Tag Archive for 'John McCausland'

2010 Ministry Minute #6: Anne and John McCausland

IMG_2347Anne: The first Sunday we were at Holy Cross Douglas Clegg was the “organist,” He played “Tis a Gift to Be Simple” on the fiddle. As we sang the words, “when we find ourselves in the place just right” I remember thinking to myself, yes, I feel as if I have come home, and I stood up and said so to the small congregation gathered there. I who do not like to stand up in public! But Holy Cross has been for me a place where I can sit down if I need to, where I feel people take me as I am, anxieties and all.

John: The thing I have valued most about Holy Cross is your readiness to try new things, to reach out boldly. So many congregations are locked in the past, resistant to change, fearful of failure. I’ve served churches where everything had a bronze plaque on it; someone gave it as a memorial and no one better mess with it! I’ve served churches where individuals and cliques had their turf – the altar guild, the music program, the Sunday School, the liturgy – so that there was no common ground, no way for new people or new ideas to be welcomed in. Holy Cross has been just the opposite. We’ve built a new building, instituted the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, pioneered Come With Joy liturgies and Come and See evangelism programs.

Anne and I are energized by creativity, challenge and change, so this has been personally important to us. But we also believe it’s essential as churches like this one try to respond to the needs of today’s world, to younger generations with different cultural contexts, to people turned off by traditional church. The Bible is a record of change. God is always moving ahead of God’s people. We’ve had a lot of joy here with you trying to keep up with God.

Anne: One of the things I love about Holy Cross is that this is a place where I have been able to develop the ministry of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, I have met others who love and support that ministry. I have been formed at least as much as I have formed any of the children. This work has been a huge gift to me as well as my gift to Holy Cross.

IMG_2348John: Liturgy is the heart of a church, and something very important to Anne and me. I’ve tried here to develop our worship drawing on the richness of the Anglo-Catholic tradition, but without stiffness, without preciousness, making it the work of the whole people of God, not just the priest and the ministers up front in costume. Just as Jesus is both human and divine, liturgy must be both warm and personal and also open to the transcendent, to mystery, to the breaking through of God in the beauty of music, liturgical environment, word and movement. It’s been a delight that you’ve allowed me to develop with you a liturgy that builds on the rich tradition of the Book of Common Prayer and the 1982 Hymnal but incorporates elements from other resources. Anne and I really pray here on Sundays; I don’t just lead prayer. There is much more to be done, of course, but I can’t think of another congregation that has come so far liturgically.

Anne: There is so much richness here and people are so willing to share their gifts. We have all been the recipient of loving community, friendships, spiritual growth, support in times of trouble. I am comfortable offering tai chi, singing Gilbert and Sullivan, gathering to make rosaries, attend other people’s quiet days, and lots of GOOD FOOD. In short I can bring all of myself and find it redeemed, and I am filled with overwhelming gratitude

John: I’ve left for last what has been most important to both of us: you, the people of Holy Cross. The Episcopal Church these days flourishes best in suburban settings, in college towns, in settings where historic endowed churches carry on an array of sophisticated programs. Weare is none of these. If you were looking to plant an Episcopal Church, you wouldn’t put it here. But that has been our gift. We have such a mix of people economically, in terms of age, education, occupation, background, politics, people in suits and ties, people in jeans and T-shirts. We’re small enough so that I know every one of you personally, something of your joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs. And you know each other. No one has a basis for feeling left out here. You’ve taught me much about how to love, and I love you. As I listen to you talking about the transition, I hear people saying that they’ll miss Anne and me, that they value what we’ve brought here, our gifts. But I don’t hear anyone saying that Holy Cross will not go on without us – and go on just fine. And you will. You’ve been a great gift to us, but you are a greater gift to each other.