As plans are made for pledges to be placed on the altar during our Thanksgiving Services, I'm excitedly looking ahead to 2019, for I believe it will be a special one for me personally and for this parish family. Here's why.
1. On January 21st we'll be gathering for our annual Parish Celebration . . . and WOW, there's so much to celebrate about 2018! Perhaps we'll launch a new website that evening.
2. In February and March, I will be teaching a series on Joshua. I have missed the joy of unpacking God's Word; but anticipating my schedule will not be quite as crazy, I look forward to the personal comradery sure to develop on Tuesdays at midday and Wednesday evenings.
3. April will find me wearing my black cassock - this Lenten habit deepens my appreciation for all Jesus did for me on the Cross and heightens my joy when I greet the thousands who join us for Easter annually.
4. As schools recess in late May for the summer, I anticipate welcoming a third priest to our clergy team. The search for this uniquely qualified person is presently in progress - your prayers are requested.
5. After a week with our family on Edisto Island, Becky and I will be leading a June pilgrimage to Israel - a holy time in the Holy Land! This month will also find me deeply immersed in utilizing new vehicles for meaningfully engaging those who may or may not be in our geographic area.
6. Expecting the Chapel at Cross Schools to be dried in by May (a ground-breaking ceremony will be held next month), many of my July mornings will begin with prayer in the shadow of its bell tower . . . prayers that will frequently focus on a campus in Jasper County.
7. By God's grace, August will see the arrival of two staff additions: a Chaplain who will focus on reaching the many unchurched families with children attending Cross Schools and a gifted leader with a passion for discipleship and small groups to inspire and engage folks young and old. Both searches will be underway shortly.
8. I am long overdue for trips to Canada and Ireland to nurture the many Anglican relationships we've established over the years. It will take until September to plan and coordinate the details necessary to maximize the Gospel impact of such an endeavor; but the invitations are in hand and I believe the time will be right in the fall.
9. It is my hope that by next October live streaming our Sunday CrossPoint services and all of the special teachings held on that campus will have become a standard practice - the capability for this is also being included in the Chapel's infrastructure. I plan to resume teaching on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month.
10. After a rapid year, I will again be offering everyone the opportunity to partner with us to reach the next generation for Christ. What will be possible in 2020 will be determined in no small part by the time, talent and treasure pledges received in 2019. And so it is this November . . . as you thank God this month, you undergird the plans outlined above.
11. Commencing with the Advent Season, Cross Schools will begin enrolling its first freshmen - these young women and men will become the Class of 2024! And on Christmas Eve, the inaugural service in The Chapel at Cross Schools will be a festive celebration of the birth of Jesus. Those two "firsts" will make my December a special month indeed!
I wonder . . . how are you planning to serve the Lord in and through The Church of the Cross during 2019? I pray you will be as excited as I am!
In His power and for His glory,