“My theology: Being created in the image of God means we are created for mission. Simple as that.” So says Lauren Stanley in the self-introduction on her blog, which is titled “Go Into the World.” True to form, Lauren, an Episcopal priest, is living that out yet again, this time to serve on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, where her first services at six congregations will happen tomorrow – Sunday, Feb. 17.
Here’s Lauren’s Jan. 19 e-letter announcing the move:
I am honored, delighted and humbled to announce that I have accepted the call to serve as Priest-in-Charge of the Rosebud West Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota!
I will begin my new ministry there on the first Sunday in Lent, 17 February.
There are six congregations on the Rosebud that I will be serving, some pretty small, but all strong in their desires to remain “church,” to worship God and to serve God’s people.
I will be living in the small town of Mission, S.D., in the rectory known as the Barber House, where clergy and church superintendents have lived for, I believe, more than 100 years. My nephew, Trevor Zack, and I will pack up a truck (I don’t have a slew of stuff) and drive out there 8-12 Feb.
My ministry will be to nourish and strengthen God’s people so that together, we can do all that God is calling us to do among God’s beloved children. (Does that sound vague to some of you? That’s because it is … meaning, we will develop the ministry as we go along. There will be Youth Ministry, Ministry to the Homebound, Ministry to Children, worship services, healing services, teaching, playing, serving, hosting mission groups from around the United States … in other words, enough to keep all of us busy).
There is an Intentional Young Adult Community in Mission, jointly sponsored with the Lutheran Church (ELCA), with two great young adults, Kieran and Mikayla, already in residence. They were my hosts during my five-day visit last week and this, and are wonderful, inspired young people.
While I was out there, I bonded with the people, with the lay leaders, with the Diocesan folks, with the children (there’s a little 18-month-old boy, Brian, who already has celebrated the Eucharist in my arms), and with the grandmothers (I’m going to have many of them). The landscape is rolling hills, with a raw, stark beauty. (And yes, I am well aware that it is cold there, and that there aren’t a lot of trees. But there are SOME trees, and I can learn to adapt to the weather again. I just have to buy LOTS of cold-weather clothing!!)
I know that this is the place to which God is calling me, because God spent all five of my days there telling me that, in every way possible.
When I have new contact information, I will let you know. Until then, my phone number, e-mail and web page remain the same.
Celebrate with me!!!
The Rev. Lauren R. Stanley
Episcopal Priest & Missionary
My wife Jane and I first got to know Lauren at an orientation for outgoing Episcopal missionaries that Jane organized as Mission Personnel Officer for the Episcopal Church. The gathering was held at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. It was a marvelous group of about 20 men and women of all ages with a wealth of personal experience and expertise, most of them lay and some ordained, headed out to a wide variety of ministries around the world.
Lauren was a vivid person for all of us. She had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya and now was headed for Juba, Sudan, where she would be teaching in a Bible College. Her stories, energy, humor and fearlessness were memorable. Most remarkable about Lauren, though, is her vision and commitment to mission. When she says we’re created for mission she truly means it.
We’ve kept in touch over the years, which have included the time in Sudan, followed by more mission service in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake. We rejoice in Lauren’s response to this new call and to her continuing service as a missionary. We pray her well.