May 2017 Message from Father Given

From me: Where do we go from here?

I am very glad to be back with you. Here is how I see these “90 days and 90 nights” while I was up north. You have been served well by supply priests; busy about good things. Another wonderful Mardi Gras was had. Church School, long desired and attempted, is now happening under the direction of Kim Devrow and her husband Darrin. We also have another, long desired, Worship at St. Thomas book for newcomers. More than this, we welcomed Bishop Sumner and his wife to a Good Friday soup and service! This was a milestone for us.

The Bishop’s Committee truly shined and beamed St. Thomas’ light into Dallas. Canon Gilton and Bishop Sumner have our attention and they appointed Canon Morriss as our resource and consultant. This is very good. In fact, Canon Morriss is/will have conducted our Bishop’s Committee retreat April 29th in the Parish Hall.

This retreat will be the beginning of an ongoing conversation about mission: the mission of St. Thomas, Ennis. Canon Morriss will have the Mutual Ministry Review (MMR) surveys organized. The MMR is a mutual review in all directions: St. Thomas reviewing itself, its leadership, its Priest(s); the Bishop’s Committee reviewing our members and its Priest; and its Priest reviewing St. Thomas as one of its newest members.

This retreat will be a beginning. We want to grow. God has blessed us enormously. We have much love and Gospel to share. Growth is happening. We have one new regular attender from the 90 days and 90 nights. The Sunday after Easter we had three visitors: two of them live in Ennis; one of them visits her mother in elder care on the weekends.

This retreat will be a beginning but it is a continuation of faithfulness. After Easter and the Day of Pentecost the disciples never stopped praying and organizing around this quest and question: “Where do we go from here?”

St. Thomas: “Where do we go from here?” There are several obvious paths we are already on: Seek God’s glory; Invite people to church; Give of ourselves to and through St. Thomas Church. There are other less obvious paths to discover and travel on. The retreat and future conversations will help us find them.

Our young children are a year and one-half older and stronger since the last Acolyte training. Some girls have already asked me, “Why can’t I do that?” Sometime in May we will have another training with the help of Betty Glasby, Susan Cooks, and Wally Stroope. Kim Devrow will help us see if it is possible to blend acolyte service with the church school schedule. This looks good either way!

I am glad to be back with you. I am also excited. My “90 days and 90 nights” were seemingly not as connective and productive as yours were, though God has been good to me and my family also. My time up north has underscored the goodness of God: “God loves us too much to let us remain the same.” True of every person; true for every church. Thank you for participating in the MMR survey.