There are many signs of change in and around St. Anthony’s these days. Despite winter’s efforts to reassert itself earlier in the week, signs of spring are everywhere: flowers are shooting up in the gardens, buds are bursting forth on the trees, and the grass is growing greener and longer each day.
Another sign of change is the progress JustBob and his guys are making with spring clean-up. Tree branches are being turned into mulch; tree trunks are being cut into sections for milling and stacked at the edge of the parking lot; and the hum of leaf blowers and lawn mowers fill the air.
Then there is the change to our sign in front. It has been more than 400 days since our sign last said “welcome”. Even though we have welcomed guests for many of those four hundred days, since March 17, 2020 our sign has carried some variation of a message about our grounds being closed to the public for the safety of our residents and guests.
Today we changed the sign in order to welcome our presenters and guests for our first evening program in over a year. For the first in this year’s Know Your Faith series, we had two presenters and eleven guests join us in person for the presentation. In prior years, that would be about average turnout for one of these evenings. But this year, it just feels like a sign of change, a sign of hope.
But the most incredible change is that tonight we also welcomed another 35 participants to the Know Your Faith presentation via Zoom. Our new video and audio equipment (thanks to the FSPA grant) made it possible to share this wonderful presentation with folks from all over the state. The change in our technological capacity and the willingness of people to change their attitudes toward virtual programming greatly expands the reach of our ministry. If our experiment recording the session works as well as we hope, we will be able to share it with others who were not able to join us tonight.
Even though we often resist change, there are other times when we welcome change, because there are times when change brings hope. We welcome the change from winter to spring, even the change from spring to summer. After so many weeks and months when life seemed to stagnate, we were able to embrace changes like virtual gatherings as well as the limitations of in-person gatherings.
For all the changes in our lives and all the hope they bring, we say Deo Gratias!