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Parishioner's Take On Change

Why are we all scared of change? 

Everything in our Uni-verse changes. People change, clothes change. History changes. Even our understanding of God and Scripture changes. It seems to me change is definitely part of Gods’ plan for creation.

Recently at a Sunday brunch a lady who I like and admire said that she had to tell me that she held me personally responsible for all the changes at St. Johns’. From the red lobby entrance; the servers duties; the chapel and baptismal font moves it was quite a list. At First I was shocked; then an-gry. But I eventually re-alized that she was right. Every time we welcome a newcomer into our midst, we, you and I, are promoting change. We are called to make room for new people. We welcome not only their physical selves but the gifts, ideas, and creativity each person brings to our community. 

New people see our congregation from dif-ferent eyes. For the first few months of their lives with us they bring a real insight to who we are and what we are doing. They question what we do not to challenge us but to understand what we are doing and why we do it. They allow us to re-examine our methodology and our vision. We believe, or at least I hope we do, that God will supply all our needs. Sometimes that need may be specific at other times that need will be supplied by someone new to our community unaware of the gift they bring.

I will say my friend was wrong about many of the things she believed that I directly changed in her world here at St. Johns’. I am sure that the St. Johns’ she en-countered when she first came here is much different from what it is now. She and I are both elements of change and both our congregations are the better for it. 

Last month we elected new vestry members. A new Junior and Senior Warden will be ap-pointed. In the next few months visitors may become new members and the life of our church will profit from them. I think we should remember today that St. Johns’ is more than a building and institution. It is a living body of members and friends whose future lies in their individual participation in the life of this church. Each of us is responsible for the changes that will allow us to survive the coming years. It is the foundation we must lay during this ag-onizing period of transition. Every Sunday we acknowledge change when the priest takes bread and wine and says to us, “This is my Body and Blood”. We may see only the bread and wine but in our hearts it is Christ before us. In the sharing of this Sacrament we become one with Christ and so the whole world changes in us and about us. I admit as I grow older Change is not as comfortable to me as it once was. I have become far to comfortable in the routines and rituals of my life.  Yet I look forward to who God will send our way and the future that awaits this parish. Enjoy this day and be glad in it!

---Philip Maniscalco