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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Prayer Mail

Dear Friends,
This is our prayer mail for 5 June 2016.
This week, 

It has been an interesting week in light of the Commission on Ministry meeting on Wednesday. And the current distance learning course is winding down. 

a) We have entered an interesting ministry phase. Sometimes there are a lot of end results that materialize all at once. Yet mission work is not like that all the time. Quite often, there are quite lengthy and subtle building phases which look like things are in standstill, but in fact they are moving at the Holy Spirit's pace, not at a North American pace. This drives most North Americans to throw up their hands and abandon ship, thinking that nothing is happening. 

But this is also where endurance and steadfastness in the Holy Spirit on the part of missionaries plays a key part in terms of incremental progress going forward in the Caribbean context. We have entered one of those subtle phases. It is all quite mysterious, and yet, in the long run and based on past experience, it all works out in God's timing. And, stepping back even farther, it is all part of the big picture of transforming society through the people in the Church.

b) We keep moving ahead on course development, student participation, and ordination process plans. We have reached a milestone in which all our courses are set in the overall curriculum, with room for expansion and revision as needed. Flexibility, sense of humor, organization, and listening to the subtle presence of the Holy Spirit's guidance has continued to be important over the years as the basis for the design of the future program.

c) We have reached a new phase in the diocesan plans ahead with regards to the Bishop's ideas, the Commission on Ministry's plans, and my role as Diocesan Examining Chaplain/Advisor to the Bishop and Commission on Ministry/Mentor in the ordination process/and Talent Scout for potential clergy. We have entered a new promising phase of coordination between us all and a new phase as to what is ahead in terms of a potential clergy pool.

d) I am encountering more and more North Americans who have been relocated to their own homes from their former work environments, where they connect with their office via distance connections, and where their immediate supervisor may be in another state, as a way to cut overhead expense. I have meet several people in this situation in the past week, alone. Our distance learning program dynamic with students works somewhat in the same way, and has become somewhat visionary in that regard. 

1) I would like prayers for guidance on the path ahead for us all (including the Commission on Ministry, the Bishop, people in the ordination track, possible entries into the process, and potential students - whether lay people, Lay Ministers, people in the ordination process, or clergy), for whatever the Holy Spirit has in mind. Some people in this circle have been recovering from illness or surgery. Prayers for healing for them would be appreciated, as well.

2) Prayer also for continued support for our ministry would be appreciated; like a focus on praying for parish stewardship in support of parish mission and ministry, it is part of missionary life to pray for support of missionary mission and ministry.
3) That this new phase of ministry continues to be fruitful, and for all the plans we are making for the future in Belize, and for the people involved in those plans. 

4) For the easing of tensions between Guatemala and Belize. The higher than normal level of tension has been going on for some time now. And I would not be surprised to learn some day that in the background of our current mysterious ministry dynamic, that this international tension may have played a role at some level. It is also a reminder that missionary trips are not guaranteed to be safe, and that our form of missionary venture may be part of God providence for both ourselves and our friends in Belize in this regard.
5) For the Spanish Prayerbook as it moves incrementally closer to being printed.  

6) For our daughter, the Rev. Hannah, who is having a birthday this week.
7) I pray for you every day.
8) If you are going to be at the Diocese of Albany diocesan convention next week, look for our booth. I plan to show recent photographs.
Are we making a difference? Absolutely. You are part of that.
God bless you,
Fr. Shaw

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