Homecoming Sunday at All Saints Church is a VERY big deal. Everyone's back, the choirs are cranking, the kids are in back-to-school mode (80+ in children's chapel @ the 9:00 this morning!), the flowers are fabulous ... and our amazing Parish Council outdid themselves with the party celebrating the beginning of another new program year of mission and ministry.
On the lawn was a Dixieland Band for the BBQ chicken lunch where parishioners caught up on what-happened-over-the-summer news, stopped by the Action Table to make contributions to ERD for disaster relief, dropped off donations for the new Pasadena Women's Shelter with the Women's Council and picked up information about the 5 p.m. Peace Vigil co-sponsored by All Saints and Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
Oh ... and Ed Bacon, preached a "BEST EVER" Homecoming sermon (video here...) The Joy of Finding Our Way.
What happened today at All Saints Church was joyful and gospel-full and love- focused and Christ-centered and justice-filled and during every one of the four services I looked around thinking how much I wished that everybody who thinks this church is withering or declining could be there to feel the life and energy and joy. I wished that every single person who emails me or comments here on the "gay lifestyle" could have been there to congratulate Bill & Kelly as they celebrated another anniversary (they met at All Saints on a Homecoming Sunday!) with their family ...... and I wish that everybody who insists we've "abandoned the faith" could have heard 800 voices singing "Lord, you give the great commission: "Heal the sick and preach the word" just before we shared together the renewal of our baptismal vows:
Minister: Let us together affirm our faith in God and renew the promises make at our baptism. What is your faith?
People: I believe and trust in God the Source of all being, creator and sustainer of all things; and in God the Eternal Word, my Savior Jesus Christ; and in God the Holy Spirit, the giver of life and truth. This is my faith.
The faith received through the ages -- alive and well today. This IS the day that the Lord has made -- Let us rejoice and be glad in it!