First, it is with sorrow, that I report to you the death of parishioner Nancy Colton. Nancy died at home Tuesday morning, with her devoted husband Frank, and supportive caregivers, at her side. The Burial Office will be offered graveside on Tuesday, August 30, at 1 p.m. in West Cemetery, Madison; enter from Jannas Lane off the Boston Post Road.
The Prayer Book's service of Morning Prayer will shape Sunday worship on August 28 at both 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Many remember the prayers and canticles of Morning Prayer as having shaped their spirituality; for others, this may be an introduction to parts of the Prayer Book which can aid personal devotions. The full name of the service is "Daily Morning Prayer;" it is indeed a resource for daily prayer. And not just for clergy! I hope you will find, or be reacquainted, with a prayer that expresses what is on your heart.
The news of devastation by floods, fires and earthquakes this week has been heartbreaking. In each case, however, as Mrs. Rogers told her son Fred, "watch for the helpers." In Louisiana, and the far west, in Italy and Myanmar, helpers are showing up in moving ways. If you would like to "show up" for neighbors whose homes have been lost or severely damaged, I encourage you to consider a donation through Episcopal Relief & Development.
Thanks to everyone who supported our Acolytes, and other youth, at their car wash on August 20th! There was a steady stream of cars, and some special donations on Sunday as well, yielding $700 for youth adventures and projects. Special thanks to Acolyte Director (and production organizer!) Sue Shackford, and to Bishops' Orchard Farm Market for hosting.
Speaking of Acolytes, if you know someone entering 4th grade (or higher) who would like to serve as an Acolyte, please speak with Sue Shackford. Acolytes lead us into and through our worship at 10 a.m. and on special occasions. Sue offers thorough training and ongoing support (sometimes involving chocolate!) after Sunday worship and by special arrangement.
From my perspective, Vacation Bible School was a great adventure for all 22 children (as many as 19 on a given day)! Director Laurie Varley led us all through a "Deep Sea Discovery" with stories of Noah, Jonah, Jesus, Peter and Paul. Like them, we all discovered, "God is with us wherever we go!" Music Director Mark Sullivan led us in songs special for each day; some of the singing really raised the rafters! Many thanks to generous parishioners who provided snacks for each day, and "Prayer Journals" for each participant. Be sure and see how wonderful the Parish Hall looks with its "Deep Sea" decorations, and check out the touching V.B.S. "Prayer Flags" flying in the lilac by the Parish House door.
Vacation Bible School has set the stage for a very exciting year for our Sunday School! Be sure and spread the word!
In faith and hope,
p.s. Many thanks to Lay Officiant David Jones and Music Director Mark Sullivan for leading the services of Morning Prayer on Sunday, August 28. Although I'll be "out-of-pocket" that morning, I will be in Guilford this week, not Maryland as previously planned. August Parish Office hours continue this week -- 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
So much for the quiet, hazy days of summer! The Acolytes Car Wash is Saturday; Beach Communion and Potluck Supper is Sunday; and Vacation Bible School starts on Monday!
While out on Saturday errands, please include the Red Barn at Bishops' Orchard Farm Market on your route. The Acolytes, and other helpers -- including YFNR, will be there from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. washing cars. Your donations help fund Acolyte and Youth activities and service projects. In 2016, those activities include the Middle School retreat's Ropes Course at Camp Incarnation, an upcoming Nightwatch at NYC's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and, in October 2017, a return pilgrimage to Washington National Cathedral and the National Acolyte Festival. Recent service projects included sandwich-making for the Chapel on the Green, Loaves & Fishes morning of service, and support for the Diaper Bank.
On the occasion of our July Beach Communion, the forecasted deluge held off until well after Sunday's activities. Let's hope to luck out in the same way this Sunday. The morning services will include the baptism of sweet William Nicholas, who so far has shown the good sense to become totally calm when held by YFNR.
On Sunday evening, a pavilion at Jacob's Beach is reserved for our Communion and Potluck Supper. We'll gather at 5p.m. for a brief, and totally child-friendly, service of Holy Communion, followed by a potluck supper of whatever y'all bring. Paper goods, flatware and beverages will be provided. The forecast kept many of you at home in July, but the Beach was the place to be -- lovely breeze, good company and some delicious food!
Our new Sunday School Directory, Laurie Varley continued to prepare this week for our Vacation Bible School's Deep Sea Discovery! Just walking into the Parish House makes you excited! The adventure starts Monday, August 22, and will continue through Friday, August 26, from 9 a.m. until Noon each day. Fresh approaches to dramatic Bible stories will help us all realize that even when we've gotten ourselves out on a proverbial limb, God is with us wherever we go! There'll be fun crafts, games, music, snacks (thanks to your generosity)...and oh yes, time to play in the Parish Hall yard. You can find more information and registration here; just scroll down to the bottom of the page.
V.B.S. is not just for rising Kindergarten to 5th graders! Youth and adults who would like to get in on the fun are urged to contact Laurie Varley for ways they could be helpful for a day or more.
Please keep in your prayers the people coping with floods in the south and fire in the far west.
In faith and hope,
p.s. My sermon for Sunday, August 14, quoted verses from a hopeful poem by Seamus Heaney. I promised to print the whole poem here:
Human being suffer, / They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard. / No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong / Inflicted or endure.
The innocents in gaols / Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils /Faints at the funeral home.
History says, don't hope / On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime/The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up, / And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore / Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracle / And cures and healing wells.
Call miracle self-healing: / The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling./If there's fire on the mountain
Or ligntning and storm /And a god speaks from the sky
That means someone is hearing / The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
from The Cure at Troy
Thanks to Bishop Porter Taylor for introducing me to this, and many other, terrific poems!
The first question for many of you is, how is Pat? Our Parish Administrator, Pat Wakefield, continues to make good, if arduous, progress with her new knee. Yesterday, she reported that she had even taken a few steps with only a cane -- rather than a walker -- for support. (No need for showing off, Pat!)
While sitting at Pat's desk, some routine purchase decisions have come my way. Two decision have and will show up on the altar. These decisions were guided by the sacramental principle that things ought to look like what they represent. Communion bread should look like bread, and communion wine should be the color of blood. We exhausted our supply of sweet, white communion wine in July. On August, we broke out the new communion wine; it's light, dry and red.
There's an oft-repeated and variously attributed saying about white communion wafers: "I don't have trouble believing they're the Body of Christ. I just can't believe they're bread!" Whole wheat communion wafers are a step closer to "breadness." So, when we have consumed our current supply of white communion wafers, we will begin using whole wheat wafers. The change in color, texture and taste will be obvious.
The church supply houses are finally catching up to the need for communion wafers that are absolutely gluten-free. For people with gluten allergies and full-blown celiac disease, avoiding gluten is not optional! These are on order, and will be separately stored, consecrated and reserved. An announcement will be made when they are available for the asking.
Resist the temptation to wash your car this week! TheAcolytes' Car Wash will be next Saturday, August 20 at the Bishops' Farm Orchard Market Red Barn from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Let's pray for a break in the weather, as our Acolytes, assisted by their parents and other young folks, raise funds for their projects. We have a new generation of Acolytes, and it's time to start planning and saving for a pilgrimage to the National Acolyte Festival at Washington National Cathedral in October 2017.
Excitement is building for Vacation Bible School, which starts Monday, August 22, and will continue through Friday, August 26, from 9 a.m. until Noon each day. "Deep Sea Discovery: God is With Us Wherever We Go," looks like a fun adventure with fresh approaches to dramatic Bible stories, with matching crafts, games, music, ...and oh yes, the all important snacks! You can find more information and registration here; just scroll down to the bottom of the page.
V.B.S. is not just for rising Kindergarten to 5th graders! Youth and adults who would like to get in on the fun are urged to contact Laurie Varley for ways they could be helpful for a day or more. Thanks to volunteers, two day's worth of snacks and the composition notebooks have all been donated; just three days of snacks remain.
In faith and hope,
p.s. In my sermon for August 7, I promised to include in this letter a poem by George Herbert (1593-1633), Anglican parish priest, poet, and theologian. Every phrase describes prayer. Maria, the mother of Pearl (in Pearl, a novel by Mary Gordon), remembers snatches of it as she struggles to comprehend the incomprehensible:
Prayer, the Church's banquet, Angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth;
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tower,
Reverse'd thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-day's world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear:
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well dressed,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
The land of spices; something understood.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!