Dear People of St. David’s,
I pray that you and yours are well and that you are excited about the possibilities before you in this new calendar year. If this past Sunday at church was any indication, there seems to be a new sense of excitement, hope, and peace about what the coming year might bring. More of us seem to be finding our balance after the past couple of years. My hope and prayer is that we can all embrace the return to some normalcy and take up our mission in new and committed ways.
One of the most important marks of Christian community is that we love one another. In fact, Jesus says that people will know we’re His followers because we love one another. We don’t have to understand everything about God. We don’t have to be living perfect lives (who can do that?). We don’t have to know everything about The Episcopal Church. We don’t even have to like everything about everyone. We must live in love and be committed to doing our best to love others as they are, simply because, like us, they are loved by God.
Now, living as a loving community encompasses a whole range of habits of our hearts, but the first is to know one another and welcome each other into the life of St. David’s. That means we introduce ourselves, smile at one another, and welcome someone when they let us know they are new to St. David’s or visiting. It means we learn their names and they learn ours.
When I was in sales, I remember hearing someone tell me that the sweetest sound in any language is our own name; I think that’s right on the mark. When someone calls you by name or you call them by name, it suggests that we matter, and they matter. The scripture from John’s Gospel at the top of this letter takes place at the resurrection. Mary doesn’t recognize the resurrected Lord until He calls her by name; that had to be a powerful moment on so many levels. Our calling as a community of love, reminds us that God knows us each by name, and as Jesus’ followers we can do the same.
I’m not as young and bright as I once was. Remembering so many names has become more and more of a challenge; you may feel the same challenge. Here at St. David’s, we have a way to help us know one another’s names and for others to know our names – NAME TAGS. Since I have been here, we’ve used name tags, but I think the break during the pandemic has broken our regular habit of wearing them. I would love for us all to start wearing name tags again as we grow in community and welcome others. This will help us call one another by name and remind them of our names. It will be a great help to the new rector God is calling to join St. David’s next year.
Please pick up your name tag from the cabinet in the Chapel Narthex when you come to St. David’s or carry it with you in your car. If you don’t have one, we can resolve that. We will start keeping name tags in the old church as well, for those of us who worship there. Thanks for your support in this and thanks for all you do to build this community of love.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. W. Frank Allen