By Bishop David Rice
I want to recount one of my favorite Post-Eucharistic Conversations during a Sunday Visitation. Now keep in mind, next month, June 8th to be precise, marks the 10th year of my Consecration as Bishop, and you figure out the math, that includes a considerable number of visitations over the last decade.
Suffice it to say, there have been many memorable “visitation conversations” over the last 10 years, this particular one fits nicely in that company.
Last Sunday, following the Eucharist at St. Francis, Turlock, we gathered for lunch, and an exquisite lunch it was (I think I had my own plate of deviled eggs [so much goodness]). Amid all this culinary happiness, we started a conversation about what it means to be a church in this place. Rev. Kathie and I reflected a wee bit regarding what occurred at our recent Clergy Conference, particularly our concentration on Latino Ministries. And somehow the conversation was directed to how St. Francis reflects (or doesn’t) the neighborhood in which it is located.
I don’t remember who navigated the conversation in that direction, perhaps it was Rev. Kathie, maybe I said something, but my memory is that a layperson posed the question. Whoever it was, invited and encouraged us to consider how well we know our neighborhood, specifically, how well do we know the people who reside outside the doors of St. Francis, and connected, to what extent do we know the stories of the people who live there?
And the next thing I knew, this group of Turlock Episcopalians started talking about mobilizing a team and going across the street and “becoming the answers to their own questions.” They decided they would develop teams of two and introduce themselves to the people of their neighborhood and put themselves in the position to hear the stories of the people who live around St. Francis Episcopal Church, Turlock.
WOW! That’s what Jesus would say.
Holy Spirit stuff? I reckon! Jesus Movement? Most definitely! Baptismal Vows? Yes!
Now that was a conversation! And yes, the deviled eggs most certainly helped.