“Singing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land” By The Rev. Ken Howard

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Dear Friends,


I know what you’re thinking… “Why should I stay for the Annual Meeting, when going out for coffee – or just going home and putting my feet up would be so much nicer?”

Well, I could make a big deal about all the things that we’re doing to make it easier for your you to stay: snacks during the meeting, supervised activities for the kids, getting you out in (significantly) under an hour, and a potluck lunch after.  And all of those would be true, but they wouldn’t be the real reason I think you should be there…

The real reason is that St. Nicholas Church needs you to be there.  Almost 19 years ago, 12 households planted a church in Darnestown. We dedicated ourselves to being a different kind of church – “A Place to Belong! A Place to Become!” is how we described it: a church that celebrated diversity in all its aspects, a church that recognized that all of God’s children brought some truth to the table, a church that transformed conflict by sharing our own truth with humility, while listening attentively for the truth we know must reside in the other.

It was a lot easier to do that when we were as small as we were back then. Communication was so much easier. Everybody pretty much spoke what was on their mind (with love, of course) and we naturally listened to each other because were so few of us that we all rapidly became good friends.

But now we are at a different point in our congregational journey. God has brought us the growth we earnestly desired. Growth, will all its joys and fulfillment, and with its occasional frustrations and annoyances.  Both the pond in which we live and the number of fishes living in it has grown significantly bigger.  Organizationally speaking we need to learn to communicate all over again.  Some of the changes are obvious:  we need to be more intentional, we need to be more structured, we need to carve out time to actually do it. But some of the things may not be quite so obvious (or may even be too obvious to see):  we need to focus more on listening than speaking, we need to think less about what we need to express and more about what others want to hear. And when we do speak, we need to do so with the listeners needs in mind.

Put simply, what we are doing with our Town Hall Quarterly meetings and our Annual Congregational Meeting is learning how to communicate in a manner appropriate to our size:  to be more participatory in our planning, to think more strategically, to coordinate more intentionally and share information more intentionally amongst our Ministry Teams, to provide opportunities for discussion and better understanding among our parishioners.  We’re not perfect at it yet, but we are working on making it better, which is yet another reason why we need you there…to help us figure out how to improve it.


That’s why we’re doing it. That’s why we need you there.


See you Sunday,



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