“Tell me about your faith journey.”
It’s a question I often ask. Over the years of asking, I’ve been moved (and pleasantly surprised) as people happily welcome this conversation. Many folks are grateful for the chance to describe their faith journey, and believe that church is an important context in which such conversations can happen.
In sharing their faith journey, people emphasize the vital role of the worshipping community in their spiritual growth.
“The welcome you receive from this congregation is genuine.”
“I visited here and knew this was my spiritual home.”
“I feel the Holy Spirit’s presence in worship, especially in the Eucharist.”
“I went through a hard time: the support and prayers of this congregation probably saved my life.”
“The ministry we have to the community, through our mission and outreach, shows me that Jesus can be found in every person, no matter the circumstances”
Human beings are created for relationship. From the moment of our birth, bonds with loved ones sustain our life. The tapestry of our lives is threaded with curiosity, pain, joy, loss, fear, tragedy, triumph, hope. Even in our early years, before we have much vocabulary to express it, we yearn for a sense of belonging. As with other developmental horizons, our emerging religious consciousness becomes God-hunger (what several authors have called the “God-shaped hole” at the center of our being).
I am particularly grateful that the Episcopal/Anglican tradition honors both our need to belong and our yearning for God. Rather than urging people onto a solitary path of individual conversion, we weave the compelling and empowering love of Jesus Christ into the experience of belonging.
In the diocesan Strategic Planning process, gathered in each region, a unanimous priority came clear: to revitalize our faith communities as bearers of the Good News of Jesus Christ and to foster the experience of belonging for which we yearn. In the coming weeks, our diocesan community will review and reflect further on this priority, as we together seek to fulfill God’s preferred future for the Diocese of Washington.
The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen