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Bishop's School – Fall 2014

Church Outside the Box – Recap

By Richard Evans
July 20, 2014
As posted on Bakery

About 30 of us gathered at St. Peter's in Hazleton yesterday to discuss the challenges we face in our parishes under the gentle guidance of Peter Pearson.  In some ways it felt like a renewal assembly, but with a broader scope and more heft. 

Agent 007 of the Millennial Generation: Bond, Adam Bond, gave us powerful testimony about what many in his generation have experienced as they came into adulthood post-2000 and how and why the Church might fit into their lives.  His audience sat rapt while he explained the root of the cynicism that pervades his age group.  I would not even attempt to summarize the journey he took us on.  It was one of the most powerful, erudite and emotional performances I've experienced in quite some time.  I would hope he will find larger venues for his message.  The Convention perhaps?  We all need to hear and embrace his message.

I won't rehash the event, but I would like to highlight a few of the special moments I experienced.  Our noonday meal was made part of the third rite Communion, and each of us passed the fresh-baked bread to our neighbor on the left.  Then after the pot luck meal was finished, we did the same with the chalice of wine.  For me as a layman, this was a novel and powerful way to receive -- and give -- Communion.  I would like to see this practice used more with appropriate sized groups such as this.  Unleash the fire of the Holy Spirit!

We make many friendships in our meetings around the diocese, but meeting a true kindred spirit is something to cherish.  It did not take very long in the presence of Addison Bross to feel his light shining into my soul.  If nothing else happened at St. Peter's but the precious moments talking with Addison, I would consider the day a smashing success.

My only regret was that the meeting lasted only 4 hours.  For me, the agenda was a bit ambitious, but I'm sure the conversation and the quest have only begun, so we shall travel on this journey together to wherever it leads.  May we find more Pilgrims along the way!

A final thought:  How refreshing to be part of a grassroots initiative.  I think of the diocese as a chain with 59 precious jewels attached to it. Our laity and clergy have unbounded expertise and energy and I fervently believe that a diocese prospers best when talent and initiative throughout the diocese are nurtured and allowed to thrive.  I think of a great symphony orchestra.  It needs a conductor, but the glorious music can't happen without everyone's passion, commitment and expertise.  In the new Diocese of Bethlehem, I hope we can capture this attitude.  Let us empower every member of every parish to feel the freedom to think big so that we may recapture the energy and direction so that we may best glorify our Savior and love one another!

Rich Evans

[Rich Evans is a former Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant. He is a member of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Mountain Top where he serves on the vestry and finance committee. He is also a member of the Diocesan Council and the Incorporated Trustees. His ministry is helping parishes with their audits.]


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