Bishop Scott Hayashi invited parishes from the Diocese of Utah to send representatives to the Church Development Institute (CDI). It's been my privilege to attend the first five of the eight-weekend workshops. Father Peter, David Carlisle, and I began our interactive study a year ago, committing to attend four workshops a year for two years. But life does sometimes nudges us onto other paths, and the Carlisle Family has relocated to Arizona. Personally, I felt much more confident about developing projects to enrich our Church life at St. Mary's with David bolstering our activities with his keen intelligence, solid Christian values, and innate leadership abilities.
The first year of CDI focused on organizational behavior through the lens of the individual and how each of us brings various character traits, personalities, and levels of commitment that affect our congregational community. In May, the representatives from each parish worked with one another to develop a project for their own congregation.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Park City developed a water conservation plan for the landscaping around their church building and encouraged all parishioners to track their water savings from the previous year.
During the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, St. Jude's Episcopal held a Saturday service based on the prayer book used in Shakespeare's Day, enticing many visitors to attend a service.
For St. Mary's, Peter, David, and I decided on formalizing our welcomes and goodbyes.
We reflected on St. Mary's and the transient nature of our congregation, especially the student population. We recognize that core members who have been attending St. Mary's for many years have naturally developed a welcoming community. The open friendliness and genuine interest in the people who enter the church creates an atmosphere of acceptance for all visitors. We want to augment that welcome with more. Perhaps a loaf of fresh bread taken to the home of the visitor, or a welcome packet of some sort? Feel free to share any ideas you may have with Peter or members of the Bishop's Committee. Our goal is to welcome others into our Church family in a way that invites them to contribute their talents to St. Mary's as a blessing for both the community and the individual.
Too often, we must say goodbye to well-loved families and individuals who have moved away, or moved on to their heavenly home. The goodbyes are part of our lives at St. Mary's and we can commemorate those events with special prayers in the service. For those moving away, social hour can be a celebration of their time with us. As we formulated these plans, our first goodbye was to David and his family.
I guess that means I can continue to work on CDI projects without the help of David. (After all, he didn't plan his own goodbye party.) While David will still be a part of St. Mary's as a seminarian from our community, we will need another person to dedicate three weekends to CDI: November 13-14, February 5-6, and May 20-21. If you're interested, talk to Peter.
~ Patricia Castelli