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Springtime Growing

This morning, I stepped out on my back porch and snapped a photo of the amazing amount of new growth on our holly hedge. Last year the hedge had been pruned back dramatically, leaving bare patches. Spring is pushing new growth all around us this season. The bulbs and flowers are bursting forth in waves of glorious blooms. There are fresh green leaves and even newer growth of branches as the plants take advantage of the rain and warmth. However, all this beauty is accompanied by the dreaded pollen, a persistent and pesky reality that is at the forefront of many conversations these past few weeks. It always makes me smile to think about how much I look forward to the change of season and the sweet flowers of spring, only to backtrack my enjoyment because of the pollen.

Sunday, as Kirk and I left St. Alban’s on our walk home we chatted about how nice the coffee hour after service is in the narthex. “The foyer acts like a funnel,” I explained. “We get to see everyone and greet each of them.”  We then wondered about the changes to Sundays that the new parish hall might make. Will everyone head into a coffee hour held there? How will that change the social dynamics of the parish?

St. Alban’s is growing. There are visual marks as the construction team continues to delight us with the parish hall taking shape more and more each week. The construction is moving forward fast! There are marks in the growing Sunday attendance numbers with newcomers visiting the parish and seeking a community that welcomes them. As a newcomer myself, I have been happy and encouraged by the energy and potential I find at St. Alban’s. A thriving faith community is growing!

But change, even good change can challenge us. In this Easter Season, we have encountered the disbelief, confusion, and even fear caused by Jesus’s resurrection as he appears to his closest friends and disciples. The most incredible and joyful news of victory over sin and death and new risen life was a change in reality that challenged Jesus’ community. It is easy to look back from our vantage point and tell the disciples as Angels might, “Do not be afraid!”

I want to challenge each of us to be aware of how we and our friends in the parish are encountering all of the change in our parish. Make a plan for engaging in the “new” as we are in this time of anticipation of a parish hall and all of its possibilities: programs, social events, and Sunday coffee hour. You have stayed with St. Alban’s because you have enjoyed the way things are. How do you plan to enjoy what is to be? What might be a challenge for you as changes come: Parking? Learning new names? Too much going on?

St. Alban’s is moving into a proverbial spring. We are all looking forward to witnessing what is going to bloom. That said, look for signs of the proverbial allergies that accompany proverbial pollen, the hitches that are normal as the seasons change. We can face change with good, honest conversations. We can commit to being a community that listens to angels, “Do not be afraid!”  We can commit to living as Jesus commanded us, to “Love one another” as we grow and bloom.

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