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Our parish link with All Saints Manhattan

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

 

Here is an introductory letter from the Rector of our sister church in Manhattan – All Saints . . . (http://allsaintsnyc.org/)

 

Dear Future Friends at St. Clement and St James!

Was it Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw who said something like, England and America are two nations divided by a common language? In any case, our small church in Manhattan is very interested in exploring both our similarities and our differences with you as we begin a new church (and soon a new calendar) year. Like you, we are a group of faithful people committed to making Christ known in a large, cosmopolitan city. Yet despite the sophistication of the culture, we know that many of those around us are quite naive when it comes to the knowledge and experience of the church.

We at All Saints Church in Mid-Town Manhattan, have a sophisticated, semi-high church liturgy. We appreciate fine music and preaching that addresses the concerns and questions of real people. Yet we find that we struggle to maintain a consistent attendance and are frequently struggling to make ends meet for our aging buildings. Nevertheless, we manage to feed the hungry each Saturday afternoon with a hot meal, where no one is turned away hungry unless we run out of food. It doesn’t look religious but in fact it is profoundly religious in following the compassionate teachings of Jesus.

Although I would like to see the pews filled, my congregation is very happy with the Church we have now. I believe we have to better learn what we need to do welcome the seeker and the sojourner. We need to expand our vision and our horizons with a sense of radical hospitality and articulate expression of faith. But isn’t that just how clergy are trained to think!!

My hope is that exploring the, heretofore unknown, relationship of a linked parish with you at your church, would help us to feel like we are in this together. I hope that we would inspire and instruct each other in how to do ministry. I hope that in creating a dialogue we would begin to see a larger world and context for our shared ministry. Eventually, I hope that some of our people would be welcomed at your church and that some of your people would find a spiritual home in our church. As Hillary said, we are stronger together.

Speaking of politics, we are not all monochromatic, but in the current state of things, most of us feel a deep sense of foreboding. My sense is that the church may find itself offering sanctuary for those who are “different” whatever that means and in whatever way that might manifest. We are to be a witness to the inclusive, unconditional love of God, a light to those who might find themselves in darkness.

My name is Steven Yagerman. I am the rector of our church and have been here a long time! I was called here when George Herbert Walker Bush was still president. That means virtually the entire Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Or as I like to say, about twice as long as Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. I am hopeful that this idea of “sister parishes” will be an inspiration to all of us in the days and years ahead. I write this to you with the hope that it will provoke dialogue and with that wind in our sails, we can determine how to steer this new relationship between our communities.

Peace and Blessings from New York City,

Steven Jay Yagerman
Rector of All Saints