Sunday, December 30, 2007

The definition of a blog...

This has been a long couple of months, and a great deal has happened around the parish since my last post in early November. On November 18th, the vestry and I had an Open Table forum for the parish membership. At that meeting, a number of concerns were voiced about the direction and leadership of the parish. There were particular questions for the vestry about finances, and some very serious accusations leveled toward me with regard to my failure to articulate a clear vision for the parish. Several people had a chance to speak, some to the issues that they felt were pressing, and some in support of me and the vestry. In preparation for that time, the wardens, vestry and I spent several days together in discernment and prayer. Honest, truthful and open feedback was offered in spiritual dialogue between myself and the leadership of the parish...and from that time a process of addressing those issues articulated by those concerned in the parish has been adopted. Soon, letter containing that plan, signed by the wardens and me, will be going out to the parish and we will enter, I pray, into a new era in the life of the parish.

One of the items on that letter was a request for a definition of these clergy blogs, and for there to be a sense of greater transparancy in the time, effort and reason for their, here goes:

When I accepted the call to be the rector of Trinity Church, one of the commitments I made was to maintain a sense of access to the mind of the rector....and to any clergy called to serve this the membership could have a more personal sense of their clergy as we lived out our lives, served this parish and cared for its people. Integral to this was a willingness on my part to open up what it is that is challenging me, inspiring me or dominating my imagination in a given moment. There may be an issue affecting the church, be it in local, diocesan or national venues. There may be a theological knot I am hoping to untangle as I a prepare a sermon or a class. There may be some philosophical or ecclesiological issue that I wish to comment on...or, I just might want to remark on how blessed a service was (like this past week's Christmas liturgies), or the experience of learning and growing as a person/priest in witness to the grace of the many children of God who inhabit this place. This is not a diary...that would be too personal. This is not a stump or a platform for diatribes, for posturing or petulance. It is a simply tool of reflection, and all are read, to ponder and even to comment on individual posts.

As to how long it takes me to work on these posts...that too was a concern for some. To be honest, I don't spend long on the writing, posting, pasting (of photos, etc.). Since I was a child, I have typed almost as fast as I think. I tend, after the heavy regimen of writing demanded of me in college, in seminary and in the priestly life (in which we get very little time for the production of what people in the private sector call "copy") hammer things out quite quickly.

This post, when it is done, will have taken me just over ten minutes to create, edit and post. (Adding a picture or two would, honestly, add to production time, but I try to keep those posts to my time, and to a minimum.)

So, as the months go by, and as we work to build up the life of abundance in life in Christ that is the witness of Trinity, Solebury, I invite you all out there in the blogosphere to join in the conversation...and to take some time to think, pray and reflect together with the clergy of Trinity Episcopal Church, Solebury as we follow the living God.


  1. Bravo! I'm selfishly glad to see you back "at" your blog, but was equally concerned that it had become an onerous task on a long list of parish duties. It’s a relief (and a cause for some envy, I must say) to know that blogging is not a particularly time-consuming event for you.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, hopes and prayers for and with Trinity, and anyone else who might poke their head in the door, so to speak.

  2. As a member of the community, I can assert without hesitation that Pastor Marshall has CLEARLY articulated a clear vision of Christian Life as it relates to those at Trinity and beyond.

    Let me be clear. I'm not a member of this parish. Yet. But if I had to choose among the many options I have before me today, Trinity would be my FIRST choice, because of the example Pastor Marshall has demonstrated to me as a mere bystander of this Parish's Life.

    I find it abhorrent that anyone would dare to criticize his leadership, especially given the great strides this parish has made in such a short amount of time.

    When I hear of criticisms, I turn to the Gospels. In this case I must hang my head at those who would choose to ignore Matthew's comments regarding judgment.

    From a regular and grateful Peacemeal attendee.