As you have heard and read over the past weeks, the Annual Meeting of Church of the Holy Apostles is scheduled for this Sunday, January 29. It is a general expectation that all parishes in the Episcopal Church hold a meeting open to members of the congregation at least once per year, and the bylaws of most churches (including ours) codify this expectation and make it a requirement.
In worshipping communities, where mystery is assumed and faith provides the foundation for action, annual parish meetings are very businesslike affairs. Vestry members are elected. Budgets are presented. Projects are discussed. Reports are offered, and the Rector tries to sum everything up in a “state of our church” address (I will deliver mine in place of the sermon during the 11 am service). All of this is very important—essential, actually. Not everyone serves on every committee, and we all benefit from being able to hear the same information at the same time, and from the opportunity to ask questions in an open forum.
Even so, the power of coming together in this way expands beyond the dissemination of information. Gathering to hear and discuss the practical aspects of our common life assumes some level of personal investment. It indicates that we care about a community (in this case, Holy Apostles) in a way that is active rather than passive, covenantal rather than transactional.
Seen in this way, annual parish meetings are an extension of the liturgy (“work of the people”). This extension will happen literally on Sunday: we will finish our worship, take a short time to set up some round tables and grab some coffee, drinks and pizza, and then begin Annual Meeting 2023.
All are welcome. If you are unable to come to church, stay on the livestream of the service and you can view the meeting online. Either way, I look forward to your participation in this event, so important in the faith we share with one another.