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From the Rector
Yesterday, August 8, was the Feast of St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers. We spent the month of July, through August 8, eliciting feedback about the preaching ministry of our parish. Here is some of the feedback received in the roundtable discussions and survey.
The roundtable discussions touched many points but were rooted in discussion for what makes good preaching. Namely, preaching that helps individuals to love God, love others, and make disciples (or to become better disciples themselves). It was agreed that while preaching can be entertaining or eloquent, that is not the primary purpose of preaching.
Rather, preachers should strive to communicate a message rooted in the Scriptures and the life and teachings and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the listener, the goal is to strive to listen to the sermon, even if the preacher isn’t engaging, in order to hear from God, or learn a new truth, or receive a message for one’s daily life.
Before preaching can engage people or proclaim the Gospel, it first must be heard. 95% of respondents indicating being able to hear me. Over 10% of respondents indicated a difficulty in hearing other preachers. This is interesting since they all use the pulpit which has a mic (I use a traveling mic). We will continue to work on adjusting our sound system levels.
Sermons that people recalled or found helpful, etc.
“Rest regularly sermon.”
“The sermon on forgiveness. Whenever I get upset about something someone has done. I rethink that sermon.”
“The one thing needful.”
“Liking is optional, love is required. I remind myself of this often.”
Here are some quotations from the survey in terms of positive feedback:
“Energy. Standing in aisle. Participatory parts.”
“Humor, having the congregation repeat and be involved.”
“Encouraging the children’s participation”
“Not shy of confronting the congregation”
“How he takes scripture and helps apply it to my daily life.”
“I like how he reinforces core ideas over the course of time.”
Here are some suggestions:
“Push us harder on being Christian and living our mission and what that means.”
“Share stories from your traveling ministry when appropriate.”
“I would really enjoy more history of the Bible passages and what was going on in the world during the writing of the story discussed.”
“Try not to yell.”
These were topics parishioners wanted to hear engaged:
“Ways that we, as a congregation, can spread the Gospel beyond our church, to the community, even to those who might not want to walk into our building.”
“I would learn to like more about how people incorporate daily prayer and practices into their lives.”
“I am concerned about the world-wide attack on Christianity.”
Thanks to all who provided their feedback via the survey or in the roundtable discusses. Our vision statement talks about a renewed St. John’s as being characterized by “engaging preaching.” Preaching is not ultimately about the preacher but is about you and your own life of faith and discipleship. Hopefully, preaching, by the power of the Spirit, plants and water seeds that will blossom in our individual lives and our life together.
In Christ the Preacher,
Gifts continue to come in and it’s not too late for yours. Perhaps you want to see some work done first or you are trying to get through summer expenses. Please know your gift is still welcome. Now we switch our prayers to prayers of praise for what has been raised and for the work to be done. Thank you, all.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Dubuque, IA, is seeking an organist to play on Sundays and occasional other services (e.g. Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, etc.) The organist will also support the St. John’s Choir on Sundays and preferably in weekly rehearsals. Experience in liturgical worship necessary, Episcopal experience a plus. Pianists with interest/enthusiasm for organ study (which St. John’s may supplement for the right candidate) are encouraged to apply. Organ experience and competency highly desired. Stipend negotiable based on experience and ability. For more information send cover letter, resume, and references (or general questions) to St. John’s Episcopal Church, “Organist Search”, Attention: Father Goodrich, Pastor, 1458 Locust Street, Dubuque, IA or by email at email@example.com
Check out this group at 1 pm in the Parish House, Ruete Conference Room and Schmitz Library. Learn more about the life and teachings of Thomas Merton. Contact David Vanderah with questions.
Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the Concerts at Jackson Park on Sunday, August 11 from 6 pm to 8 pm. This is a wonderful opportunity to relax in our local park and connect with friends new and old. If you have questions about the concerts, what it’s like to attend or you want to connect with someone who might be going, talk to Christine Darr.
Pray for our church leaders as they meet at 6:30 pm in the Parish Hall, Ruete Conference Room.
Please bring your own beverage and a dish to share which could feed about 12 people. Utensils, plates, etc will be provided. See sign-up sheet at coffee hour. Please note that there will not be a service at the Church on Sunday August 25.
Please save the date on your calendar for this fun fellowship event! Interested in learning more, talk to Kathe Richardson or David Vanderah.
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Ministers: The People of St. John’s
Senior Warden: Susan Forshey
Junior Warden: John Stewart
Clerk: Pam Van Vleck
Treasurer: Bill Richardson
Vestry Members: Joe Hickey, David Kendall, Haley Lammer-Heindel, Ally O’Rourke, David Roberts, Corky Vance
Parish Administrator: Susan Meyers
Priest-in-Residence: The Rev. Dr. Kent Anderson
Rector: The Rev. Dr. Kevin Goodrich, O.P.
Bishop: The Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, D.D.