The word “English” in the original name of our congregation shows a determination on the part of the founders to give up previous language barriers of Germanic and Scandinavian heritages and immerse themselves into the language of the USA, and thereby its culture. This was a risky thing for the founders to do. Leaving comfort zones and taking on new expressions of living aren’t always easy things to do. They were bold to make a new beginning and to see a future that directly connected itself with their present location.
The question for the church is, “Do we intend to continue to ‘speak the language’ of the people who form the community of St. Paul’s parish?” The continuing challenge for the church’s relevancy is to immerse ourselves in our environment. It’s a risky proposition to stay in touch with our neighbors and our culture, but it is the authentic way of sharing the love of God with others. As witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his life-giving love, let us renew ourselves in the commitment to speak the love of Christ in the “English” of our culture through word and deed, and through meaningful outreach.