The events and activities on our calendar this spring have curtailed blogging. So I’ll take the opportunity with this post to update everyone on what has been going on here on our Ridgely Road campus and farther afield with REBUILT.
Lent and Easter
We had an effective and engaging Lenten message and small group series called “What on Earth am I Here For” based on Pastor Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, powerfully underscoring what our lives and the Church are all about. That was followed up by one final series to round out the season, “Brand New,” an Easter reflection on Christ making all things new, including us.
Holy Week and Easter itself were busy days, with thousands of people turning out to remember the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord. It was a beautiful week reaching its highlight in the Easter Vigil, led by Bishop Adam Parker, welcoming new members through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. And speaking of sacraments, we celebrated two separate First Communion Masses for our Second Grade students, and two separate Confirmation Masses, again celebrated by Bishop Parker, for our High School students; hundreds of students and their parents and guests participated.
Growing Church and Staff
Of course, the big news on campus was the grand opening of our new balcony, providing an additional 500 seats, all of which were full on Easter Sunday, as were our video venues in the Theatre, Pavilion, and Vision Café.
Our staff continued to grow as we welcomed Brigit Macksey, Director of Hospitality Ministries, Tracy Giordano, Director of Operational Ministries, and Sean Mihaly as my assistant. All our staff participated in staff development through a number of conferences we offered them as part of their ongoing education and formation in ministry.
Regarding REBUILT, it was a busy spring as well. We launched our first ever, hopefully to be repeated, REBUILT Road Shows. Last year, you will remember, we hosted the REBUILT Conference, a three day gathering to inspire and equip over 1,000 churches from across the country and elsewhere. Held here on our campus, it was a great event, but one we decided to hold every other year, given the breadth and depth of the effort. However, to continue to engage with parishes that are rebuilding we came up with the Road Show concept. Basically it is a one day conference, held regionally, bringing together a smaller group of leaders, about 100 each, for renewal and refreshment, encouraging them in parish planning. This spring we hosted four such gatherings in Boca Raton, Boston, Westfield New Jersey and one here on our campus. They were very successful and well received, and we hope to replicate them in the future.
On the book front, we delivered to our editor the final edits to the manuscript for our new book, to be released in September. Churchmoney is all about growing healthy parishes by funding them the way the Lord told us to. Not everyone will like what we have to say, but we think it makes for an interesting read and will make a difference for many parishes and people. Also this spring we completed delivery to our editor of two smaller projects to be released later this year and next, in the form of daily devotionals parishes can use in Advent and Lent. You’ll be seeing them here at Nativity.
Finally, we are just this week embarking on a book tour in several cities in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. Daniel Miller, our Youth Minister, and Brain Crook, our Weekend Director, will be accompanying me and also speaking at conferences sponsored by dioceses there. Please pray for the success of these efforts to help parishes (very different from ours) rebuild.