In the American Midwest there was a convent whose community had been steadily shrinking and whose prayers for new presenting novices appeared to be unanswered. One of the women religious had decided that their buildings were doomed and could only be torn down and the land sold. A friend of the convent had the inspired idea of bringing together the nuns with a group of millennials who were involved with social justice work at Harvard Divinity School.
The Nuns and the “Nones” (religiously unaffiliated) met together and began to gather around questions like, “What are the deepest questions of your heart?” alongside reflections on community and working for justice.
There began an unlikely partnership that spread to other convents. As one Sister put it, “You know it’s the Holy Spirit..” when you pray for new novices, and hairy young men walk in your side door one stormy night.
But this is not about trying to make these millennials into versions of themselves.
“We’re not saying, ‘Oh good, we have a new cohort of people who will be carrying the torch forward that we will bind to us in a specific way,’ ” Sister Gloria says. “It’s really about walking together, being open to the relationship and each of us getting in touch with what are the deepest values, what are the dreams, the visions we’re holding, and being true to that in each of our own ways.”
This is an American story of some women religious, but it is also a story for all of us. How do we be open to the new thing the Spirit is doing? How do we welcome new insights that each new member brings? How do we use the resources we have- time, talents, finances – to be part of the generative work the Spirit is doing to create the reconciling, liberating realm of God in this time and this place?
This weekend we will take time in the service to record our interests and the way we would like to share of ourselves and our resources for the mission and ministry of St Andrew’s. The forms can be found here:
May God guide us with wisdom and bless us with the Spirit of discernment as we look towards the New Year together.
Grace and peace,