" H e y   A l l "
           Notes from the Vicar of Grace
              inclusion · service · discovery · gratitude
The Rev. Bill Harper

Hey All--

"Is this the real life . . . ?"

If you're of a certain age--or just enjoy popular culture--then you can't even ask that question without hearing Freddie Mercury's beautiful voice singing back ". . . is this just fantasy?"  I keep looking back at the Bishop's visit two Sundays ago asking those questions: was that real?  Was it really us?  The answer comes back a clear and simple "yes!"  I have dreams for Grace, and sometimes I worry that the dreams are nothing more than smoke screen and fantasy, but on that particular Sunday I knew the dreams were very real.  Truly, our hearts sang--with Holly and Hannah, and all those kids singing loud and proud for peace and hope.  We laughed.  The Bishop--Greg--was funny, open, real.  We blessed and installed Arienne--that was very, very real and a dream that became reality through both planning and persistence.  Most of all, there was worship, praise, honesty, thoughtfulness, and people of Grace who committed themselves to lives lived in faith.  And it all happened.  It was the real world.

Sure, church life can often be divorced from "reality."  One of my deepest hopes for Grace is that we will live a real life, together.  That we will know who are and even "why" we are.  Last week, following Greg's visit, we all received an invitation from our Bishop's Committee--those folk entrusted with helping us stay real.  They want our participation and input as they--and we--try to shape vision and plans for Grace.  The invitation came with a draft description of a purpose and focus statement for Grace (click right here to see it again--and be reminded).  Of course organizations create statements like this all the time, and then they get tested by real people and real life.  Personally, as Grace grows and evolves, I see the risk of losing some sense of our deepest core values.  We can easily be tempted toward the fantasy of being all things to everyone.  This statement and invitation from the Bishop's Committee provides a solid, real reminder of the things that matter most to us; the things that can become a solid, strategic road map as we try to do that honest work of allocating time and dollars.  But it makes sense for us to talk about this together--to test the theory.  The Bishop's Committee carries the responsibility to dream and imagine, and also to test and prove.  I hope you'll help them do that.  Find a way to participate.  Listen to other Grace folk, and add your own heart and mind.  There are four distinct opportunities so pick one, and join in.  Even if you've never done this kind of thing before at Grace, become an "owner" of this place we love.

Session 1/Thursday, July 8                             7-8:30pm                        Past BC members

Session 2/Friday, July 9                                 10-11:30am                     Open to all

Session 3/Wednesday, July 14                       7-8:30pm                        Men of Grace

Session 4/Thursday, July 15                           7-8:30pm                        Open to all

In the real world I dream of living in, people work together to create a life that somehow makes it easier for everyone to do good, and to be good.  I honestly think that the focus and purpose being suggested for Grace can help that happen.  Faith and Spirit; Children and Youth; Compassion and Justice-these are the things that enliven us, and could shape us for years to come.  Linked with our primary principles of Inclusion, Service, Discovery and Gratitude I see a real world taking shape.  What do you see?  Let's find out together-and (this is no cliché) let's keep Grace real.

BTW: Still hearing Freddie Mercury's voice?  Click here! (Ah, sometimes fantasy is fun!)


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