Senior Warden ReportPaul Aparicio

 

F.R.O.G.

                Last month I was blessed to have participated in Cursillo with many of our brothers and sisters in the diocese including the love of my life, Andrea.  I won’t try to convey the experience in this report but will at least say that a holy presence was evident throughout the weekend.  The downside of attending though was that it fell on the same weekend that the Commission on Congregational Vitality (CCV) was here.  I look forward to reviewing their report of the event and speaking with each of you about your experience.  One of many takeaways from Cursillo, which applies to our vital faith as a community, is our willingness to fully rely on God (or F.R.O.G. for short). 

                This holy concept has touched me more than once in recent times.  As many of you know my father unexpectedly passed away recently and if you know anything about my faith journey then you know my relationship with him has been a large influence on who I am today so I was unsure what my grieving would look like.  Would I be sad like most people that lose their father?  Would I be glad considering who he was?  Would I be angry at the reality that we never were able to reconcile face to face?  A few Sundays ago I did not plan to be overwhelmed by the grief in the middle of mass however I was reminded that God is the one who has plans, not me.  What surprised me was the environment He chose.  I was blessed to have my brothers and sisters in Christ (y’all!!) around to console me.  And over the weekend at Cursillo I experienced another grieving moment that overtook my ability to control my emotions.  Again it was God’s plan to have His love within arm’s reach.  I have been in love with our Church for many years but these last few weeks have reminded me how deep that love is.  I thank all of you for your love and support.  I am truly blessed to be your brother in Christ.

                 The love I speak of is what drives any actions that come from our focus on Vitality and how the Church lives out its baptismal covenant.  With that love is trust and reliance that God is there to help us.  Each time we affirm our baptismal vows we invoke this reliance by saying “I will, with God’s help.”  What continues to astonish me is how crucial that reliance is and how difficult it is.  The culture around us is enamored with the idea of self-reliance.  The moment we start to believe that the source of our action will come from within we start to turn away from God and towards our fallen selves.  In turn this restricts our ability to live into the calling we discern about at events like the one with the CCV.  Perhaps it also holds us back from participating in other activities like the Parish Life Survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K2PT7KF) or others that might look like outside our comfort zone.  It’s perfectly normal to be unsure about what God is leading towards but we must hold on to the fact that God will be there to aid us on our journey.  He will not leave our side no matter how tough we seem to think our ministry becomes.  When we engage in ministry that requires us to dig deeper into the lives of those in need this holy concept again becomes powerful.

                On May 14th, Love INC will hold a training at St Paul Lutheran Church, Sheboygan Falls, (9 AM to 1 PM) that will focus on relational ministry in helping those in need.  The kind of ministry that is one-on-one.  The kind of ministry that 83% of you that filled out the Parish Life Survey (if you didn’t here is the link again: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K2PT7KF) marked as a setting you would enjoy interacting with.  I encourage all of you to attend this event whether you feel this is your calling now or not.  The reality is that our Lord has charged us since our baptism to seek Christ in others through these kinds of ministry and since it is His plan not ours we should expect an encounter at some point in our lives where this training will come into play.  Please don’t miss this opportunity.

                I pray that all of us continue to live into the Church our Lord has commanded us to.  I pray that as the day of Pentecost approaches we all will be filled with the Holy Spirit as we fully rely on God for vitality.

 

Your Senior Warden,

Paul Aparicio

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