When the new St. Margaret’s sanctuary was available for use in June 1989 The Rev. Brad Hall, Fourth Rector of St. Margaret’s, preached a sermon, “Solomon’s Prayer: Our First Day in the New Church Building” (June 4, 1989), that we continue to live up to and into as a community.
Though speaking about the building itself and the entire St. Margaret’s community, Brad’s words give us a vision when spoken into our little community–The Sunday Morning Forum–within the larger community. We need to make our room and our presence match what the congregation does in the sanctuary in Sunday worship. Here is an excerpt of Brad’s sermon; hear that the Spirit is saying the same thing to us 22 years later:
God’s House is a House of Hospitality
This is truly a beautiful building, and people will come and visit it. Whether they are drawn here by its architectural majesty, its open, light-filled sanctuary, or to worship and pray, we must always be prepared to welcome and accept all sojourners and visitors who wish to enter our doors.
This is an Episcopal Church, a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion of over seventy million peoples. We are also a community church, a part of this Coachella Valley, and our church is a gift to all who live in their beautiful desert. And so the doors of our building and our hearts must be open to welcome, in God’s Love, all who come to us seeking peace, seeking an answer to their prayers, seeking God, Himself.
My final prayer for us is that your love and Christ’s Love will so shine through these doors and windows that all sojourners who come here seeking will find that their prayers will be answered and that God’s Peace and Joy will fill their hearts.
Note: the entire sermon will soon be posted in the Supplemental Resource category 6/7/11
The Rev. Lane Hensley, current Rector of St. Margaret’s, continues this fine tradition among us. In November 2010 Lane set out some principles for our ministry. Here is an excerpt to help guide our work in the Sunday Morning Forum, a community within a community:
Our collective task is to take our place as members of the Body of Christ, and to come collectively “to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” Here, then, are some principles that I think need to guide that process.
We are a public Church, and a ministry leader in outreach, formation, music, and worship. Our efforts should be directed to the community we serve in mission, and their highest hopes, deepest fears, and most important deliberations should find home at St. Margaret’s.
We expect God’s blessing on our work, and to grow and be transformed into the Body of Christ.
Lane’s principles can be viewed or downloaded here: From the Rector’s Desk, November 2010
Let us be open and inviting to others in the spirit of Christ’s love as we build community. We have a fine vision and strong principles and God’s amazing grace guiding us along the Way.
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