|Photos are from our church picnic, on the grounds of the Kemper Center.|
The big news, on a global scale, is that we have switched our affiliation from AMIA (the Anglican Mission in America) to ACNA (the Anglican Convocation of North America). My Anglican readers will be interested to hear that we are coming in under Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh, but we are in a process to form a Midwestern diocese with a local bishop, in the next year, hopefully.
Not that we won't miss our current AMIA bishop, Sandy Greene, and his lovely wife--a couple of my favorite Anglicans on earth!
Over the past six months, Father Rooster and I have attended several "unity meetings" and services for church leaders in our region. We recently attended this meeting; one of our parishioners wrote that post for the new Upper Midwest Anglican website. (Shameless plug here for Lisa's blog, Devotions from Daily Life. Lisa is a spiritual director and she has worthwhile things to say! She is also way more disciplined than I am about keeping posts short. She started blogging after moving to Kenosha about a year ago, so see--moving to Kenosha will inspire you! And there is the cutest house EVER, for sale right around the corner from us; it's a corner lot with a white picket fence around the back yard. Here ends shameless plug for Lisa, her blog and her brilliant choice to move to Kenosha--which you, also, perhaps, should consider. :)
In the pews, our move into ACNA has changed nothing at Light of Christ. We are so grateful to God for blessing us each week with an uncommon gift of community and fellowship, powerful words from the Lord in sermons and in prayer, and music that leads us into worship and praise. Sometimes we are surprised that our little congregation hasn't grown more or faster, because many of us feel like it's the best-kept secret in Kenosha...except we try not to remain a secret! Part of the problem is a geographical one; we meet in the chapel of the Kemper Center, which is right on Lake Michigan. It's on a quiet street, and we can only put up signs on Sundays, so our community presence is light. We never did a big postcard or billboard campaign, since God kept sending us visitors and some of them stayed, to bring us up to our present number of nearly 70 regulars. It's a really nice size, I have to say.
I've had prayer requests posted in my sidebar for ages, and I want to thank and update anyone who's ever prayed for us! I'll start with the church "wishlist." God did send us a guitarist--Father Rooster's brother, who is a professional musician. He and his wife and our niece live in Chicago, and it takes them over an hour to get here. They have to come super-early in the morning too, so that he can practice with our other musicians before the service, so it is a huge sacrifice for them. But what a blessing to us all--and he says it is to him, too. He can lead vocally as well as with the guitar, so when he's there, it adds so much.
Also, in the last year, B17 has grown so much as a guitarist that he can fill in when his uncle isn't there. Our deacon pianist's 13-year-old son can also play well, so our worship team provides opportunities for both these young men to develop their skills.
We prayed for a drummer--and God sent us one who also does sound, the husband of the afore-mentioned Lisa! B17 has been learning to do sound as well, and he runs the soundboard while John accompanies our worship team on the hand-drums. Add piano on some songs--our deacon is torn between his diaconal duties and the keyboard--and an amazing violinist--our worship leader is another professional musician--and we have some beautiful moments in worship together, as well as some laughs when the last-minute nature of our rehearsal time means things are sometimes less polished than we would like. But we chuckle and are blessed just the same.
I also asked for prayer for a director of our children's ministries, and someone agreed to do that. But then we scaled back on children's church, since we had a number of kids age out of the program at age 6 (when we expect them to remain in church with their parents) and we also lost, through a job-related move, a family with four young children. Sunday School has been in a holding pattern too. We've had discussions about starting a youth group, and we are about to host a conversation in our home this Sunday (one of the advantages of a small church is we can still invite everyone over!). It will be about discipleship in our whole congregation, which naturally will include discussion about our kids. Prayers appreciated!
Finally, I asked for prayer for a volunteer church administrator, and we haven't really filled that position in the way I still envision. But we've had great volunteers who do our bulletin each week, and schedule our worship participation each quarter, and maintain our church website. Our vestry, which my sidebar refers to as "new," is now in its second year, and they have laid down that solid foundation that I mentioned as a prayer request, and they continue to provide excellent spiritual and temporal leadership.
We still have families in extreme financial difficulties, but no one has lost a home yet and for that we are grateful. We have a wedding coming up in November, of two parishioners who met at our church! It will be our first wedding at Light of Christ.
In other news, several months ago we looked at a church building in Kenosha that we might be able to buy...but then figured out that we don't have the budget to heat, cool and electrify the place on a monthly basis. We are thankful for affordable rent at the Kemper Center, and I was recently reminded that another thing we have to be grateful for is our very own storage room there. Many mobile churches have to cart all their stuff onto a truck and store the truck somewhere during the week. With the storage room, we are blessed to have a relatively simple set-up and take-down, as well as easy access to our supplies throughout the week.
So much to be thankful for at Light of Christ!