4523 Six Forks Rd. Raleigh, NC 27609
The Feast of the Holy Name
Dear Members and Friends of Saint Timothy’s,
We begin 2017 on The Feast of the Holy Name. The first day of the year, the first day of the week, the first day when Jesus takes on His Name, all come together on January 1st. The calendar blesses us with the concentration of these “firsts” on January 1st. It just seems an appropriate way to begin the secular year. We have the convergence of these secular marks coinciding with this sacred day. The Feast of the Holy Name is smothered by our New Year’s Day. It’s too bad because that scene and event from Holy Scripture is so revealing about this newborn Savior of the world. He is God in the flesh and will save us from our sins and now we know that God wants us to call him Jesus. We can begin 2017 by proclaiming the Name of Jesus to the world; a wonderful way to begin.
I recently learned of a practice some persons make at the beginning of the year. They write down, and post in an obvious place in their home, a list of goals they would like to reach in the year. This is not a matter of making New Year’s resolutions. This is more serious and intentional than a resolution. These are goals they know are long-term and yet specific enough so they know at the end of the year whether or not they have been achieved. The goals do not have to be big and bold, but they do have to be life-changing. One might ask oneself “What do I want to have happen this year?”, “What do I want to be doing?”, or “Where do I want to ‘be’ literally or figuratively?”
I’m told, by persons who take this action, that it is amazing how much can actually come true in the course of a year. How does this happen? It may be that the goals are in front of the persons every day. This may keep them focused on the goal and allow them to be patient and take tiny steps toward the goal in the course of the year. It may be that they remain calm if the goal is not being achieved because they can evaluate if the lack of accomplishment is their fault, or whether or not it may be that someone or something is hindering the achievement. This practice has born fruit for the persons who have attempted it and born such valuable fruit that they continue to write and post these goals year after year.
What would some goals of this kind look like for Saint Timothy’s Church in 2017? It lifts the heart to think and dream about what I would like to see in the parish and what is possible in the parish over the next year. If I were to make a poster of goals for the parish, and put it up in a prominent place, it would probably list aspirations like:
Seeing the average Sunday attendance increase by twenty to thirty worshipers.
Surpassing the 2017 number of pledgers and the amount pledged surpass the amounts for 2016.
Add an Assisting Priest to the parish and Chaplain to the School.
Increasing the number of regular volunteers we have at North Raleigh Ministries.
Have more visitors to the parish become regular, participating members of the parish.
Have more activities for young people like a co-ed basketball team or softball team, or both.
Have a prayer group for mothers of children in the parish and the school.
See an increase in the number volunteers teaching in the Church School.
What would you like to see Saint Timothy’s achieve in the course of 2017? The goals from a parishioner’s perspective ought to be different from those of the parish priest. I would be interested to hear from some of the members and friends of the parish about what their goals would be. It will be fun to see how many of the goals I listed above are actually reached at the end of 2017. There is a lot to think about and prayer over.
The whole practice of looking forward and thinking about possibilities is encouraging and even inspiring. God has been very good to us at Saint Timothy’s. He has given us a warm, alive and beautiful parish church family that can move into 2017. I, for one, look forward to the ministry we have with hope and renewed inspiration. Listing some goals does help me move forward with hopeful anticipation. It makes me want to “get into” the new year and watch the movement toward the goals unfold.
Let’s continue to worship God through His Son Jesus Christ all through 2017 as we have for many years. Please keep me and my family in your prayers as we continue to pray for you and the work and worship we do here at Saint Timothy’s.
Yours faithfully, in Christ,
The Reverend Jay C. James