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Message from Deacon Valerie

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on June 1, 2022 at 9:55 AM


After personal discernment and 3 ½ years of diaconate formation, I am humbled that God has mercifully given me the rites to the diaconate with an initial assignment at my beloved home church, St. Alban's. When I entered the Narthex for the very 1st time, I was joyously greeted immediately by Reverend David Buck. By the end of the service, I felt “this could be my new home church.” And since April 2016, I have attended, worshiped, studied, fellowshipped and most recently on May 21, 2022 received and celebrated my ordination here, with both Bishop Sam and Anne and many members of my family (maternal, paternal, St. Alban's, St. Mark's, and St. Titus') present.

 

To put it simply, St. Alban's lived up to the sign on the corner of St. Alban’s Lane and Concord Road. “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.” Again, this was true for me. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for all of our visitors. I’ve heard this as a part of my previous Newcomers ministries and even now, as I return from my diaconate formation. It saddens me because it is an indication that WE are prone to forget and not regularly lean into at least one of the eight of our Baptismal covenants, which is widely regarded as the normative statements of what it means to follow Christ.

 

I’d like to zero in on one of the Baptismal covenants’ five questions regarding how we, as Christians, are called to live out our faith, specifically, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” I recognize that the current environment and the state of this world and most relevant here in the United States, we are falling far short of being “United States” and even less in loving our neighbor as ourselves. Also in the past, our church history has been exclusive rather than inclusive, despite Jesus' desire to the contrary. I am, however, encouraged that we are improving and the journey continues.

 

But because we all are called to be set apart, we must rise from the muck and mire and cling to the love that Christ has so beautifully exemplified for us. I would like to challenge each of you on every Sunday, before and/ or after the worship service, that you meet and greet at least two people that you have seen and never spoken with or it’s the 1st time you have ever seen them. It could be simply asking their names. See if they will share a fun fact about themselves. How long they have been attending St. Alban's? Do they have any questions or concerns they need assistance with? Share your responses to these questions with them, as well as direct them to our Shepard and Co-Shepherds, Carmen and Kevin or whomever is the appropriate contact. Then the final part of the challenge is to follow-up and greet them 2 more Sundays. It’s summer so don’t give-up, if it’s not 2 Sundays in a row.

 

I know for some; I am asking you to step outside your comfort zone. But our pledge should spur us on to fulfill the question “Will you seek Christ in all persons.” Would you pass up an opportunity to speak with Jesus? I know I wouldn’t! Again, we’re not all wired the same. Another way to look at it is, how would you like to be treated by a “Beloved Community?” All I’m asking is that you don’t just be a Beloved Community but ACT like a Beloved community and share the love of Christ in the moment with all the worshipers present, as we prepare to go out into the world to share the love of Christ.

 

Next … being a member of the “Beloved Community” in the world…to be continued!

 

Abundant Peace and Blessings!

 

Your Beloved Sister in Christ,

 

Valerie


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