I wanted to wait until the start of our stewardship month before talking about St. John’s fourth goal for this year – sustainability. This goal is part of a story that has been going on for a while here.
St. John’s has over a hundred years of Christian witness in Squamish, but has been served by part-time clergy for the past ten years. Then, two years ago, the parish council decided to take a risk, to do something different. They saw the potential for what God might be up to through St. John’s in the Sea to Sky corridor. Therefore, they approached Archbishop Melissa and asked for help achieving this dream, requesting a full-time, direct appointment.
I am amazed and inspired by the courage, trust and vision that it took to come to this decision.
At the time, I was just finishing up seminary, and seeing a potentially good fit, the Archbishop sent me. I have been honoured and humbled by that decision and overjoyed to have spent the past year and a half with you.
Usually new priests are sent to do a “curacy” – an apprenticeship in a bigger church. To support this, the diocese gives a grant to these churches, to offset their taking-on of these temporary staff positions.
In our case, we received two years of a curacy grant to support full-time ministry here, to help the transition from part-time to full-time.
So, here we are in the story, with this goal of sustaining full-time ministry as this $40K/year grant comes to an end part-way through 2021.
That might seem overwhelming, but I believe, with God’s help, we can do it. In 2019 we received $20K of the grant and ended the year with a $18K surplus. We almost didn’t need it. That is amazing!!! It is a sign, I believe, of God’s surprising abundance.
There have been some amazing things happening in the past year, certainly enough work for full-time ministry, let me tell you! I am excited; I am hopeful, because I have caught your vision of a community of faith supported by full-time ordained ministry. As we continue through our stewardship month and beyond, please consider this vision, this goal, as you make your pledges. Please pray for sustainability for the ministry of St. John the Divine.
Thanks be to God!