Remarks of the Rev. Dr. John P. McGinty, Rector to the
2019 Annual Meeting of The Church of Saint Anselm of Canterbury
Shoreham, NY | Diocese of Long Island
January 27, 2019
Well, how are you?
This is the time set aside once each year to make sure we ‘take our temperature’ together.
Are we together?
Are we healthy?
Are we faithful?
Are we realistic?
Are we hopeful?
Are we imaginative?
Are we becoming what God is calling us to be?
Are we alive?
Are we loving?
All these and more add up to a question to which we should never presume an answer. No one should.
The question is:
Are we being the Church?
The question is tricky. It’s like what Saint Augustine said about understanding God way back in the fifth century: ‘as soon as you think you understand God, the one thing you need to realize is that, whatever you have understood, it is not God.’
In this case, it’s like this. As soon as we settle in and say anything like ‘we got this, we’re being the church,’ the one thing we need to realize is that whatever you are at that moment, you’re not Church. It just flew by you, on Holy Spirit wings. It never stops moving.
Becoming Church is directly related to the individual invitation to become a disciple of Jesus. It’s a moving target. There is always something more. It’s never comfortable for long. But it’s worth it. It’s worth more than anything else you could direct your life toward.
So, how are we doing?
And wrapped in that question is the personal one: how are you doing?
I care, with you, about the building, about finance, about all the practicalities. But it’s my first responsibility as your parish priest to care for you as sons and daughters of God, as sisters and brothers of Christ, as Temples (in this time and place) of the Holy Spirit. In other words, as the Church.
So I will continue to work diligently with our church Administrator, Barbara Dougherty, with our Treasurer Laura Spillane, with the dedicated members of our Church Vestry, including those just elected, with our exemplary Wardens, Tom Killeen and Bob Pokorny, to assure that our assets of funds, buildings, and all things are maintained well, repaired as necessary, and replaced when they wear out.
But I will work with them also to assure that our volunteers in ministry - from among your ranks - are appreciated and encouraged and cared for. And I’ll seek to do the same for that list of co-workers I named moments ago.
And underneath all that, prior to all that, more fundamental than all that, I will work to exhaustion to challenge you and me to continue to deepen our shared discipleship, our relationship to God in Jesus, our being as truly as possible the Church, living here and now.
You’ll know it when you see it. In our third year together, you may already know what looks like. When something different is proposed, that maybe you haven’t seen before -
We only have so much time to live into Christ Jesus in this life. And we only have so much time to do this together in this unique moment and this unique place. So we need to deepen our discipleship with openness and with energy.
To make it clear, when my time as your priest is over, my hope is that you will sit back, take a deep breath, look at each other and say, “Well, that was demanding, but wow do I feel good. Way down deep, do I feel good.”
And so, we continue. Thank you!