Paul and I had been attending classes and worshipping at The Falls Church Episcopal before we were married in 1984. Fast forward ten years and there were five of us attending on Sundays. All were involved - teaching Sunday school, singing in choirs, serving as an acolyte, member of the Vestry, etc. We socialized with people and did our part but if we had slowly stopped attending, few would have noticed. In 2006 there was a remarkable transition and we found our voices with the few who decided to remain with the Episcopal Church.
With small numbers it was truly all crew, no passengers. I found myself volunteering for things I might never have tried and eventually found my inner leader. When we gathered on Sunday mornings, it was a party. With so few, we knew each other well and passing the Peace became a time to reconnect with those we loved. Although we had always been regular attenders, we now came wholeheartedly and with new purpose. These were our people! It was the infectious generosity and welcome that attracted new members and they were brought into our tight community. We all gave generously, in part because we were needed, and the need was visible.
Then there were more transitions. We lost our priest, the one who helped us in our wanderings. We asked the assistant to stay and she did, getting us through the rough spots with her gifts and amazing spirit. We moved back to the church building, feeling tiny in the huge space but also feeling needed. We continue to show up and stick together and call a new rector. John came to us as we fixed our neglected buildings and, in the process, helped us grow to where we are today. And now another transition.
Reflecting back on all these changes, patterns emerge. In the times of upheaval there was visible need and we all love to be needed and noticed. There were times when we stood up for what was right, holding steadfast to the church that nourished us and contributing beyond what we thought we could. It was talent and time and treasure that were needed in all of these transitions; that is what we gave and continue to give. We have been richly rewarded in each and every one of these situations. We are part of the body of Christ, the body of the church which is its people.
Now, as we begin another transition, we have faith that the right person will come to walk along side us. It is up to us to join the great throng, to contribute what we can and then some, to discover new talents and realize we are needed. And, I have no doubt, we will again be richly rewarded.