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Tucked away in Orchard Avenue in a street of imposing mansions means that St Martin’s remains something of a best-kept secret. We have little foot traffic visibility, and so spreading the good news about the value added to our lives through participation in the St Martin community’s life and outreach is crucial to our flourishing.
On Sunday I spoke in Thy Kingdom Come about living our faith more publicly. This is a tough sell for Episcopalians, who like to keep their love of God also as something of a best-kept secret. After all, rejection of the fear motivated hard-sell that typifies so much of populist American Christianity is among the chief reasons many of us gravitated to the Episcopal Church in the first place.
There’s a soundbite often incorrectly attributed to Francis of Assisi, yet nevertheless instructive for our purposes: preach the gospel and if necessary use words. It’s quality of love and integrity of service that communicates the life of faith most effectively. The writer of I Peter could well have had Episcopalians in mind when he penned in 3:15: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is within you. At St Martin’s, our focus is to equip one another with solid mooring as we navigate life’s choppy seas; a mooring where our hearts are anchored to the deep inner conviction that we are loved by God. Conviction makes us convincing. It’s as simple as that.
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Complementing faith conviction, we also need good organizational structure. To this end, Brigit Timpson, a fellow Kiwi, has become the volunteer manager of the Thrifty Goose (TG). Our thrift shop and its team of volunteers perform an important ministry at St Martin’s and under Brigit’s leadership since earlier in the year, the TG remains not only a window opening into our community for savvy and discerning shoppers but is the best example of a right livelihood enterprise that integrates social capital, and community outreach, with revenue generation – the perfect nexus. In appreciation for Brigit’s wealth of entrepreneurial experience, I have also appointed her to a part-time paid position as Events Coordinator. The recently redecorated Great Hall and upgrade to a commercially licensed kitchen will help promote St Martin’s as a more attractive function venue alongside Brigit’s new role of coordinating our events visibility across a number of social media and advertising platforms.
One week into the new program year we’ve already had a very successful meeting of the Men’s Community this last Tuesday – more about men next week. Keeping with the nautical metaphors of moorings, anchors and choppy seas, I can say we are well and truly uunderway Come aboard. See you in Church on Sunday!