The next four weeks I’ll be sharing the vision behind our new name. Below is an excerpt from Sunday night’s sermon laying the foundation for why a new name is important to our identity, our vision, and our mission.
Inspired by the heroic faith and sense of destiny she read about in young Queen Esther, several years ago a teenage girl in West Texas decided one of her children would one day be named after Esther, but not her Persian name. She would name a daughter Hadassah, Esther’s Hebrew name (Esther 2:7).
And when I began to date and eventually marry that West Texas girl, who by then was nearing the end of college, she shared with me her hope of a daughter named Hadassah. Our first two children were boys, so no luck there - though we love and adore them. And when we named Olivia, we knew there was yet one more girl out there, our Hadassah, even though friends gave us a hard time about the Hebrew name.
Many of you know Hadassah, or Dassie as we often call her. And you would probably agree with me that she is very unique, that there’s no one else on earth quite like Dassie - as is the case for each one of us. But Dassie wouldn’t be Dassie were it not for her name. There is something about the uniqueness of her name that bears the weight of who she is, of who she’ll become.
As Anglicans, part of the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church," we name churches not after regions, streets, cities, or who was somewhere first but typically after feasts and saints. Feasts mark events of salvation where God concretely engaged his world in love. Saints are people who have lived lives of heroic faith, some more conspicuously than others, and many to their death in the name of our Lord Jesus. Churches named for these celebrate a kinship with their saints or feast, and the uniqueness of the name is meant to bear the weight of who the church is, of who she’ll become.
More so, a name for a church is meant to be the fountainhead for a cohesive vision that will give character to a church’s identity, shape to her mission, breadth to her community, and depth to her individual members.
The name I believe God has chosen for us and that accomplishes these things is St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church - or St. Bart’s for short.
Join me the next four Sundays to hear about the vision connected with Bartholomew’s name - how he bears the weight of who we are and we’re becoming.