by the Rev. Richard Weinberg
December 31, 2020
Inspired by the Washington Post’s “20 Good Things that Happened in 2020,” I sat down on Christmas Eve to reflect on St. Margaret’s ministry in this very difficult year. Despite the awful challenges we’ve all faced, the mission God has given us has continued to thrive. Some might say we all need church now more than ever.
So here are 10 good things I came up with that happened at St. Maggie’s in 2020. Is there something you’d add to the list? Let me know–I’d love to hear it.
- St. Margaret’s went digital! Though a worldwide pandemic forced our city to shut down, and our church doors have temporarily closed, we quickly adjusted, figuring out new ways to worship God, grow in faith, and stay connected. Because of our online services and programs, this year we’ve been able to reach more people in more places than ever before.
- Charlie’s Place persevered. Although it hasn’t been safe for guests to gather in our parish hall, the staff and leaders of our cardinal ministry found new ways to distribute thousands of meals to go and hundreds of articles of clothing to our neighbors experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. What’s more, the Vestry approved a process for reimagining how we can be even more impactful in the community in the years ahead.
- We conducted our Annual Meeting on Zoom, becoming the first parish in the diocese to hold an annual meeting and Vestry election online. A new Vestry was called and immediately got to work, helping lead the parish through a critical time of challenge and change.
- The Vestry called me (Richard) as your ninth rector, marking the culmination of a unique journey I’ve experienced with you from associate rector to priest-in-charge to rector. And we embarked on a new journey together for years to come.
- We studied the Bible together. With most people stuck at home, a renewed hunger for engaging God’s word together in community resulted in a series of Bible studies on the Book of Acts, the Book of Daniel, and the Letter of James.
- Babies! Five families at St. Margaret’s celebrated the births of five children this year, and two of them were baptized earlier this month.
- We hosted Reimagine Charity, with more than 150 people participating from across the diocese and wider community in a special seminar to launch our work of reimagining Charlie’s Place.
- Community, community, community. I’ve lost track of the number of people who’ve mentioned that they feel more connected to fellow parishioners than ever before. The “forced” intimacy of our virtual coffee hour breakout rooms helped foster new and deepened relationships among members and visitors alike.
- The generosity of the people of St. Margaret’s has meant that we’ve been able to continue to offer our Sunday worship services online, provide food to our vulnerable neighbors, and offer opportunities for prayer and learning online. More than half of those who participated in our Pathways to Generosity campaign increased their giving estimates for the coming year, and overall pledge income is projected to increase by at least 7%, enabling us to make an even greater impact in the year ahead.
- We welcomed 23 new members to St. Margaret’s in 2020, showing that even in the midst of the pandemic we’re helping new people grow in their relationship with Christ and with fellow members of our community.
At the end of this challenging year, let us offer thanksgiving to God for these “good things of 2020,” and prayers and hope for a better 2021 for all.