2018 Parish Theme
"Persevering in the Faith"
Rev. Gonzalez announced this will be our Parish Them for 2018. Here's an excerpt from his speech to the congregation on Jan. 28 explaining why this is so appropriate this year.
St. Matthew’s evangelical identity is firmly established, and it will continue. In our conversations withBishop Johnston and Mary Thorpe, his Director of Transition Ministry, they repeatedly emphasized thatthey had no intention of imposing their own candidates on St. Matthew’s and no desire to see St.Matthew’s change. The Search Committee is committed to the next rector having a strong biblicallybasedministry.But a search process can take a long time. There can be obstacles and delays that seem baffling to thoseof us who aren’t on the Search Committee or the Vestry, or part of the actual process. Please understand:I’m not predicting a long, arduous search process for St. Matthew’s. The Search Committee has done agreat job so far, and I know they’ll continue to do their best. All I’m saying is summed up by Yogi Berra’simmortal words: “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”This is why we need to persevere in the faith. That is our theme for 2018. It’s taken from the first 2verses of the 12th chapter of Hebrews. It’s the conclusion to the author’s long list of heroes and heroinesof the faith in chapter 11. Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud ofwitnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run withperseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, whofor the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has takenhis seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Each of us has a race set before us. Each of us has acalling in Jesus Christ. Those callings from God make St. Matthew’s the special place it is.But St. Matthew’s has a calling as a congregation as well. Right now, as you are in the midst of this searchprocess, your calling is to wait for the Lord to have his way. Two snappy phrases come to mind: you needto “keep on keeping on,” and “keep the main thing the main thing.” But keeping on makes no sense if St.Matthew’s isn’t keeping on for Christ. Christ is “the main thing.” Our congregation’s calling is to perseverein teaching, preaching, praying and living the Word of God. This will persist beyond the calling of yournew rector. This is the calling of this great parish. So let’s be clear about it. Let’s continue to pray for theSearch Committee and the Vestry as they do their work. Let’s continue to work for the glory of God in themany ministries of St. Matthew’s. And let’s continue to give sacrificially for the spread of God’s kingdomthrough this unique and valuable church. Let’s persevere in the faith of Jesus Christ. Amen.