A couple weeks ago I wrote about the virtue of spirituality and the dangers of religiosity in my article titled “Let’s be Spiritual, not Religious.” This week I want to argue the other side. I want to talk about the virtues of a religious life and participation in a religious community like St. Dunstan’s Church. I am deeply moved and inspired by the work we do together as a congregation.
I received an email from Brother John Ryan this week reporting the statistics for the use of our kitchen. In the month of October we served 1,173 people: 508 meals taken to tent encampments, 274 people fed in our Tuesday evening Community Dinners, 94 fed by the St. Agnes Guild at the annual Harvest Dinner, and 298 people were served at our coffee hour on Sunday mornings. In the 11 months we have been keeping these statistics, we have served an impressive 15,673 people. What is beautiful about this to me is that so many of the people fed were neighbors, people in real need, and people we would not otherwise have known or touched. Many of the people that prepare, serve, and clean up from these meals don’t even attend worship at St. Dunstan’s Church.
This summer we hosted Tent City 3 on our campus. I have already shared with you some of the stories of lives changed and even saved by TC3. Saturday after next, the St. Agnes Guild will once again host their Canterbury Faire to raise money for their outreach grants. On Sunday we celebrated a beautiful All Saints Day service, remembering and honoring loved ones who have gone on before us. Our Youth Group hosted homeless youth from Ryan’s House for Youth in October for a weekend of fun, worship, and ministry.
I could go on and on listing the ministries and blessings that happen in and through our congregation. The work we do, the love we share, the generosity we offer, and the justice we strive for are what make the messy, flawed, irritating work of being a congregation worthwhile. Thank you for all that you contribute of your time, your money, and your selves to make St. Dunstan’s Church such an inspiring place to do ministry. Thank you for making religion worth the risk.
Yours in Christ,