From The Director’s Chair

I love parish festivals. That is a large understatement. I LOVE PARISH FESTIVALS! Apart from the sense of community that they drive, parish festivals are a wonderful opportunity to spotlight the best parts of our communal life together and show visitors the passion we have for our faith, service and each other.

Being on the inside of planning, promoting and presentation of the festivities is a great deal different than enjoying an hour or two, taking a chance on a raffle, eating some great food and then departing. Being the “new guy,” I got to see this wonderful festival from the inside out, with a fresh perspective. I stayed in the background and observed the planning, helping where and when needed, but for the most part, let this over-worked committee of volunteers, lead and directed by the mountain-sized efforts of one Anne O’Keefe, do their job. There is not enough space in this article, even this bulletin, to thank Anne, Gail and their whole team of volunteers ,who worked above and beyond.

During the events of a Fall Festival, we can see the efforts as an opportunity to grow in discipleship. This a great place to show off our growth together in stewardship and to be reminded of what a true disciple of Christ is about. What is the purpose of Christian discipleship?

The main purpose of Christian discipleship is to be like Christ. Christian discipleship might best be described as a training or mentoring program designed to develop individuals to become more like their Savior. When Christ became man and lived on earth, he endured all the same trials, pains and persecutions that man suffers to prove himself as a perfect example for us. Therefore, one of the primary purposes of Christian discipleship is to emulate the character of Christ. 1 Peter 2:21 says, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

Another purpose of Christian discipleship is to learn about the Father. In Christ’s three-year public ministry on earth, He often stated that His goal was to teach His disciples about His Father. Christ wanted us to know that God is alive, real, sovereign, loving and is preparing a place for His believers in heaven. So, another purpose of discipleship is to grow in our knowledge of God.

In Philippians 1:9 Paul said, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” As we grow to know God, we yearn to know His power and to experience it at work in our lives. We long to feel His presence more closely and fully than we have experienced previously. We yearn to understand and grow in God’s grace.

Bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God is another purpose of Christian discipleship. It says in John 15:8, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” It is essential to increase the fruit (or those character virtues we exhibit in our lives) to be productive, as well-informed disciples of Christ, in order to carry out the responsibilities given to believers such as serving others and spreading the gospel.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life'” (John 8:12). Then in Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” We are commanded to take the light we are given and spread it around the world to others, so that they may see Christ and receive Him for themselves.

Believe it or not, our festival gives us these opportunities to spread the Gospel, to enkindle the flame that the Gospel has in us and in our community. Evangelization can happen at a moment’s notice, even when you’re locked in a heated game of four-way tug of war with Lisa Amos, Elizabeth McCanna and Fr. Steven! The Holy Spirit is providing ample opportunity to this beautiful community to reach out and invite the stranger with the Good News of the Lord…don’t let the moment wain.

In His light,

Christopher Seiple
Director of Parish

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