Study Leads to Action

The most influential part of my job is the decision of our annual theme for the Adult Forum.  Last year's theme, What About Now?, a study of local and global outreach and the Millennium Development Goals, was an emotional eye-opener.  We have all heard about people who have given up their day jobs to help the less fortunate, but meeting some of them was quite humbling.  Their stories and experiences were heart-breaking but their commitment to peace and justice was encouraging.  Bud Ogle, founder of Good News Partners.  Vincent Donoghue from Ten Thousand Villages.  Theresa Rooney, volunteer coordinator at Misercoridia. Mike Kinman, Director of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation.  Kevin Marinacci, Vice President of Fabretto Children's Foundation.  This study led the parish to act: the U2charist, our now-annual parish service project, volunteer work at Misericordia, supporting Bishop Lee's Millennium Goals Challenge to raise funds for mosquito nets last year (MDG #4) and school uniforms this year (MDG #2), and this June's high school mission trip to Nicaragua.  

This year we are on a journey . . . A Journey of Faith, taking us down roads of emotional, economical, and theological enlightenment, leading us to a Celtic Liturgy last fall and the women's retreat "Rest Stop."  During the Season of Lent, we traditionally focus more intentionally on a topic tht teaches, inspires, and moves one to action.  The idea for this year's Lenten Study Series came from a conversation I had last spring with Art Duquette.  Because of his work schedule, he doesn't have time to attend a weekday study program, but he does want educational opportunities made available to him. He then suggested that we do an Adult Forum series on world religions; this seemed the perfect focus of study for this season of self-examination.  So for the last six months, Fr. Hardman, Fr. Hull and I have met, studied, researched, made phone calls, sent emails, and finally came up "We Are All God's People." Once again, this has been a learning and humbling experience; I am impressed with the quality of our guest speakers and the subject matter of the program. Through the perspectives of a young Roman Catholic, a retired Presbyterian minister and a devout member of the Greek Orthodox Church, with an in-depth study of the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism and Islam, the English Reformation's Anglican Church and today's Anglican Communion, this series will help us see that in spite of our differences, we truly are all God's people.  Although we are already three weeks into the study series, there is still a full month to take advantage of  this most-worthwhile educational opportunity. It will be interesting to see how we as a parish are moved to action as a result. (Audio of the Lenten Study Series presentations is available here>>>)

Since having the oversight of the Adult Forums, I've met the most interesting people, learned a lot about myself, our community and our world, and realized there are endless topics to explore.  It is  an awesome responsibility to be able to positively influence the direction of our parish life, and very satisfying when it proves to be successful.