Dear Friends in Christ,
My hope for you is that you have had a summer of health and refreshment. This year my summer was spent largely in planning and dreaming for the future of St Stephen’s. As I watch our grandchildren grow and experience things for the first time I am amazed at their ability to learn daily, make new friends and look forward with hope to what they will be one day when they are adults. It inspires me to dream big.
The people of St Stephen’s have put in a lot of work to plan and prepare for the fulfillment of a vision they have held for years – an addition to our current building in order to broaden our services to the community and to enhance our facility for parish events and social gatherings. This dream is scheduled to start becoming reality in a few short weeks. I am delighted to see this taking shape as we start up for the 2017-18 school year.
I am reminded of the faith and hard work it took for the disciples once their dream had come true. You see, they were waiting a long time for their Messiah. They did not know what his name would be, or when he would appear or how he would usher in the Kingdom of God. They thought it would be more of a political victory. Jesus surprised them by revealing the love and forgiveness of God rather than a plan to take over the government. They struggled to see how God could send someone who reached out to strangers, touched the untouchables and ate with people they thought were forbidden. God often breaks into our lives to teach us his ways by doing what we least expect.
How does this relate to our addition? The dream has been in place for years. Funds have been saved and fundraising continues for the expansion of our kitchen to service the events in the new hall. No amount of thinking ahead of what this process would be like prepared us for the hundreds of questions, plans and prayers that have been needed to bring us to this day. Yet in the process, our vision has become clearer.
God often works in us this way. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (55:8-9, NRSV). God always knows the best way to help us grow closer to Him. In this life we are stretched to trust God, ask for help and direction and wisdom, and in the process our character deepens and our faith is strengthened.
I am excited for where we are today. You are always welcome to gather with us on Sundays at 10 am for inspiring worship, prayer and time in God’s Word. If you have been touched by St Stephen’s ministry in some way, please drop by on Wednesdays at 10am to share your story with me or drop us a note. If we can be of service to you, don’t hesitate to ask. May God bless you in faith, hope and love this fall season.
Yours in God’s service,
The Reverend Laura Lightfoot