Dear Friends & Family,
St. Thomas is a beehive of activity in preparation for our re-opening worship on June 6 at 11 AM, followed by the addition of the 9 AM service on June 27. Most notably, the tech team is relocating their "home" to the originial Audio-Visual room on the 3rd floor and the refurbishment plans for the Narthex that the Building & Grounds Committee has been planning for the past year are finally coming together next week with the installation of new floors and carpet.
Also, please check out the renovation blog by clicking here (and sign up to receive notices) as the asbestos abatement in the lower levels and stairwells of the New Youth Center (aka the Old Church Building) is bering completed this week as well. This will enable our own volunteers to begin renovating the areas where we have expertise such as building a new storage room, sealing the concrete floors, and installing a new kitchenette. We are also in the process of receiving bids from two architectural firms for the scope of work that requires permits and more heavy construction such as the new bathrooms and a redesigned entryway facing Sudley Road.
Meanwhile, our own START team is heading back to North Carolina to lend a helping hand with those most severely impacted by recent floods, we're preparing for VBS the first week after school lets out, and the music ministry teams are recording music to celebrate Pentecost and the movement of the Holy Spirit for Cantata Sunday on May 23 at both services.
Clearly, this is a season of engagement for many of our church leaders and members that I'm hoping will be followed by a season of rest, re-orientation and retreat that will help us collectively "catch our breath" as we move towards our new normal in post-pandemic life together and we prepare for the fall months. In the book Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry author Ruth Haley Barton cites the research of Jim Loehr and Tony Schwatz who note that alternating periods of activity with periods of rest has been a means of maximizing performance of athletes since Flavius Philostratus wrote training manuals for Greek athletes in AD 170 - 245. They write:
"Following a period of activity, the body must replenish fundamental biochemical sources of energy. This is called "compensation" and when it occurs, energy expended is recovered. Increase the intensity of the training or performance demand, and it is necessary to increase the amount of energy renewal... The same is true organizationally."
You may also notice in Scripture that Jesus devoted a good deal of time to renewal, retreat, and rest. In Mark 6, Jesus had just commissioned the disciples for ministry and given them the authority to cast out demons, preach the gospel and heal the sick. After their first ministry excursion, they returned excited about all that had happened. But, when they went to share their reports with Jesus, he didn't have much time to hear them. Instead, he immediately instructed them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while" (Mark 6:31) He seemed more concerned with helping them establish rhythms that would sustain them in ministry than he was in their ministry reports or drive towards success.
Taking our cues from Jesus, my prayer is that this summer we remain connected to Christ through the Holy Spirit, we find time to rest a while and reflect on all the ways God has sustained us through these most intense months of ministry, and we look forward to celebrating a new season of ministry that is about to begin.
Grace upon grace,