Some Christians have profound testimonies about how God has called them; but, it’s not everyone’s experience. More often, God calls whole communities to big things, not individuals. How can congregations invite members of all ages to embrace God’s call to serve their neighbors?
In this episode, Pastor Kelly Kirby and Lynn Miller from Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY tell the story of how God called their church to step out in faith and start a food ministry. They also discuss the challenges and blessings of running the food pantry during the pandemic, which became an important place of connection for youth and adults alike.
Saint Matthew’s is one of thirteen congregations taking part in Collegeville Institute’s Communities of Calling Initiative. The Communities of Calling Initiative is a five-year program that grants congregations funds to design a new project or enhance existing ministries that help Christians discover and deepen their sense of God’s calling in their lives.
Topics and resources discussed in this episode:
- Opening Scripture references: Saul on the road to Damascus from Acts 9 and Mary’s visit with the angel from Luke 1
- Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church CCI Learnings & Activities
- Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles is a spiritual memoir that inspired the food ministry at Saint Matthew’s
- The Saint Matthew’s food pantry, featured on the Louisville local news
The Rev. Kelly Kirby is the Rector of St. Matthew’s, a creative and hopeful parish in Louisville, Kentucky. Her current projects include Empower West Louisville, a diverse collaboration that strives for racial healing through economic justice and hosts citywide book studies, the 2021 Bingham Fellows Class who is working to create a culture of inclusion in Louisville, and participation in the Collegeville Communities of Calling initiative: a project on how the many callings throughout our lives bring about wholeness in the world. She lives with her loving husband, two brave teenage daughters, a couple of cats, and Walter, a 130 lb. Newfie puppy who crashes through all of the important callings of her life.
- After leaving a big corporate career, Lynn was “waiting for the lightning bolt” from God to show her what to do next. Can you resonate with Lynn’s experience? How do you approach God in times of discernment and transition? What do you hope for from God in these times?
- Pastor Kelly noted that it’s easy to mix up roles and callings. What are some primary roles you take on in your life? Describe how these roles intersect — or don’t intersect — with your callings.
- How is your community cultivating the callings of youth? Are there particular areas of church life—like the food pantry at Saint Matthew’s—that could especially benefit from the leadership of youth?
- Check out resources to explore calling in your congregation on the Communities of Calling Initiative website.
- Read 12 Tiny Things: Simple Ways to Live a More Intentional Life, co-authored by podcast host Ellie Roscher, to cultivate an awareness of your callings in the small, faithful actions of each day.
- Host a Tiny Holy Things for Teens small group series for young people to reflect on and deepen their senses of calling. (There’s one designed for adults, too!)
- Read The Harvest Is Yet to Come, an essay written by J. Jioni Palmer for the Collegeville Institute’s Bearing’s Online, for additional reflection on the call to service.
- Follow the work of the Collegeville Institute on social media at @collegevilleins [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook] and subscribe to our email newsletter.