This past Sunday I spent the morning with the community of St. James’ Porter Square in Cambridge, MA. This community has played a formative role in my life as an Episcopalian. I was confirmed as a member of this community and their rector, Holly Antolini, remains a dear confidante and adviser in my life.
This Sunday I had the joy of being their guest preacher and shared a short reflection on the importance of what it means to maintain and respond to spiritual perspective in our lives. It’s tempting to focus our lives on how others should respond to God’s presence without thinking about how we need to change our personal or institutional to address separation from God. This reflection focused on the importance of seeking out how we were called to change in order to offer a holy witness to the world: The reflection specifically refers to the Church’s need to address the institutional challenges around racism before trying to heal racial relations in the world – something I write about here.
This sermon seemed fitting given all the conversations that have been taking place at St. James’ recently about what it means to be church in their context with their people. The community is in the process of actively discerning how their various ministries and leadership structure do or don’t build authentic and transformational community. I’ve been involved in two of these conversations: one about vestry structure for mutual leadership and another about fostering lasting healing in their anti-oppression work.
St. James’ is showing me what it means to do the difficult work of inventorying our current state with a commitment to change. At times being Church means starting fresh but at other times being Church is about letting the old die so new life can be born from within. I believe St. James’ is fostering a community in which this renewal can happen and I’m grateful to be connected to such work.
In the Blessing,