“New Year, New challenges” – The Rev. Leonard Oakes

New Year’s Vicar’s ┬áMessage
January 3, 2016
I greet you all with a Happy New Year!

Although I spent my time in bed beginning on New Year’s Eve, I hope you had a wonderful time with yourself, your family and friends welcoming the New Year with Positive Thoughts and resolutions.

Year 2016 promises us at Holy Child and St. Martin with a very prosperous and wonderful year to celebrate as a community. It promises us new ideas, improved leadership on both Lay and Clergy, and renew our relationship with God, ourselves, our community and the rest of God’s creation around us.

Let us begin the year with a challenge that requires positive attitudes for the greater glory of God. Let us challenge ourselves with a goal to accomplish these challenges:

First, I challenge you all to step up and be leaders beginning today. The task of the Church is not to maintain it but to propagate the Good News of God by raising good leaders and that all members will participate in the various tasks ahead. I thank all those who have already stepped up for they have advanced our ship to the path God wants us to be. But it is not enough that only few are doing such work. We need a collaborative energy to accomplish all things. I encourage you to pray that the Holy Spirit will touch and ignite the gifts that are in you and let them shine.

Secondly, I challenge all the leaders of the various ministries in this Church to open wide the door for all to have a part of. There’s indeed plenty good rooms in the glory train. I challenge the Men’s Group to continue what you have started and plan to make your programs better.
I challenge the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) to welcome new leaders to move your bus forward. We have a lot of young mothers who are full of talents and enthusiasms. Encourage them and let them lead the way. I encourage the young mothers and singles all to step up and maintain your respect to those who have been there, but be resolved that what you have to bring is to glorify God. I challenge all the Youth in this Church. You may have many extracurricular activities in school and have even accepted works to help your tuition and other expenses, but let me remind you not to slowly drift into the unknown where God is only a second choice for you and that you only need God when you are in trouble. So many things take us away from our giving back to God. Make it a point that you give back to God and the community. Better is a one day in your house than thousand elsewhere says the lord. We have opportunities for you to reach out to the poor and the needy if you only find time to be part of them. We don’t want you to lose your way and find yourselves into oblivion where emptiness and depression will enfold you and corrupt your Godly mind. As your Vicar and Pastor, I pray what your parents pray, that you will someday become a successful persons with a happy family of your own. I thank the Seniors for what you are currently doing, but I challenge you to widen you tent and be inclusive. Make it a point where you can go out for a lunch or dinner sometime and get reconnected. I ask you to help us guide our young ones. You have been there and you have so much to contribute with your wisdom.

Lastly, I thank all the pledgers and donors that benefit our church programs and administration. Without you and without God touching your hearts to give, we would not be able to get to where we are going. I continue to pray that your hearts will be filled with the Love of God because you care. I thank all the Clergy that God sent in our midst. God knows our needs and so He keeps sending us Angels, to lighten our burden and to share our care to all. I also thank all the volunteers who have given and continue to give their time and talents to move our various programs forward. May each day and moment you give serves as your prayer and thanksgiving to God who gave you life and the reason to live. I also thank all our community partners and the Diocese of California for the guidance, collaboration and support they provide to keep us all woven as a beautiful tapestry of God.

And finally, my family and I would like to thank you all for the love and the care you so continuously share to us for all these years. I can only magine 18 years ago when God sent us here to part of this wonderful family, and the 7 years that God called me to serve HCSM as your Vicar. God indeed is with us! Thanks be to God! To God be the glory, forever! Amen.

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