Community of Hope
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrew 13:16)
As Christians we are called to service in the world though sharing what we have. We often think about this in monetary terms, but we are also called upon to share our time. Throughout this Summer Cynthia Beyers, Jean Hawkins, Patti LeBlanc, Jackie Richard, and Freda Schenck have been studying as the founding members of CCA’s New Community of Hope. The Community of Hope movement is usually thought of as a model for pastoral care by the laity. But it actually so much more than that. Community of Hope forms its members as devout givers of holy presence to those who suffer in body, mind, and spirit.
Holy presence serves others through compassionate listening. This is often as much about simply sitting in silent solidarity with fellow parishioners in crisis as it is about hearing and honoring their story. Community of Hope members give of themselves in a deeply personal way, a sacrifice pleasing to our God who reminds us that service to one another, especially those who are sick, is serving Jesus himself. Compassionate presence is both gift and discipline. Each of these founding members of our Community of Hope Circle are committed to developing and following a personal rule of life modeled in St. Benedict’s Rule. Each is committed to praying for us all and practicing Holy Presence for the infirm of our parish and the wider community.
This week I have had the honor of sitting alongside a couple of these generous souls as they have joined me in visiting our sick. They have ministered alongside me to several of our parishioners who are desperately in need of the Holy Presence these new practitioners are providing them. I am so very excited by the skill and tenderness they bring to this new ministry in our Parish.
In just a few weeks their training will be complete and they will join in the ministry of our parish in a way both new and significant. They are giving. Please join me in thanksgiving to them and to God for their willingness to be among us as ones who serve, giving their time and talents to the needs of our sisters and brothers. Please discern if this might also be a way you are called to give. Talk with any of them or with me if you want more information.
Peace and All Good!
The Rev. Timothy Watt, Associate Rector
Christ Church of the Ascension
Paradise Valley, Arizona