A big part of the joy of my ministry is experiencing the uniqueness of each congregation of the diocese. St. Matthew’s, Lisbon, leans toward the charismatic and an important part of the worship each week is the platform of praise – an extended period of singing the praises of God at the beginning of each service. Since I enjoy singing, learning new music was a highpoint for me.
Gretchen and I drove up from Portland in time to be briefed on the service and to enjoy the hospitality of rector Beau and Debra Wagner and Deacon Gail White. The service was a vibrant mixture of the Book of Common Prayer and praise music. I offered a children’s talk on the work of bishops. Gretchen and I shared in special offerings of food and money for ministries of the parish.
For some time I’ve been thinking about a new approach to preaching during my visits, and I had some success with my effort at a dialogue sermon. I think the bishop can be helpful in our shared effort to engage in God’s ministry, and during my sermon I invited people to talk about how they had blessed their neighbors in Christ’s name. I had some confidence that the people of St. Matthew’s would be responsive to my question, and they did not disappoint! There may well be a dialogue sermon in your future as well.
Lisbon is the home of the annual Moxie Festival, and St. Matthew’s gifted me with an orange Moxie hat and a twelve pack of Moxie! The parish has been increasingly involved in the community festival. Debra Wagner is a leader in festival planning, and St. Matthew’s provides food for participants.
Following a reception I met with the Vestry for a lively discussion of ministry, including questions about “Deacon’s Masses” and my recent pastoral letter on collaboration. It was stretching conversation.
The day ended at the rectory and time with the rector and family. A full day indeed.