Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Greetings my dear friends in Christ!

As my time of service through Mosaic and Rejoicing Spirits comes to a close, three phrases keep surfacing in my thoughts:


I am so deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served with and through such a profoundly impactful ministry as Rejoicing Spirits. Rejoicing Spirits has awakened the spiritual lives of individuals, families, congregations, and whole communities. Its bold celebration of God’s unconditional grace has embraced those who have too often felt forgotten, neglected, and even rejected in society and by faith communities.

Rejoicing Spirit’s worship services have a “Holy Spirit chaos” quality that has invigorated congregations that were stagnant and in danger of falling asleep with God’s good news. It has been pure joy to hear from parents and siblings who have felt the support of parishes who recognize the God-given gifts of their loved ones, when others saw only limitations. I have been fascinated by the numbers of folks who have articulated how Rejoicing Spirits have enabled them to experience God’s presence in very real ways.

Welcome and hospitality is taught and caught by Rejoicing Spirits better than any tool the Church has. Through 12 years serving as a Bishop, I pleaded with congregations to work harder at welcoming the stranger. If only I had known Rejoicing Spirits then, I would have offered Rejoicing Spirits as a gift that makes hospitality contagious and a delight. Rejoicing Spirits naturally engenders an atmosphere of vibrant welcome that becomes part of the DNA of a faith community. Having welcoming people out in the parking lots, helping those in vans and cars, announcing: “We are so excited to have you here, we couldn’t wait in the building,” has an impact. I am grateful for what Rejoicing Spirits has taught me and so many congregations.


Rejoicing Spirits is not an easy ministry. It is not a “Field of Dreams” ministry, that “if you build it, they will come.” It takes work developing partnerships with providers of services for people living with disabilities and to enlist parent support groups. Transportation is always a key and a challenge. Discouragement is Rejoicing Spirits’ greatest enemy. Gathering the community takes constant and consistent effort to get the word out, to keep inviting. Please be encouraged knowing that the effort makes a difference, that those who respond are vitally important to God and therefore to us. Rejoicing Spirits is a ministry that enhances the lives of all those involved and it is worth the work.


One of the things I love most about Rejoicing Spirits is that it keeps you on your “spiritual” toes. It demands creativity in expressing the Gospel message, in responding to the needs of God’s people, in building the Body of Christ. We never arrive as the Church, and Rejoicing Spirits is ever new in its efforts to respond to God’s calling. Keep learning; keep creating; keep stretching. A recent book I found very helpful is My Body is Not a Prayer Request by Amy Kenny. It sensitizes all of us to the realities and spiritual longings of others. Be encouraged to stay on the growing edge as you serve.

Finally, I love poet Amy Frazey’s delightful recasting of Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. I believe they have a Rejoicing Spirits flavoring:

Blessed be the dreamers,

for they know how to hope.

Blessed be the mothers and fathers,

for they know the value of life.

Blessed be the faithful,

for they know the power of prayer.

Blessed be the wanderers,

for they know the ways of the world.

Blessed be the silent,

for they know how to truly listen.

Blessed be the teachers,

for they know the joy of a child.

Blessed be the lost,

for they know how it feels to be found.

Blessed be the joyful,

for they know the importance of laughter.

Thank you for the privilege of serving through Rejoicing Spirits!

Rejoicing with you,

Pastor Dave