Last night, Kirk and I decided against joining a creative class at Northland in favor of a Prayer & Praise gathering at All Saints. This church has gotten so under our skin and into our blood that we just couldn't wait until Sunday.
While we were walking up to the fellowship building, not sure which side was the entrance, an older lady, probably in her 70s, came up from the parking lot and offered to walk us in. Her name is Barbara, and she moved to Winter Park from San Bernardino, California, with her husband 13 yars ago. Of all the churches they've belonged to in their long lives so far, she said All Saints is her favorite. Her reason? The love and kindness of its members.
Barbara introduced us to two of her friends, Bill and Angelina, also an older couple, who competed with her for the chance to sit with us during the service. When we sat down beside them, we learned that their daughter had just returned from working 3 years on her doctorate at Oxford, while their son used to run the contemporary praise service at the church.
Nice again. (And we can't seem to stop running into Oxford wherever we go!)
Lest you begin to think this church is full of old people, let me add that there were also lots of middle-aged and younger folks there, too. It seems a good spread, in all.
When Father Rob got up to speak, we entered into the second best part of the evening (the first being all the friendly people), as he began a sermon sprinkled with references to Dallas Willard, Celtic Christianity, Ruth Haley Barton, and C. S. Lewis, all of whom are on our hotlist of "approved theological fodder." Plus, he shared a lot about Jesus -- always a good sign, right?
In the view of this new rector, the vision of life is all about the kingdom of God -- growing it, living it, and learning to enter into it. It's about a lifelong journey of transformation.
We couldn't agree with him more.