I hope this message finds you well.
Over the past two months I am very grateful for the kind wishes, prayers, and willingness to chip in and help out and also be open to this new reality that we find ourselves in with Beacons of Light.
As I have stated previously, there are 6 principles within the Beacons of Light pastoral initiative. One of those principles is “Church.” It seems obvious that it would be one of them.
This principle calls us to understand how we are members of a particular parish, family, deanery, Archdiocese, and a member of the Body of Christ with those across the world.
A parish is a geographic location that includes the people that we are called to minister. This means that this family’s boundary includes Centerville, Bellbrook, parts of Washington Township, and parts of Sugar Creek Township and all the people in it. The Beacons of Light planning process will help us reimagine what it means to be Church in this area. We as the people of this family need to discern how we are to engage the community around us in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
As the people of this family, we have had many events together. We have had multiple breakfasts following Mass including 4th of July and Labor Day. The staffs have a monthly breakfast after Mass. There was the great parish picnic at Incarnation, the anniversary dinner for couples celebrating significant anniversaries. We now also have a shared bulletin. Finally the Beacons Pathway Team has met and those members are Deacon Chris Rauch, Stacy Stang, Vicki Hume, Mike Hoendorf, Sarah Seckt, Leah Coghlan, John Tesar, Mike Sobecki, Brian Kohr, Lisa Barhorst, Sarah Chivers, Kim Conde, and Ernie Rummeler.
We also have seen a good flowing of people between both churches for Mass during the week and on the weekend. The attendance at both campuses are strong and numbers growing. The High School Youth Ministry is now combined between Incarnation and St. Francis and is getting very good attendance. There are lot of good things going on in this family. Thank you for answering our Lord’s call to be a strong family. We can continue to grow.
As we also know the Church is the physical building and the people. So the church includes the physical stones or the building and the living stones, the people. St. Peter reminds us “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 PT 2:5)” This means that we can offer our lives as a spiritual sacrifice to God in our prayers, fasting, almsgiving, good works. We also gather in the Church to be fed by the Word of God and the Eucharist. Both the physical church and the living stones are important.
This brings us to an update on the many church projects of the family. Each campus has many maintenance needs. On the St. Francis campus has a new chiller being installed next week, as well as other items the building and maintenance committee has prioritized like prairie and landscaping needs, and upgraded exterior door hardware for better security. As many of you know for the past two and a half years, a very committed renovation committee has met to understand the maintenance needs and vision for the future of the church building with a narthex, or gathering space.
There is now a new phase in the process, where the first official steps to implementing some of what the renovation committee has suggested and reviewed by the Parish Council and Finance Commission. This new phase is the official design phase, in which we have approval to begin the actual designs of the maintenance changes that need to happen with the church building. For example, the roof needs to be replaced and windows and outer walls need to be sealed up to prevent water from entering the building. In an effort to be good stewards of our church funds, we will also be including the design work for the proposed narthex from the renovation committee. By having this design work done all at once we are able to save funds in the long run.
Please continue to keep the family in your prayers as we continue to navigate how to be church and grow as a family.