Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In my mid-20’s my father and I went through the pretty typical process of moving to our next stage of
relationship building that most young adults go through with their parents. One of the reflective questions I
asked him was why he didn’t say more “positive” things to us, his children (I have three brothers and a
sister). In a matter of fact way that was very common of men of his time he just simply said, “Well, I expect
you to do good things and do them well so I don’t see the need to mention it when you do that, but only
when you don’t.”
While I don’t think my story is particularly unique I am always reminded that we can never say enough
positive things to one another. Scripture talks about it through the use of the phrase of “building up one
another”. Being sure to let our fellow church members know that just as Christ values them therefore I (we)
value them is a critical part of a church being healthy.
As I now move into my third month with you I will begin to push, prod and poke in ways that some people
may find uncomfortable. I will speak openly and assertively about what I think might be better ways for
you to accomplish your desired goals, or I might push the church and its leadership on a timeline that seems
overwhelmingly fast. And in the things I do and say I am always sensitive to the fact that I need to also do a
lot of affirming even as I bring long lists to a meeting or have conversations with people that last a long
time, or send out an email on a particular subject.
To that end I want to list 4 things that I have already come to love about St. Peter’s. First, you sing out
during worship, laugh at my jokes and are earnestly seeking to follow my lead in listing at least the same
number of joys as we do concerns during prayer time. Thanks you for your faithful attendance during
months of hard winter weather and for your dedicated offerings.
Second, your council and committees are a blessing. I am really pushing them and not always on easy
subjects. But they stay with it and when the minute hand starts to slip past the hour and one half mark, they
may fidget, but they keep on working. You are blessed to have their leadership.
Third, your most successful outreach programs going on currently are your Preschool and the Catholic
Charities monthly mission dinner. Each of these programs point to the fact that when people are serving in
capacities where they are gifted and are focused on the important people according to Jesus (children and
the poor) that we are recipients of the joy that comes from ministering to “such as these”.
Fourth, you really take care of one another. In most churches I might visit someone in the hospital and their
biggest complaint is that no one else from the church visits them. Between the Compassionate Care team
and Circle Six, I am often in a long line of people who have already reached out to visit someone. In this
rarely experienced twist I have had to make sure that I time my visit so that I am not part of a back-to-back
visitors on a given day so that people in the hospital can get some rest!
Well done good and faithful servants.