All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island, SC
February 1, 2007
From Dreams to Reality
Over the last two years a dream has been floating around All Saints, known to some, as "Haysom's Dream." Envisaged first by Greg Haysom, at the time a member of the vestry (sadly, he died while cruising in South, America), the dream was an ambitious attempt to link All Saints with the educational needs of several worthy students in the Jasper County School system -- the kind of dream that was so vivid and exciting that Greg dared to dream big. The dream was notable largely because it centered upon the needs of strangers (in this case high school students), a parish family in another county, and the distinct possibility that we can change the lives of a few rather than walking away from a problem because we can't address all the needs for all the students. The dream, yet unfulfilled, dared to bring together various talents, resources beyond our' means, with students undereducated and a school system featured in the documentary entitled "Corridors of Shame." It is a dream worth some reflection.
How many dreams are out there, waiting? How many dreams do we have as a parish family that are quietly forgotten because they are so outrageous, or seem to demand more than we can deliver in the cold harsh reality of daylight? If silence is God's first language, maybe dreams are a form of the spoken word of God to our unconscious, giving images, musings that hang around and often accompany out conscious lives. Parishes are often so structured that dreams and people with dreams are politely pushed to the side for no other reason than that we have no mechanism to incorporate dreams in parish life.
I once observed a non-denominational parish in Washington DC area who took seriously dreams and people with dreams, and who incorporated that reality into the life of this unusual parish. It was a parish of only one hundred people, and each person pledged to be active in the ministry of the parish. They came together for worship, were intentional about corporate prayer, and vowed to influence and involve themselves in the world about them. When one person had an idea, or a dream, or a ministry they wanted to begin, they first took it to the congregation during their worship on Sunday. They would simply stand up express their dream, even in rudimentary ways, and ask if three other members of the parish would commit with them to pray and give definition to the dream. With only one hundred people, this ministry exploded outwardly from a small committed church to the wider world. This parish was not for the timid or faint hearted. It expected people to take seriously their faith and the dreams that inhabit people of faith. They dare to accomplish the outrageous and they are willing to test the dreams that God grants us in this life.
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