Yes and no longer perhaps: commitment to grow

In his address, Bishop Justin challenged us to see parish growth as a natural goal and outcome of being sent, and of spreading the Gospel.  So following his address, Bishop Justin asked all mission units to discuss and decide whether they would voluntarily commit to grow, even if they needed to ask for help in doing so.

As part of the closing worship, Bishop Eleanor confirmed that no mission unit responded with a “no.”  In fact, of all the responses, there were 42 “yes” responses – but as Bishop Eleanor said, “they weren’t just yes – they were yes with depth, yes with consideration, yes with insight, yes with bells on – they were signed and serious commitments, with insight into what needs to be addressed, with requests for help, and prayers for boldness.”

In addition, Bishop Eleanor was thankful for the four other responses which highlighted the need and desire to partake in an ongoing conversation about the health of some mission units, but each with an understanding of God’s call and a desire to work for the flourishing of His kingdom.

It therefore seemed appropriate that our closing worship included the reading of a prayer poem by Walter Brueggemann, entitled “Yes:”

You are the God who is simple, direct, clear with us and for us

You have committed yourself to us

You have said yes to us in creation

yes, to us in our birth

yes to us in our baptism

yes to us in our awakening this day

But we are of another kind

More accustomed to “perhaps, maybe, we’ll see”

Left in wonderment and ambiguity

We live our lives not back to your yes

But out of our endless “perhaps”

So we pray for your mercy this day

that we may live yes back to you

Yes with our time

Yes with our money

Yes with our sexuality

Yes with our strength and with our weakness

Yes to our neighbour

Yes and no longer “perhaps”

In the name of your enfleshed yes to us

Even Jesus who is our yes into your future. Amen.