If it is in Latin then surely it must be true? It certainly seems to add weight. Many church doctrines are stated in Latin – it was (and I believe still is) the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of our Lutheran founding documents are written in Latin – starting with 95 theses – that was the moment 500 years ago that has our modern Lutheran church all astir.
Ecclesia Semper Reformanda means, “the church must always be reformed”. Bishop Michael reminded us last September (2016), when the Thames Ministry Area gathered for worship to start this 500th year, that ‘Reformation’ is not just a noun that marks and titles the events of 500 years ago, but more so ‘reformation’ is an ongoing verb; “the church must always be reformed”. Theologian Phyllis Tickle contends that every 500 years some revolutionary things happen in the Judeo-Christian tradition that change everything.
Guess what? We are in that change right now. Here is a quick test.
- Is your church the same as it was 30, 40, or 50 years ago?
- Can you predict what your church will look like in 10 or 20 years time?
If you said ‘no’ to both questions then you are probably seeing and feeling the change right now. You can also ask those questions of many things that have an institutional way to them (e.g. schools, hospitals). The world around us is changing in many ways.
So how does this idea that “the church must always be reformed” happen? I would strongly say that the Holy Spirit is in action – it always is – and not just in 500 year episodic appearances. I see the Spirit in action in many parts of how we are as a congregation and especially in the Visioning Group that formed in the spring 2016. We have been working through creating a vision for Trinity and are currently finalizing a strategic plan. The Visioning Group are going to present their work to Council at their December meeting in preparation for bringing this work to the congregation as a whole at our annual congregational meeting on 11th February. You will hear much more about this in conjunction with the annual report in January.
But here is a sneak peak of one item that our Kid’s Club (Sunday School) is part of as well: Intergenerational Worship – this is worship intended to reinforce that we are all Christ’s body, that we all have gifts to offer, and it is worship that seeks to find ways to make scripture clear to all ages. My big request to you is to attend and participate in these worship services – even if they feel like your church is changing a little too much. There are central parts of worship that will always be there – a sense of Christ’s community; congregational sung songs with a mix of modern and ancient words and music; prayer and confession; the bread and wine sacrament. The main goal in intergenerational worship is participation rather than watching and listening. And to participate you must be there. Being there sends a strong message to our younger brothers and sisters in faith that they too belong at, and are loved by, our church which is the body of Christ. I am excited to be part of this. If this strikes a chord with you (musical pun intended) and you can imagine being part of the planning and participating in intergenerational worship – come talk to me.
In great faith and hope for the start of the next 500 years …