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Will Tent City 3 Come Here?

tentcity3What is God calling us to do? For all four years of my ministry at St. Dunstan’s Church we have been asking some version of this question. Given our gifts, our traditions, our inheritance, our strengths, our friendships and our hopes, what is God calling us to do?

We have been asking these questions because we love God and we want to thrive as a congregation that is following Jesus. Asking this question is a way of life. We exercise and strengthen our faith by asking the question. We recommit to old ministries and discover new ministries by asking, What is God calling us to do now?

Each time we ask the question, we hope to find a meaningful answer. The answers come to us when we pray, assess our gifts, and engage in challenging conversations about how to use those gifts. What is God calling us to do? Whatever answer we find, God is always calling us to love: Love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.

The questions, the prayers, and the conversations we share are as important, if not more important, than the answers we find. How we interact, debate, question, explore and grow together determines our character as a Christian community. As we enter into these conversations, we grow in our understanding of one another, and in turn, can grow in our love for God and our neighbor.

We have an opportunity before us right now to get very specific as we seek to answer the question, What does God want us to do? The vestry of St. Dunstan’s Church decided, at their August meeting, to explore the possibility of hosting Tent City 3 (TC3) on our property. They did so after a presentation by members of TC3, and after a frank discussion of the potential challenges of hosting the encampment on our property. (Click here to read our Sr. Warden’s article about this conversation in the Vestry Corner article of our Highlights newsletter.)

Last Sunday we had about 20 people stay after the Blessing of the Animals service to hear a presentation from members of TC3. After the presentation we were invited to ask questions. The people from TC3 answered most of the questions, and some were given to the vestry for further exploration. This is an important part of the conversation as we discern God’s will in this situation.

Hosting TC3 is a challenge and an opportunity. It is challenging because we will have to confront many issues:

  • How will our space be used and shared while TC3 is here? Will we still have access to the lower parking lot?
  • How will our neighbors respond?
  • How safe we will we be with 60 to 100 people camping on our campus?
  • What effect might the TC3 presence have on the existing issues of people camping on our property and on illicit drug use around our buildings?
  • What are the insurance implications?
  • How will the campers get electricity and water?

These are just a few of the questions we have asked, and there will be more. Some of them are practical considerations and some are emotional, but all will be asked in the context of our love for God and for one another. We need to ask the right questions and then consider how we feel about the answers. Through the entire conversation, we will need to pray for God’s guidance. Is this what God is calling us to do?

Yours in Christ,
David+

Image from saintmarks.org retrieved 10/10/13

One Comment

  1. Doreen Duggan says:

    Dear Rev. David:

    I stayed behind last Sunday to listen to the TC3 presentation and hear how St. Dunstan’s would be involved if the city was allowed to camp on the property. Certainly some questions and concerns were raised. However, maybe the congregation should just ask “What would Jesus do?” then possibly, just possibly, all the problems would be solved.

    I enjoyed the animal blessing service and look forward to the day I become a member of your church.

    Doreen Duggan

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