Fr. Tim

Fr. Tim's Letter - August 5, 2018

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People of the Resurrection...

After a restful week alone, “up Nort ‘der hey”, and not being called for jury duty (this time around), and a week of regular medical testing, I’m settled back into the routine (if there ever is one) of parish life.  Just some scattered things today – more focused beginning next week, I promise!

Vacation – literally meaning to ‘vacate’ or ‘empty out’. I realize how essential it is after 7 days’ solitude at Morgan Lake. Two nights with 11 hours sleep was great; sitting on the dock, the porch or in the canoe - watching, maybe thinking….or maybe not, with simple food, an extra drink as the sun went down, or getting up in the middle of the night to watch the stars - with no artificial light – how refreshing, and healing!

So was my regular routine of seeking out a confessor up there; this time, a Polish immigrant, in Iron Mountain, in his 4th year of following a ‘legendary pastor’. His attentiveness, understanding, the sacrament itself and some fraternal conversation and advice were all gift; so was the “Mom & Pop” hot dog wagon I found on the way out of town! If you haven’t, please, take it as an obligation, to get some time away, off the clock.  You’ll be glad you did!

Preaching ‘sweet spot’ – I’ve tried as many spots as I can think of in our church room. There’s no spot that everybody liked, though some fared better than others in the feedback. 

At any rate, I’m just gonna pick one that makes sense to me – on the ground floor, to the south.  When I first stepped away from the pulpit as a deacon at St. Ailbe, Chicago, one woman said to me: “Brother Timothy! It was so beautiful that you came down and stood on the same floor we put our feet on – at our level!” 32 years later, that sticks with me as an important feature. 

It also reminds me of St Augustine’s words: “With you, I am a Christian; for you, I am a priest.” I really cherish being your ‘brother’ by Baptism; that’s what I mean to express by preaching from the same floor you put your feet on – no stage or pulpit or elevation.  We’re all in this together. 

It may not be to everyone’s preference; but I hope understanding that I’ve made a search of it, and have a rationale behind it, will make it “OK” for you. Thanks!

We have filled both of our open staff positions.  At this point I don’t have enough background to share the specifics with you; that will be next week. Please join me in thanking God, and our new staff members, for this gift, this grace. 

And please be open to them, as ‘a year of transitions’ continues at Resurrection.  It’s not easy; but such growing pains, labor pains foretell new life in the Lord Jesus, Whom we love so much!

And together in Him –

“God will bless us...EVERY one”!

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Fr. Tim's Letter - June 24th, 2018

Hello,

People of the Resurrection...

Continuing this week – the 2nd installment of the “New Pastor’s Impressions”, from the Annual Parish Meeting. It’s in the context of a SWOT Analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

This week – opportunities and threats…

…from the perspective of a new pastor, with both fresh eyes, ‘other’ experiences and very limited experience here at Resurrection.

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OPPORTUNITIES

  • Our being in a period of “transition” offers a chance for additional perspective, renewal and continuing growth (“Continuing Conversion”, as Norbertines would say.) in the Lord. I suppose it could also be seen as a threat; each of us has to decide about that.
  • A realistic attitude, on the part of the Diocese (us as well?) to ‘face the facts’ regarding declining membership & participation…viewing them as challenges and chances for growth.
  • The re-focus, on the part of the Diocese, on a “Christ-Centered” approach to our being the Church – i.e. “Do you know Jesus?”
  • The Alpha Program for small group faith-sharing has enormous potential, having reached 1.7 billion folks world-wide already!
  • Continued & increasing cooperation & collaboration with diocesan initiatives, St. Matthew’s and other cluster parishes & St. Norbert Abbey offers broadened vision, beyond our own limited vantage point.

THREATS

  • Resistance to “gracefully surrendering the things of youth” (Desiderata - 1927) …staff,
  • customs, patterns, personal preferences, styles, so that our parish family can grow forward, from the good, and toward what’s still unfinished in us. (i.e. -“We’ve always done it, and done it this way.”)
  • A shallow pool of potential participants in ministry, committee work and leadership.
  • “Theological polarization”
  • Present disengagement of many of our high school aged members and young adults.
  • Insufficient energy & impetus to go to the marginalized for Evangelization.

Far from being the ‘whole story’, they are pieces which ‘stand out’ when looking with ‘new eyes’. How would you list our opportunities & threats? Perhaps another bit of ‘homework’ for these summer weeks?

 In all of it, we trust…

“God will bless us...EVERY one”!

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