. I was the only local.

I do believe the Holy Spirit is up to one of those divine tricks, wooing us into an unimaginable future.

Paul said...

Susan, of course there was gravy. White for her and brown for me.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Prayers ascending for your church!

Paul said...

Thanks, Göran. I am taking "your" as plural as it is now a project of the diocese and is not in any sense "my" church.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, what a lovely thing for you and your friends to do. I pray that the People of God from nearby will begin to gather and form a community at the Church of Our Savior.

susankay said...

And I love the 66 Diner. Do they still have the mini-Sundaes?

susankay said...

Oh -- and I just remembered, doesn't St Mike's partner with and RC church down that-away? Perhaps some of those folks have friends who would like to attend.

Paul said...

Yes, they do have mini-sundaes still, Susankay.

Paul said...

Partnering did not come up in my conversation with Fr. Brian. The Norbertines are very close to Our Saviour. There may be possibilities for joint ministry there but it is VERY early days yet. We have only been thinking about this for one week. (Gasp, pant, gasp.)

BooCat said...

Paul, if Our Savior opens its doors every Sunday and God, with your able assistance, puts a meal on his table, I believe a hungry community will eventually find you and come through the door to be fed. After the first one or two, the word will spread and your parish will grow. I will be praying for you and the community that surrounds Our Savior.

Paul said...

I believe so too, Boocat. Thanks to you and so many for all the prayers.

Jane R said...

Speaking of meal -- any way to have a simple meal for anyone who is hungry? I mean other than Mass? I bet there are people who could use a meal.

I know it's a lot to plan for a start-up but maybe a couple of casseroles and some tortillas and some coffee? Word gets around the street and the neighborhood.