Pastoral Letter October 21, 2018

“Build the house, that I may take pleasure in it, and that I may be glorified.” – Haggai 1:8

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

You may recognize that passage from Haggai (the smallest Book of the Old Testament) as the theme for our campaign to raise awareness, enthusiasm and prayers for an eventual church home for St. Anna’s. The summer of 2017 is when we introduced this concept and set down our current path of finding a place for us to grow and mature as a community.

To be sure, it is important for us to set such goals, strive to achieve them, and keep in a proper and spiritual check, our motivations and reasons. Everything we strive to do, and eventually accomplish is for one purpose; and that is to glorify God. The Lord, Himself, gave this commandment to the prophet Haggai, and we are responsible for its message today.

But I am also here to remind you, that building a house for God is not limited to the purchase of a building or the construction of a house of worship. To build a house suitable for God’s pleasure and appropriate for His glorification means, as Haggai proposes, we look well beyond our own a altar, nave and narthex.

“Build the house, that I may take pleasure in it, and that I may be glorified.” – Haggai 1:8

God is glorified when our hearts burn to serve, worship and praise Him.

God is glorified when our souls reach out to Him in repentance and love for humankind.

God is glorified when we allocate our time and resources for the benefit of others.

God is glorified when we live our lives in a quest for His Kingdom through righteousness.

God is glorified when we reach out to Him in prayer, thanksgiving, humility and trust.

God is glorified when we make the effort; collectively and individually to…well, glorify Him.

And yes, God is glorified when we actually build stuff that gives Him pleasure.

And while I am overjoyed and thrilled with last week’s announcement that our own “dream house” is currently under contract, I have something else very important to announce.

“Build the house, that I may take pleasure in it, and that I may be glorified.” – Haggai 1:8

In the summer of 2019, we are returning to Project Mexico! Once again, we are going to literally build a house that He may take pleasure in, and He will indeed be glorified.

The last time we took a building team down there, we registered sort of last-minute and gratefully took what they gave us. Our slot was so late in the summer that all our college and high school students had returned to school by late August’s arrival. Thusly, we participated in Project Mexico’s final week of building. Not this time.

This morning, we stood by for the exact moment that on-line registration opened. Therefore, please be joyfully advised:

Our 2019 Project Mexico Building Team will participate in the Third Week,
June 27th to July 3rd

This week was chosen so that it did not conflict with Camp Emmanuel, most especially Senior Week, that we may encourage our teens and young adults to participate. We only have 20 places secured, and there are people from other states and churches who have expressed an interest in being a part of our mission team. It is still early, so the exact costs and requirements are yet to be determined, but St. Anna’s has paid our $400.00 non-refundable deposit. This is how confident I am that we will fill these spots.

Our first trip to Project Mexico was filled with countless blessings. We saw suffering. We witnessed poverty. We were made to be more appreciative of the opportunities given to us.

Of course, through the suffering, poverty and appreciation, we saw people who have been given much less…I mean a lot, lot, less…and are still more thankful, Spirit-filled and happy than most people we meet in our every day lives. Do you want to see a happy person? Move them out of the cardboard box where they live, and construct a solid, dignified and loving home for their family.

The gift for those who receive a home from Project Mexico is a safe place to live.

The gift for those who sponsor and build a home for Project Mexico is absolute clarity.

And it is clear who is richer for the experience.

“Build the house, that I may take pleasure in it, and that I may be glorified.” – Haggai 1:8

No doubt, I am excited for the coming days, months and years for us to enjoy the prospect of, and the realities of us purchasing the Atrium for our church home (God willing, and per the blessings of His Eminence, and per a favorable Parish Assembly vote).

But I have to say, that when it comes to building something for God, take pleasure within, and where He can be glorified, there is no question that unless we dedicate ourselves to ministries such as Project Mexico, our own building will have little purpose.

Not for us. Nor especially for God.

With Much Love in Christ,

Fr. Anthony