Dear Friends in Truth,
For the last three years, our ups and downs at Capitol Hill Friends have followed seasonal patterns. The fall and New Year have brought new energy, opportunities and numerical growth. The summer and winter holidays have been accompanied by lower energy and reduced attendance. Over time, we have learned to roll with the punches, coming to anticipate these natural swings. We have adapted our programs and outreach to the rhythm of the seasons.
But this fall has not stuck to the script. Energy has not risen. Attendance has not recovered. The summer slump has largely continued. This year is different.
This unexpected challenge may be good for us, in the same way that cod liver oil is beneficial - it tastes awful, but it has lots of vitamins. This fall's "tough medicine" has caused us to seriously reevaluate our life as a community at Capitol Hill Friends. Who are we called to serve? What mission is God calling us to here in the city? What is our model for being a deeply rooted community in a highly transient urban area? How is God asking us to change in order to adapt ourselves to the needs of the culture we live in? Is God still calling us to plant a Quaker Meeting here in DC? These are questions we have held and considered all along, but they are taking on a new urgency.
I know that, to be faithful, I must be open to laying down this entire venture. Capitol Hill Friends does not belong to me, or even to the membership as a whole - it belongs to Jesus Christ. We must rely on him to show us the way forward. Whether we lay down this ministry, radically change our orientation as a group, or simply keep walking forward in faith, we must do it because Jesus calls us.
I suspect that the three year mark is a critical moment for a new community like Capitol Hill Friends. The honeymoon period is definitely over. We have had plenty of chances to see our own weakness and limitations. I know that I have gained a much fuller view of my own personal failings after three years of service to this community. The daily grind of local ministry has been powerful in exposing my true character. Of all the prayers I ask, one that God always answers with devastating immediacy is: "Lord, humble me."
In the love and mercy of Jesus,