Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Celebration Dinner

Last night, our dear friends (in the British style, I shall call them Mr. and Mrs. A--) took us out for a celebration dinner in downtown Kenosha at this cleverly named little bistro, Wine Knot. It was kind of a "thank you for letting us be your realtors" dinner, they told us, but more importantly, it was a celebration of us finally moving to Kenosha.

They've been waiting a long time for us!

Six years ago, they attended Father Rooster's ordination to the priesthood, since Mr. A and Father Rooster have known each other since their first year at college. (They were Freshman Class President [Fr. R] and Vice President [Mr. A]!) Mrs. A was deeply moved by the service and the presence of the Holy Spirit. She told Mr. A at that time, "We need a church like this in Kenosha!" (And she's lived there her whole life, so she should know.) She was especially struck by the Isaiah passage, "Here am I, send me."

It was probably soon after that that they first asked us, half-joking and half-serious, if we would consider moving to Wisconsin to help them start an Anglican church--the first of many times they would poke us teasingly and say, "Don't you want to move to Kenosha?" "No," we would respond, deadpan. We didn't really feel like there was anything to consider. We loved Rez and our friends there, Father R. was needed as an assisting priest there, and I had my homeschooling network I couldn't imagine leaving.

But they kept praying--and driving nearly an hour to another AMIA church, Church of the Redeemer. The rector there was Fr. William Beasley, whose picture appeared a couple of posts ago. He'd been building a network of church plants based on the African model of starting churches with lay leaders called catechists:

In many parts of the Anglican Communion, day to day parish ministry is carried out by catechists. A catechist in most parts of the Anglican Communion is someone who is licensed by the bishop on recommendation of the priest and local church council. ...In most parts of the Anglican Communion, the priest comes for Holy Communion only when it is possible. The Catechist organises and conducts worship services on Sundays when there is no priest, and throughout the week, the catechist rings the bell that calls people to Morning and Evening Prayer. In most villages, the catechist also works with youth, educates parents and godparents for the Baptism of their children, rehearses those to be confirmed, and many other duties.

Some dioceses have training centres for catechists, in some dioceses catechists are trained by priests or by more experienced catechists.

Most catechists also assist in the distribution of Holy Communion when the priest comes to a village for celebration.

(Sorry for the long quote, but if I'd just linked to Wikipedia, you'd have had a lot of skimming to do to find that section!)

Father William encouraged the A--'s to go ahead and start a church in Kenosha, with Mr. A as the catechist, and with the help of one other couple who lives in the area. He promised to come once a month, and he volunteered Father Rooster to come once a month, too (knowing he would be happy to do it).

And that was the start of our involvement at Light of Christ!

Some may remember that early on, our interest in Kenosha was piqued by a property there, with an old Catholic church, a school building, a rectory and a monastery--for sale, cheap! We've had a long-time dream--and a call, we believe--to one day start a monastic-type community with daily corporate prayer. One of the biggest difficulties was finding a property--especially so in the western suburbs of Chicago--and we wondered if this affordable option, not too far away in Wisconsin, was one God was leading us to.

Over time we discerned, with the counsel of many advisers, that the property was probably not a good one for us. But God used it to open our hearts to Kenosha, and to the thought of moving. That property also excited our kids' imaginations and planted visions of risk-taking for God, which ultimately helped them accept our move with openness and enthusiasm. God knew what He was doing, even though it seemed like a rabbit trail for awhile there.

So what about the community? Are we just bagging that idea? I know a few of my readers may be interested in joining us, if we ever do it, so I should update them.

It seems as if the Lord is leading us to concentrate on the church for now. But we are still eager to add the community piece whenever He indicates, which may be by the perfect building or an ideal piece of land becoming available. How we would afford such a purchase is another hurdle--but that's looking too far down the track, I think. The assignment He's clearly given us to focus on for now is the church...and only He knows where that will lead! But we do hope that down the line, it will lead to the community.

Ah, the excitement of following Jesus! You never know what's around the corner...or how long it will take to get there.

It might take six years! (Right, Mr. and Mrs. A?)


Bronwen said...

He knows the bigger picture and can see your path ahead as it goes round corners... Your faithful trust in Him will find you going where He wants you to go... in six days, six months or six years!
I love reading your blog and following the momentous changes and callings you have followed to do His will... I need your kind of faithfullness to keep me going and praying that one day I may attempt to be as faithful a servant as you and your family are to His ever lasting love.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

I can't wait to see what's next for y'all. Sounds like you're surrounded by such wonderful people who will work and support and help you so much, no matter what it is!

At A Hen's Pace said...

Bronwen and Megan,

Thanks so much for your encouragement!

Bronwen, I am so glad to hear that our journey is inspiring to you--praise God.

I had a writing teacher in college who urged us to "tell your story--God has given every one of us a story to tell."

It's weird to be in the middle of telling a story when I have no idea of the ending. But I do trust the Author--it's been a "good read" so far!


Summer said...


So excited that you are there! And even more exciting to hear your enthusiasm --- I know you must be tired for all of this and to still be able to have such a great attitude is admirable. I'm praying for good things for you and the family.

BTW, great picture of you and Papa Rooster -- Love it! You guys look great.

We hope we'll see you this summer?!?!

Love to you all!

Anonymous said...

I love the pictures of you and the A--'s. :-) So glad I can finally see you person every Sunday!