June 16th, 2014 by Carl Buffington
Our family’s first week in the CO Rockies foothills, 8 thousand feet, the thermometer dipped below 30 below. It was the new home of Episcopal Renewal Ministries. A far cry from Washington DC’s climate, our former home where I was on the staff of ERM.
It wasn’t that I wanted to remember just how cold cold can be, actually record breaking, in traveling to Akron, Ohio, earlier this week, it was to visit a couple friends, Dave and Judy Smith, and spend some time with one of my heroes of the faith, Chuck Irish, who impacted our lives deeply.
Chuck was one of the leaders in the renewal that swept our country from the 70s to the 90s. He was a full time parish priest in Bath, Ohio, and was also a full time director of ERM. Now he is chair bound with Parkinson’s. I am still soaking in the precious several hours of chewing the fat with him and then the hours of breaking bread with Dave and Judy. My day, my life, was most wonderfully impacted.
En route and between planes I read through your impact cards – what a blessing! Thank You!
We had asked at the Sunday service and then at the Parish Meeting for you all to share something that impacted you at, or about, New Covenant this past year. We got close to 100 responses. Again, thank you.
(AND we would love to hear from the rest of you. Please take a communication card from the ushers this Sunday and put it in the rectangular basket!)
Here’s a summary of what you shared.
Far and away the leader of the impact pack of responses was the worship and the team. There were also quite a few who were touched by the support, love, grace, and forgiveness of you all, the members, the body of Christ. You all also impacted quite a few with your kindness, gentleness, welcomingness, the extended familiness, oneness, witness to faith and love of our Lord, and support for those hurting and in need.
See what I mean about a blessing?One thing I found interesting was how many said “Closer” and “small groups” impacted them. It was clear that those who participate in them are sincerely impacted.
Here are some of the other ways you said you were impacted:
Teachings, sermons, VBS, children’s programs, the youth groups, the tapestry, prayer ministry, Captivate - women’s conference, “In His Presence,” “With,” the healing service, children dancing in the aisles, mission and outreach opportunities like the caroling, the 10 Second Rule, communication like the Friday Epistles, pastoral care and hospital visits.
Reading not just between the lines, it seems clear that most of us are most impacted by loving, caring, supportive relationships.
It was one of those “like yesterday” moments as I was saying good-bye to my friend. Holding hands with him in prayer, I realized that friendships forged in Jesus’ love are not limited by time and space, and impact not only our lives but somehow in their transcendent way impact those around us, on earth and maybe even in heaven.
Do you suppose we could be impacted by heaven? Impact heaven? Do you suppose when we love one another, “We are seated in heavenly places?” The apostle Paul did.
Thanks for the Blessings,