Reflecting on the year God gave us at St. Laurence
2016 was a remarkable year in so many ways, and I wanted to spend just a few minutes reflecting on some of the amazing things that we accomplished together as a parish family:
- We prayed together nearly 900 times (900!)
- We had our highest weekly attendance ever, averaging 383 people in worship every Sunday
- We launched and executed the Growing. Together. capital campaign, with over 200 people serving in some leadership capacity and nearly 70% of the parish family making a commitment
- Over $2.2 million was committed to expanding our campus; just over $500,000 of which has already been collected
- 14 of us went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England
- Dozens participated in one of our retreats
- Over 200 bible studies were held on site
- The parish family generously donated just under $1 million dollars to fund our core ministries of Worship, Spiritual Growth, Pastoral Care, and Evangelism
- We launched two very important new ministries: 1. Our Divorce Care Ministry, offering encouragement and hope to those who are going through a divorce or have already been through one, & 2. Our Young Men's Outdoors Group, with 19 of us gathering for a weekend of prayer, camping and outdoor activities at Lake Texoma in November, and more trips planned in the year ahead
- Our first ever adult mission trip in October with 11 of us serving the homeless and victims of human trafficking in the greater Austin area
- Our biggest ever jr. high mission trip, with 26 middle school age kids serving our local community in June
- We hosted two seminarian interns in the summer, blessing them in their time of formation for the priestly ministry
Those are the just a few of the highlights off the top of my head! There are so many more things beyond these that we did together for the Lord that are changing people's lives. It really was an amazing year and a few things stick out as I look at this tremendous list and reflect on our life together:
- Prayer continues to be a huge priority, with so many prayer times offered. Worshipping God is what we were born to do and we model this with multiple opportunities to pray every day.
- Mission is more of a priority than ever at St. Laurence, with another adult mission trip planned for 2017 and a group heading to serve in Malawi the summer of 2017. Reaching out to others in the name of Jesus Christ is part of the essence of the Church
- Spiritual Growth is happening all around us, with so many opportunities to learn, to spend time in God's Holy Word, to listen and to encourage each other. Growing Spiritually is not a go-it-alone venture, God has invited us into the Body of Christ precisely to help each other.
I am so thankful to God for the year that he gave us. We are so blessed as a church.
Jesus says, "Nobody was puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) He says this not so we won't reflect on our lives but so that we will always keep our eyes on the mission. He wants us always striving towards the task at hand, the task that God gives us. So, as I reflect on where we've been as a parish, which is obviously a place full of blessings, I am mindful that there is much more to do for the Kingdom. There are prayers to offer. There are words of hope to speak. There are acts of service to offer in love.
And so we press onward, seeking the Lord's blessing. With boundless optimism for 2017, and with the Lord's love, Fr. John Jordan