Sunday, August 14, 2011

The 2011 Annual MSJ Gathering

Recently Nathan Dunlap traveled up to Michigan with several others to attend the Missionary Society of St. John's annual assembly.  Beyond the business of the Church that needed to be addressed, this was a time of refreshing and reconnecting with beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.  Amid the teasing and laughter came a sense of belonging; a sense of being "at home" with those whom the Lord has called to walk together in ministry.  It is a rare privilege to have this depth of unity and brotherhood in this life -- truly a hint of the joys that await us in our Savior's presence.

During the gathering, an amendment was ratified to form a religious order within the Society under the terms "Brothers and Sisters".  This order is designated for those who voluntarily commit themselves to a life of holiness; consecrating themselves to a specific ministry in the service of the Missionary Society.  This is a  recognition of those who are called by the Holy Spirit to active ministry without necessarily being an ordained clergy.  Initially, a Brother or Sister becomes a "Novice", with the allowance of perpetual vows to be made after the test of time proves the fruit of their labors.

During the Mass of Oils held Friday evening, Lynn Jenkins of Kent, OH was commissioned as the first Brother of this newly formed religious order by Bishop Fredrick Fick, the Father-General of the Society.  After this laying on of hands, the Bishop said we must not have Brother Lynn be alone in this important occasion, so he commissioned Nathan Dunlap to be a novice Brother also.  This may have come as a surprise to many of those present, but it had been discussed previously with those involved.  This was a joyous celebration and recognition of what the Holy Spirit has been doing in and through the lives of these two men; and an important step in their spiritual journey through life.  Let us rejoice together with them.

     The Father has said that He would spread
     His love in our lives today.
     The Son has bled and His mercy shed,
     in our lives He's come to stay.
     And with the Spirit we're led and He has said
     that He would teach us how to pray.
     Together all Three with you and me,
     we are the Body of Christ.
     Alleluia.

May the peace of Christ be with you.

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