About six years ago, a group of refugees from East Africa arrived at Heavenly Rest and announced that they would like to join our church. This was entirely unexpected and seemed to be a function of convenience as much as anything else: these folks were Anglicans, and so were we. The natural response to the presence of these refugees was, “What are we supposed to do about this?” In many ways, it is this question that shaped the initial response to the refugee members of this community: members of Heavenly Rest donated furniture, provided groceries, and helped the newcomers find employment. Asking ourselves “what are we supposed to do?” in other words, allowed us to think of the relationship between morning and afternoon congregations in terms of a series of tasks to accomplish. Once these immediate needs were met, however, it became clear that we needed to ask ourselves a new, and arguably more challenging question, namely, “Why has God brought these two groups of together?”
We are beginning to discern the answer to this question through a process of mutual discernment. We are currently in the process of identifying two teams: one from the afternoon congregation, and one from the morning congregation. Each of these teams will do some reflection and self-examination of their own culture, and then engage in a deep exploration of the other worshiping group’s service. After doing this work, the two teams will come together and discern ways our community can know one another more fully. This promises to be an exciting and fruitful journey, one that will stretch our understanding of what it means to be an Anglican and what it means to encounter people with different experiences of the world. Please keep this process in your prayers. If you have any questions, please contact David Romanik.