Today is Serve Sunday! At the end of our liturgies this morning, we will be commissioned and sent out into the surrounding community as teams, not only to serve our neighbors but also to listen to them. There will even be opportunities between the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Choral Eucharists to serve right here on Palmer’s campus, including kid-friendly ones that families can do together. It’s an invitation to be the church in the world around us. After all, this place is not a destination in a life of faith but a starting point as we are sent out in the name of Christ.
This morning we also welcome as our guest preacher the Rev. Canon Nicholas Porter, who is the Executive Director of Jerusalem Peacebuilders. Palmer’s own Stuart Kensinger is a co-founder of Jerusalem Peacebuilders, which is “an interfaith non-profit organization with the mission of creating a better future for humanity across religions, cultures, and nationalities.” They bring together Jewish, Christian, and Muslim youth and adults from the Holy Land and from the United States, “providing them with the opportunities and skills they need to become future leaders for peace in the global community.” One manifestation of that mission is a summer program at Camp Allen, which is the camp and conference center for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. As I mentioned in my remarks to the congregation on the day of our annual parish meeting, there will soon be an official office for Jerusalem Peacebuilders at Palmer to help coordinate their work in Houston. As we partner with them, I invite your prayers for this ministry of reconciliation that we share together as followers of the Prince of Peace.