Thursday, March 31, 2005

The end of the Octave

What a great week.

The meeting at General went well, and I made great time getting into and out of the city. Even made it home in time for dinner with Laura.

Yesterday was a welcomed "slow day" that ended somewhat early. I took some time off to enjoy a visit from some friends. They drove down from New Jersey for a late lunch and a "doggie play date" between their basset mix and our Sophie. The visiting dog loved the house, especially the yard. He and Sophie romped for a couple of hours. One of the visiting friends is also a church organist, so I took the opportunity to show off Trinity's new organ with a visit to the Pasi organ website. We were able to find the organ construction site, with pictures of the artistic rendering and the current construction status. There were also some music files I was able to stream, so we also were able to hear (turned UP) what the organ will hopefully sound like.

I walked with the organ quite a lot yesterday. There was also a meeting of the artistic appointments committee. We had several lively discussions, ranging from the installation of memorial plaques (being referred to vestry for a policy clarification) to the organ, to the design and construction of vestments for the church. I have to admit that there seems to be quite a bit of anxiety about the organ. Right now, folk feel like we are getting down to the wire on some pretty important issues around the design impact of the organ itself. There are some small issues that need big answers. It is time for me, and possibly the wardens, to get involved with Martin Pasi to hopefully gain clarity. We spent a lot of time in the meeting going over questions that have been asked before. Time for answers.

As I was meditating on that meeting, I had a thought about stewardship. For years, it seems, we talk a lot about time, treasure and talent. In words to some effect, this means that when it comes to stewardship and our commitment to give over to God that which is God's in our lives, we do our best to strike a healthy balance in giving of our time, our money and our abilities to the betterment of the state of the church and its ministries. Nice idea, but it seems pretty dusty to me. Mostly because of the fact that it becomes too easy for me to isolate and compartmentalize my stewardship the point that 1) I only think about MY contributions and not necessairly others' efforts; and 2) that I isolate those three ideas from each other.

What happens when we work to create some synergy between those three points of focus, and between the people who live and work together in the parish? Are there ways to draw people together into working groups so that what rises as a whole is greater than the sum of the parts? For instance: instead of time, treasure and talent, can we think of these items as Resources, Talent and Resolve? There are those who for a particular project might have the resources to make something happen: a sum of money, a contact, etc. There are others who might have a talent for same: work skills, certification or licensing, artisan training. Finally, there is the resolve of the community to see something happen, which brings us back to resources. This is, truly, "stone soup" stewardship. Needs are discerned and expressed. Hidden resources and talents are exhibited. Leadership then calls upon those aforementioned aspects to be drawn together and then we act on behalf of the whole. From that point on, ministry happens.

As the artistic appointments committee was talking about the vestment project I had proposed, I heard both interest and ambivalence at the table. Most all agreed that the vestment project is a good idea, but not all had resources, or talent, or resolve to see this idea come to pass. So, near the end, the group quite naturally began to take its own pulse. What came of it, we will know soon, but I was impressed with a creative group of people knowing their own strengths and sense of resolve coming together to talk about a particular project in a creative way.

Today, we talk about Tidings and I have a BUNCH of phone calls to make, not least of which to the bishop and worship and life to begin planning the installation and celebration of new ministry.

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