A Letter from Father Ben Hankinson to
The Faithful of St. Andrew’s
December 24, 2019
Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
- Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. - Revelation 21:3
As I write this letter, we prepare to go once more to Bethlehem to see the great mystery of the Incarnation in the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The season of Advent has helped us prepare to faithfully approach the humble manger of our Lord’s birth, and so we joyfully enter in together.
It is in these last moments of joyous anticipation of the great festival of Christmas that I share with you my own hopeful expectation for the season of ministry which will shortly be before us. I will be using the days ahead to prepare for the new beginning which we will soon share, and I invite you to join me. Preparation will come in many shapes and sizes, and in particular I draw our collective attention to that most vital component: prayer.
I ask for prayers for Trinity, Mt. Vernon, as they enter into their own season of discernment. Having gone through this process, we are acutely aware of the thoughts, feelings, and concerns which they carry with them at this time. May God’s grace guide us to a peaceful end to our ministry together and provide hope in this time of looking forward in faith and expectation.
I also humbly ask prayers for myself. The days ahead will see the process of moving progress into a frenzy, and it is my hope that God will enable me to see his hand at work in the midst of this transition so that I may end my time at Trinity well in order that I may begin our time together from a place of peace and of health. Also, please pray for the temporal affairs of this transition, that all of the pieces may come together in God’s perfect timing.
Next, I ask your prayers for St. Andrew’s, beginning with prayers of thanksgiving for the many people who contributed to our coming together: to Kevin and the members of the search committee for shepherding this process; to Liz and the Mission Leadership Team for their faithful leadership; and to Fr. Thorpe and Fr. Pence for their pastoral ministry throughout this transition.
I also ask your prayers for all of us. As with any new relationship, it will take time for us to know, trust, and love one another. I pray that we may faithfully enter that time with patience, humility, and an abiding hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In that hope, I invite us to each open our minds and hearts to the movement of the Holy Spirit that we may consider well what God has in store for us. Ask the Lord what the season ahead holds for us personally and for the corporate life of St. Andrew’s.
Finally, let us offer thanks to God. The Lord has brought us together and is already at work in us to bring about his ministry in Edwardsville and beyond. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us also be faithful in the work he has given us to do, so that we may show forth his glory now, in the days ahead, and until his triumphant return.
I look forward to being with you soon as we meet together on the great feast of the Lord’s Presentation on February 2. Until then, Merry Christmas to you all and God’s blessings on you and yours.