Open Thread: What has been the most encouraging thing to happen in your parish in the last year?

Please note carefully the wording. We are assuming you are worshipping somewhere–what has happened there that has most lifted your heart in the last year? Specifics and details help it to be more interesting for others–KSH.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Parish Ministry

19 comments on “Open Thread: What has been the most encouraging thing to happen in your parish in the last year?

  1. Charles says:

    Two things that are both new and encouraging at my parish:

    The beginning of lay-led Evening Prayer on Sundays.

    The first Integrity chapter starting up with the full support of the Rector and Vestry.

  2. Sarah says:

    It’s good that Charles starts us off with yet another demonstration of the antithetical foundational worldviews of the believers of the two gospels within TEC.

    What those who believe one gospel deem “encouraging” those who believe the Gospel recognize as sinful and corrupt.

    Two gospels, in one institution, both of which beliefs are mutually exclusive to one another.

  3. Undergroundpewster says:

    Wow #1, I find that discouraging. If in learning that the church can change what once was considered a sin into a blessing, you find encouragement, then I wonder where does the process stop?

    In my church, a small dedicated group (with excellent lay leadership) is studying the Bible! For a parish that has been without a Bible study for 20 years, that is encouraging.

  4. drjoan says:

    We are a new/old congregation: We left TEC about a year and a half ago and have moved into an SDA facility and are growing steadily. Lots of things have happened that are encouraging & heart-lifting. Among many, we have (1) raised up (and ordained) a new young deacon; (2) moved from being in a “synod” to being part of a diocese (Cascadia); (3) initiated a course in “Christianity Explored;” and (4)produced and expanded a Congregational Directory (it is loose-leaf and small–one page per family). I call our Church “the Church in the Box” because week by week we unpack the acoutrements of worship (chalice, linens, flowers) and fellowship (food, coffee, etc), set them up in the SDA worship center and parish hall, then pack them up again for use the following week.

    St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Portland, is truly an encouraging worship experience!

  5. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse says:

    Our Catholic parish, St. Teresa’s (Lincoln, Nebraska) just got a Franciscan priest assigned to us this summer. We usually get a brand-new, fresh-out-of-seminary priest, so having a middle-aged Franciscan show up (habit, sandals, and all) has been an interesting turn. Factoring in recent economic developments, I find that Franciscan spirituality and philosophy would be a fortuitous gift to the faithful right about now…

  6. fvanzant says:

    The original Episcopal Church in downtown Colorado Springs was founded in 1873. When the congregation moved to the larger, elegant “cathedral on the North side of downtown, the old church declined and eventually became a restaurant and ultimately a wretched nightclub with the name “Syn” which was more than appropriate. That club lost its liquor license due to many violations. The orthodox, conservative breakaway congregation of the Episcopal church (2006) leased other property on the West side of town, saved their pennies and finally bought the old downtown property. They are now in the process of renovating it and at the same time worshiping there. The old church went through the whole circle of church, nightclub, church. A tribute to the direction of the Holy Spirit and the perseverance of the orthodox Anglican (CANA/ADNA) group. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

  7. jkc1945 says:

    We delivered over 68,000 pounds of frozen meat to food pantries in our area in all of 2010.

  8. episcoanglican says:

    After disaffiliation, lawsuits, eviction, church-in-a-box life, and getting on with things, we have had a steady stream of new people joining our church, especially couples with young families. Our older generation are especially delighted to see all the children and babies. Several lay people have also felt God’s specific call to lead particular lay ministries. The body of Christ is working and growing in this little parish and it is a blessing and encouragement.

  9. Rob Eaton+ says:

    Completion, and signing off by city, of extensive remodeling one of our existing buildings for a preschool in January; state licensing completed and opening of the new preschool August 1st; first region-wide healing conference last fall; expansion of parish healing ministry; starting new 18-month confirmation/catechism class for 5th and 6th graders.

  10. Ian+ says:

    I’m not keen on setting up an Integrity chapter in any parish, like #1 is, but really, #2 & #3, I’m not feeling the Christian charity in your responses. Surely we can do better.

  11. Scatcatpdx says:

    drjoan has beaten me to the punch. But I think it was a year from Easter. It was about the time I lost my job and it was a easer bus / light rail commute for me. form two 1/2 hour to an 1.25 hour.
    PS You know me for my like of a certain cartoon charter on my back pack. Yes St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Portland, is truly an encouraging worship experience!

  12. Jim the Puritan says:

    Well, one of the things I am most excited about is that we will be running an Alpha course starting in September. We spent the summer training leaders (“hosts” as they are known) and are planning for and anticipating 150-200 participants in the first offering of the program. This follows up on an Alpha conference we held last fall for local churches, to promote re-starting of Alpha in our area.

    For information on Alpha, see here:

  13. Sarah says:

    Hi Ian — I think comments #2 and #3 were appropriately charitable. I suppose it all depends on how one defines “charity.”

    Comment #1 was the equivalent of my announcing that the most encouraging thing to happen in my parish — St. Swithins in the Foothills — was the the “first Tea Party chapter starting up with the full support of the Rector and Vestry.” They’re about the equivalent in political motivation and activism.

    And doing so over at one of the TECusa blogs.

    Typical trolling behavior and appropriately called out. Charles sounds oh so much like “Fred” of years gone by — heh. And we all know who “Fred” was too.

  14. David Keller says:

    Sarah–I was thinking the same thing. Integrity stole the church. I can be polite/civil, but I don’t feel especially charitable.

  15. evan miller says:

    Our parish switched from one “combined” service on Sunday mornings to a “traditional” one with robed choir, vested servers, acolyte, crucifer and torch bearers and 1928 BCP, Hymnal 1982 and sometimes 1940, Gospel procession, etc. and a second “blended” service with praise band, no vestments for clergy or servers, no processing of the Gospel, and using the Kenyan BCP. Our rector had dreaded going to two services, fearing that the nave would look empty and thus turn off visitors. On the contrary, each of the services is nearly as full as the former combined service. Many who attend one service will also serve at the other and we have a shared adult education hour in between, so there’s still plenty of opportunity for fellowship and not sliding into an “us and them” mindset. It has been a real catalyst for growth in our parish.

  16. Undergroundpewster says:

    # 10 Ian+,

    I was demonstrating “tough charity.”

  17. Ian+ says:

    Sorry, folks. I’m so naive, I didn’t realize #1 was “trolling”.

  18. olejoeintex says:

    We are new to our AmiA parish but managed to join two busloads of folks going to Response USA at Reliant Stadium in Houston,Texas.

  19. priestwalter says:

    Our parish in Visalia, CA opened another new church (St. Charles) after outgrowing the other two Catholic Churches in town that have standing room only crowds at 12 Sunday masses.