Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Part of God’s Story

by David Romanik


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Upon returning from a conference a few weeks ago, I found an unusually large stack of mail in by mailbox. As I sorted through the correspondence, I found materials addressed to the Reverend David Puckett, the Reverend Scott Mayer, the Reverend Luke Back, the Reverend Doug Travis, the Reverend Bob Hennagin, and the Reverend David Romanik. On one level, this experience was an amusing illustration of the fact that institutions often fail to keep their records up to date. On a deeper level, however, receiving mail addressed to me and five of my predecessors was a humbling reminder that, no matter how long I serve as the rector of Heavenly Rest, my position here is temporary. Despite my natural inclination to refer to Heavenly Rest as “my church,” this parish does not belong to me. Indeed, Heavenly Rest does not belong to any of us, even those among us who have been members for their entire lives. Ultimately, Heavenly Rest is God’s church and, by virtue of that identity, has been called to proclaim and embody God’s reconciling love to the people of the Abilene community and beyond.


This can be an unsettling realization. We like to imagine that we are at the center of a narrative: that we are the protagonists in our own life story and that each important person or place we encounter exists expressly for our benefit. Many people in this parish talk about “arriving” at Heavenly Rest after a long and arduous spiritual journey. Acknowledging that the church is not “ours” can disrupt this sense of arrival: “if this isn’t my church, what am I doing here?” At the same time, recognizing that Heavenly Rest is ultimately God’s church can be liberating. It frees us from the burden of maintaining appearances and allows us to claim an identity that comes from God. It allows us to see the new people who come into our midst not as interlopers or strangers, but as persons called by God to share in the ministry of reconciliation. Perhaps most importantly, recognizing that our church belongs to God allows us to see that we are part of a story that is larger than any one of us. The Church is the visible and sacramental expression of the resurrection: the means by which our mortal lives have been folded into eternity.


In this sense, the discipline of stewardship is a vitally important spiritual practice. Ultimately, stewardship is about acknowledging our place in God’s story of redemption: recognizing that we are part of something much larger than ourselves. Too often, we caricature stewardship as “that month of the year when we talk about budgets at church.” In reality, stewardship is the lens through which we ought to perceive every aspect of our lives. It is the confident and persistent acknowledgement that everything we have and everything we are belongs to God. It is the means by which we use the gifts God has given us to share God’s reconciling love with the people around us. Stewardship is a way of inhabiting the world, one informed by what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.


For more articles like this, check out our monthly newsletters. 


STJES Chapel w/Clergy Wednesday, Feb 26 - All Day
Ash Wednesday Service Wednesday, Feb 26 @ 7:00 PM
Morning Prayer Service Thursday, Feb 27 @ 8:30 AM
Hands On Outreach Thursday, Feb 27 @ 9:30 AM
Thursday Bible Study Thursday, Feb 27 @ 9:30 AM

February 16, 2020
Sunday, February 16, 2020
The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest | ADDRESS: 602 Meander Street • Abilene, Texas 79602 PHONE: (325) 677-2091 |  Site by Church Website Design
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Welcome to Heavenly Rest



Welcome to Heavenly Rest! We are glad you are visiting our site and hope you will accept this invitation to become part of this faith community.  Together we seek to know the reconciling love of the God and share that love with everyone.  Beautiful worship, exquisite music, inclusive fellowship, generous outreach and excellent Christian education await you. We thank God that more and more people are making this church their spiritual home.  Feel the caring, sharing, creating and serving that God intended for your soul at Heavenly Rest.


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