Sunday, May 16, 2010

Green Buds On The Branch

We baptized three people at St. Christopher's, Boulder City today and received another into the Episcopal Church. Last week, we confirmed three teenagers at Christ Church, Pioche. That may not seem like a big deal to larger congregations. But to me it is something special.

Christ Church, Pioche is in a small community that has been bypassed by the economy since its mining hey day now long past. A couple of years ago, their matriarch and priest -- then in her 90's -- suffered a fall and had to move away to assisted living. The congregation went through a difficult time of grief and adjustment.

Unlike Pioche, Boulder City is thriving but St. Christopher's was not. They went from being a 3 priest church to a no priest church in a short time, as one moved, one became ill, and the third retired. Their understanding of themselves and how they could go about being church was no longer working, but they had not yet found a way forward. That was just last Fall.

But Christ Church, Pioche just had an engaging upbeat home made curriculum confirmation class modeled on Jeopardy -- a class that ushered 3 teens into the Church. The congregation, inspired by the teens who now know so much interesting stuff, has decided to take the course themselves and reaffirm their Baptismal Vows next year. Meanwhile to the South, St. Christopher's, Boulder City, continues its strong tradition of community ministries, and is now growing again. I saw lots of new faces today in a church considerably more full than I've ever seen it. They are continuing a process of discernment about their future with an outside consultant. They have called Fr. Jim Lyons to serve as their priest, at least for now, and they celebrated his ministry with grateful statements interrupted by several outbursts of spontaneous applause at our forum.

Since I have been in Nevada, there have not been intitation rites (baptisms, confirmations, receptions) at either Christ Church, Pioche or St. Christopher's, Boulder City. But now on back to back weekends, we have celebrated new life in Christ in these congregations. There are green buds on the branch. It must be Spring.

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