Friday E-News | February 16, 2024

by Simon Mainwaring on February 16, 2024

Dear saints,

Many of you know that I have a love for India and that I spent four years there as a missionary in my early twenties. I taught in a boarding school that was established in 1900 by a Scottish missionary, Dr. John Anderson Graham. Over the course of three decades, in his spare time away from his day job in the local mission office, Graham built a self-sufficient school campus across what grew to be 500 acres of land, with a farm, a bakery, a hospital, school buildings and eventually about 20 cottages where children from infancy to 18 lived. In the middle of it all was the school chapel, built of stone, with the stained glass windows shipped over from Scotland. After Graham's death, the school put a plaque in his honor at the front of the chapel with the simple quote, 'It was in thine heart'.

The school has transformed the lives of generations of children in that part of the world. I have often marveled at how Graham did it. No doubt there was a lot of planning, a great deal of fundraising, and an extraordinary vision and belief. Yet, what I think drove Graham on was that building that school was indeed a matter of the heart.

Our discernment of what God calls us to be and do on our city block may be nothing like the scale of Graham's project, but at its core it is also a matter of the heart. In antiquity, the heart was where it was believed a person dwells. If you wanted know a person you would ask after their heart.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the distinct privilege of sitting with a number of you in your homes, over a meal, or at church, and have tried to ask what is the foundational question as we discern the future of our block: what's most important about All Saints' for you? What's of highest value? What's at the heart of the matter when you pray about this your spiritual home?

You'll notice that none of that is about what our best good idea might be for the block, nor is it about what could do the most good or generate the most money. It is about this place in our lives that is so much more than a place. It is about community. It is about us discovering here more of the fullness of who we truly are. It is about being part of a bigger story than the one we alone can tell.  

I am treasuring the conversations I am getting to have. I give thanks for how God's call on my life has brought me here so now I can bear witness to how deep calls to deep; how for so many of us when we come to be here with one another we are coming home. 

This Sunday is our final town hall gathering in Ellis Hall following the 9:00 a.m. service. I hope you can join us, or if not that you'll be able to catch up on what was said by watching later online. Maybe one day there'll be a modest plaque on a wall commemorating what the saints of the early 21st century determined to do on this block, large or small. I hope that it will also be said of us, that the vision realized here was in their hearts. 


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