Dear Beloved Community,

[After attending Beaverton Pride Celebration with some of the congregation last Sunday, June 30th] I’vebeen thinking about the t-shirts I had made for Beaverton Pride. They say, “St. Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church: A safe space for queer faith.” Given where we will be wearing them, the message makes sense. We want people in the queer or LGBTQIA+2 community to know that they are welcome among us, especially since so many churches are not welcoming.

But again, I’ve been thinking – St. Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church is a safe space for faith – full stop.

Yet, given our times, it is probably worth being a bit more specific. So, I’ve been playing around with a few ideas.

St. Gabriel the Archangel is a safe space for ______faith.
welcoming faith
affirming faith
social justice faith
anti-racist faith
creation care faith
heterosexual faith
queer faith
youth faith
family faith
your faith
my faith
St. Gabriel the Archangel is a safe space for all our faith.

Some of these things are aspirational. Some of these things are actual. There are probably many other things that could be added, but I like the idea of 12 things for some reason. I like the idea that it lists different kinds
of faith as if they were all separate from each other but then ties them all together at the end. I’m wondering if this might not be another t-shirt design. More importantly, I wonder what you all think about this. (Truly, I want to hear your thoughts. – that is my email; please use it!)

As rector, one of my dreams is that we are always discerning God’s call to us – listening for where the Holy Spirit is calling us to move towards – which means we are always dreaming, always seeking, always praying for guidance to help us understand how we can best serve God and God’s world. I think we are called to mission by God – and that mission changes and evolves over time as we – disciples and apostles of Jesus – grow and
mature in our faith and develop our ability to hear God when God speaks to us.

I believe I have been called to St. Gabriel as your rector to help us grow into what we are being called by God to become. I have talked about this almost since I arrived here. The world, our country, the Church, and we, as a parish, are on the cusp of something. We all are being called – you can practically feel it in the air. What will it be? Who will we become? It is exciting and frightening at the same time, but the Holy Spirit is always
moving, and we, well, we are invited – no, we are called – to move along with and beside. I honestly don’t know what this will look like, but trust me, God is and always will be with us every step of the way, leading us inevitably to God’s kingdom.

More prosaically, but no less important, I’ve also got some news about a change we are making to our Rite II services in July and August regarding our music. We will only be singing the first three verses for our Opening, Gospel, Communion, and Closing hymns. I know it has been the tradition to sing the entire hymn, but I’ve been told that sometimes 6 verses can feel like just too much joyful noise (this from the man who loves it). So, during our months of experimentation, we will be shortening our hymns. At the end of August, I’ll be interested to hear, just like with the alternative lectionary, what folks thought about this change.

In the peace and love of Christ,

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