Rector’s Notes from the Vestry Retreat

The Belltower at St. Thomas;by David Browder: This past weekend, your new vestry had a momentous retreat with your clergy. This was an especially important time to be together in the wake of the last several years of oil price drops, floods and, finally, hurricane Harvey ravaging our community.

We did not minimize the task before us. Our church will be recovering from these events for some years. That is inevitable. All of these events hit Meyerland and surrounding neighborhoods very hard. Many homes lie vacant and many families have moved out of the area. These events also have reduced the financial capacity of our parish and it will take time for our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ to recover. Please pray for our parish and our neighbors. Many remain discouraged, sad, and unsure about the future.

So, what was the mood of our retreat? Dedicated, committed, and hopeful.

Why? Because it is here, beloved friends, at the places where our illusions of control are frustrated that our God makes His abode. This is the domain of the Crucified God, Jesus Christ. It is in the aftermath of something so devastating that St. Thomas’ can again find its contribution and focus. Here is the place we re-form around our original vision: heralding the Good News of Christ Crucified to a hurt and confused world, particularly in our appointed mission field of Southwest Houston.

Our Areas of Focus in 2018

Our vestry and clergy identified four key areas on which we would like to focus this year. In the coming weeks, I will write a separate article about each.

1) Mission and Evangelism in our community: We believe that we must be out in the community, loving, supporting, and serving our neighbors. We must also be out with the Gospel, furthering the Kingdom of God by bringing people to the reconciling Blood of Christ.
2) Stewardship: We believe that this means not only financial stewardship — but it also does not exclude it. The mark of a Christian is one who pours out in service rather than gathering in for autonomy. We will explore what is God calling us to do with our time, talents, love, and resources.
3) Continued emphasis on Christian Formation: We have accomplished much for our children with Sunday School, Children’s Church, and Catechesis. We must increase the numbers of children who are formed by this ministry and work toward improving our ministry to youth and adults with the same fervor.
4) Communication: We believe that it is important to be clear with our community about who we are and what we value. We also want to let our neighbors know how they can engage with us and we with them.

I really am excited for what the future at St. Thomas’ holds. This is a pivotal time in our history. Our dedication to Jesus Christ and His Gospel will ensure that this will be our finest hour.