Gretchen and I took just two minutes to drive to this Sunday’s visitation – Trinity Church, Portland. Still we managed to drive in the exit of the parking lot and miss the sign and parking space designated for us… We’ll get the right entrance next time.
Sunday was the first Sunday of the month and, therefore, a Sunday morning for breakfast at Trinity. Lots of folks pitched up for breakfast and a question and answer period. The questions covered a wide range of subjects including stresses in the Anglican Communion and the use of Facebook and other web-based programs for ministry.
Following breakfast I met briefly with two persons being received into the Episcopal Church and then we all joined for a festive celebration of the Eucharist. A bishop’s visit in Lent brings an interesting convergence of themes and readings to the day. But, since it’s always Easter on a Sunday, we managed just fine.
Trinity Church was originally founded as a Sunday School for railroad workers and congregationalists. The original church was built in the Gothic style. The new church, built in the sixties, added a large worship space at right angles to the old, combining both old and new into one unified space. Trinity has long prided itself on it’s Morning Prayer traditions and still offers Morning Prayer as the Liturgy of the Word twice a month.
Following worship and brief reception, when the Church School presented me with a picture and a sweatshirt, I met with Vestry for a challenging and exciting hour. The first question asked had to do with how the church would survive after the Baby-Boomers are gone. We talked about the rapid growth of the Episcopal Church in the decades after World War II, the building boom that followed, and the decline of the last decade. Things have changed a lot, but we still tend to do business as if it were 1955. Today requires flexibility and a willingness to try new things. Trinity is well suited for such experiments being close to USM, many community services, and right on one of Portland’s main streets. A small Sudanese congregation is developing as well. The present recession is also creating pressure to collaborate with other congregations and to find ways to share and reduce expenses. There are no easy answers, but there are certainly a lot of possibilities.
The morning ended with a conversation with the rector, Larry Weeks, about his perceptions of the next steps for ministry at Trinity. As Gretchen and I left the first flakes of the next major snow storm were falling. But it was just two minutes to home.