We make choices all the time--what to eat, what to wear, where to go and what to do with our lives. Our lives are made up of choices we have made in the past and the ones that we will make in the future. Choices emerge ultimately from what we care about and value and they materialize often in our preferences and interests. But do our choices serve the well-being of the community or our own interests? Only time will tell. However, when leaders and their communities see their choices and future as intimately intertwined, only then will they approach their choices as a collective act. Until then, they will treat their choices as a private matter, lacking any interdependence or an acknowledgement of individual fallibility.
In our very own country, leaders have made choices during uncertain times that have not always considered the wellbeing of the collective inside and outside our borders, organizations and communities. As a result, many employees, citizens and neighbors live in exile. They are scattered throughout the land, banished from things like adequate food and shelter, clean water, job security, economic prosperity, good government, environmental justice, compassion and empathy, vital faith communities and good, courageous leadership. In these exilic moments, some leaders are forced, but many choose, to live out of a spirit of scarcity versus abundance, fear versus courage, selfishness versus graciousness, the survival of the fittest versus the well-being of the community. Choices like these represent a failure of leadership and a failure of our ability to live up to our highest ideas and morals about who we are, our relationship to each other and what we can accomplish together on behalf of God's saving work in the world.
Ultimately, our choices have either positive or negative consequences. We can choose to care for what God cares about or not. However, we are certain, whether instinctively or intellectually, that the Lord will attend to those of us who have not lived up to our capacity to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us. So what is at stake for those of us in congregations and communities? What does God invite a church in transition to care about? What are those of us who love the church called to do? We are called to care about God's sheep and the next generation of leaders who will care for them. We are called to choose.
175 Years– We Remember, Renew, Reach out
The Reverend Canon O. Samuel Nichols
Photos provided by the retired Rev. E. Ulric Commissiong-Jones
Almighty God, we give thanks that you have consecrated this house of Prayer and called together a community to worship you. As we celebrate with joy 175 years of work and witness to the faith of Jesus Christ, we remember all bishops, priests, deacons and lay persons who served in the church of St. Paul’s Calliaqua. Empower us to love like Jesus and serve you with a deep passion. So transform us by the renewing of our hearts and minds and enlighten us together with all the saints to grasp how high and deep and wide and long is your love. Strengthen us in body, mind and spirit that we may strive toward heavenly things. Through our communion with you, enable us to reach out to others with a taste of your grace and love, as you lead us step by step all of the days of our life. We ask these mercies through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Canon O. Samuel Nichols
From the St. Paul's church bulletin of January 17, 2015.
It’s a joy to be alive }
To celebrate one seventy-five } Repeat
To remember renew and reach out
Spreading the good news all about
So let us all sing and shout
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice (Repeat)
Rejoice! St. Paul’s rejoice
It is a time to celebrate }
We have fought to keep the faith } Repeat
So come on people young and old
Brothers and sisters of one fold
Let us all lift up our voices
And rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice (Repeat)
Rejoice St. Paul’s rejoice.
Words: Lorna McBarnett
Music: Kenelm Beache
ST. PAUL'S ANNIVERSARY POEM 175 YEARS
How majestically you stand,
On that hill occupying such blessed land,
Nurturing so many year after year,
To all of us you are held very dear.
Generations come and go,
And sing your praises high and low.
The years ahead are full of hope
As your holy presence helps many to cope,
You remain a constant and calming spot
No matter what in life is one's lot.
One hundred and seventy five years and going strong,
Vibrant and purposeful the community moves along,
With spiritual guidance, love and devotion caressing
Congratulations, thanks and praise to God for this blessing.
Cheryl Phills King.
January 25, 2015.
The 2015 Palm Sunday photos were provided by Deacon Mrs. Verbina Gonsalves