Our costumed talent show, otherwise known as the Halloween Howler, will be this Saturday, October 28 at 4 p.m. All musicians, dancers, joke-tellers, sorcerers, ghosts and super heroes, who have yet to contact Music (and Howler) Director Mark Sullivan, please send him a quick email -- MarkCEC@snet.net. Feel free to invite friends to perform with you! Costumes are encouraged for audience members, as well as performers. The now-traditional audience-participation Halloween song will conclude the event.
If Halloween is approaching, then so is the Town's Spooktacular Trunk or Treat event scheduled for Park Street on Sunday, October 29, between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday School Director Laurie Varley is organizing our participation, and would welcome your help; let's hope the weatherman doesn't scare the event indoors to the Community Center. The daytime ECW is providing a boatload of candy! Thanks so much!
If Halloween is approaching, then it is good for us to recall that the origin of "Halloween" is "All Hallows' Eve" (or Even -- drop the "v" and you get "-een"), or the Eve of All Saints' Day. Although Martin Luther wasn't the only cleric talking reform in 1517, and although he had previously posted "99 Theses" on the door of Wittenberg's All Saints' Cathedral, the "95 Theses" disputing the sale of indulgences posted on All Saints' Eve, October 31, 1517, began the movement called "The Reformation." Why the church door? It was the "bulletin board" for Wittenberg University which Luther served as professor of biblical theology. Why All Saints' Eve? All Saints' Cathedral was filled with an enormous collection of relics of the saints; the church's medieval theology taught that the faithful, being truly sorry for their sins, could view these relics as part of their penance and receive absolution on All Saints' Day.
I trust there will be no posting on the doors of Christ Church this Reformation Sunday, but there will be some special music by Bach, Pachelbel and Tallis. Kayla Bryan will perform a violin prelude, and the offertory anthem will be accompanied by Kayla, James Crossley, Mariam Kish, Gabby Perea, Natalia Perez, and Olivia Ste. Marie,
All Saints' Day, November 1, is Wednesday. We will observe our Recollection of All the Faithful Departed that evening, at 6 p.m.. We will gather in the chancel to recall those who have died and now rejoice with us at the other end of the messianic banquet table. There will be time for prayers, shared memories of the departed, silence, closing prayers, and a blessing.
We will observe All Saints' Sunday on November 5. As part of our worship, we will name those who now abide "in a brighter light, and on another shore," So that friends and family members who died within the past year (or so) are accurately included, please use a pew card, voice mail or email to provide the correct spelling.
Last Sunday's Consecration Sunday event was pretty terrific! Thanks go the terrific team led by Senior Warden Rose Robinson, and former SW Pat Daunic; speakers Bobbi Stuart, Sudie Danaher, and Bob McNamara; lunch coordinators Bob Donahue & Michael D'Agostino; caterers Debbie & Antonio Greco; the Vestry, and many helpers, including Carol Iovanna, Jennifer Huebner, Kay Claiborn, Lois Sawtell, Dennis Burke, James and Jonathan Brunetti. Thanks to them, and to all the middle and high school youth who pitched in to help with serving and clean-up!
Letters are in the mail to those who couldn't join in last Sunday's festivities. Please take a moment to ask the Consecration Sunday question -- "What portion of my weekly income is God calling me to give in 2018?" Then, please return your Estimate of Giving card, as soon as you can;
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
p.s. On November 2, 2017, the public is invited to join Adams Middle School 8th grade students, the Witness Stones Committee, and community leaders on the Guilford Green at 9:30 am for the inaugural ceremony commemorating the installation of the first Witness Stones in Guilford.
The first three stones will give witness to the lives of Moses, Phillis and Candace, three enslaved African-Americans who lived and worked at the Hyland House, and on the property on which the Town Hall, Christ Church, the rectory, and Guilford Savings Bank now stand.
Learn about the Witness Stones Project here.
Because of the Ceremony on the Green, Thursday morning's Bible Study will not meet. Hope to see you on the Green!
Consecration Sunday is just days away! In recent weeks, we have heard from fellow parishioners, Bobbi Stuart, Sudie Danaher, and Bob McNamara, about how they've experienced God's blessings, their gratitude for the opportunities to share in the life of this community, and the anchor the life of faith provides for their lives; all these shape their giving in general, and to God's Mission through Christ Church, in particular. This Sunday, Consecration Sunday, our guest leader, will invite us to a similar prayerful consideration, and to respond to the spiritual question, "What portion of my weekly income is God calling me to give in 2018?"
At the conclusion of Sunday's worship, we will enter into a time of quiet reflection, with inspiration from the organ at both 8 and 10 a.m. services (thank you, Mark Sullivan!), and be invited to complete an "Estimate of Giving Card." The Consecration Sunday stewardship education program moves away from the term "pledge card," to what this has always been -- a faithful and prayerful estimate of giving for the coming year. After completing a card, worshipers will be invited to offer their card on the altar, and then to move on to the Parish Hall for our Celebration lunch; worshipers from the 8 a.m. service will be returning to join the Celebration! This is a catered lunch; we are not asked to bring a thing -- just ourselves!
Our guest leader will be the Rev. Patricia Hames, who had a long and fruitful ministry with St. Mark's Church, New Britain, more recently served St. Ann's Church, Old Lyme, and is a member of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross. While Pat+ was rector, St. Mark's adopted the Consecration Sunday process; so we have an experienced and faithful -- as well as good humored -- guest leader.
As you may recall, our Sunday School decided last spring to send the proceeds of its Haiti Fundraisers to a new school and church in the little town of Matel, Haiti. This September, St. Luke School, Matel, opened in a makeshift structure while a flexible and permanent building is under construction. This week we received a link to a brief video progress report. You can watch the YouTube video here. Be sure to have a clean handkerchief or Kleenex nearby; I just watched it again, and still had to dry my eyes
Calling all musicians, dancers, joke-tellers, sorcerers, ghosts and super heroes, please get your act together for the Halloween Howler, Saturday, October 28 at 4 p.m. Feel free to invite friends to perform with you! Costumes are encouraged! Music Director Mark Sullivan will coordinate the event. Need an accompaniest? Mark Sullivan is your man. Speak to him after worship, or contact him via MarkCEC@snet.net.
The speed and scope of the California wildfires in the Napa and Sonoma valleys overwhelm the imagination. Episcopal Relief & Development is, and will be, on-the-ground throughout the relief and restoration responses to this mind-boggling disaster. Read about the work that's underway here.
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
p.s. Last I heard, Saturday's Habitat Build project involved only painting. And, folks at all painting skill-levels were welcome. Senior Warden Rose Robinson is coordinating Christ Church participation.
The Guilford Performing Arts Festival opens today, Thursday, October 12! There'll be all sorts of performances all over Town! At 7 p.m. this evening, Christ Church will host the Guilford High School Voices and the Jazz Ensemble. The Voices are always amazing (be sure to look for familiar, Christ Church, faces), and, in my experience, even folks who are indifferent to jazz, are delighted by the Jazz Ensemble.
If you're in the mood for something more macabre at 7 p.m. this evening, our own Julie Harris will be singing about fall, ghosts and goblins with selections from the American song book, accompanied by Stephen Roane, in The Marketplace at the Guilford Food Center.
On Saturday, "Another Octave," an ensemble drawn from the Connecticut Women's Chorus will perform choral standards from Broadway to Gospel, from jazz to pop, at 4 p.m. in the Christ Church nave.
Our Sunday Formation programs for all ages resume Sunday, October 15, following last Sunday's break.
The Rectory Forum continues to discuss The Misunderstood Jew: The Church & the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, after the 8 a.m. service in the rectory over coffee and tea.
Children's Chapel Time with Sunday School Director Laurie Varley begins at 9:30 a.m. at the foot of the Sunday School steps.
Sunday School for Kindergarten through 5th grade begins at 10 a.m. and concludes with Music Time with Music Director Mark Sullivan; the Sunday School then joins the 10 a.m. congregation at the Peace.
The Middle School Group meets at 10 a.m. with Page Pelphrey in their own space (the former Nursery);
The HIgh School Group is moving to the former Middle School Room to meet at 10 a.m. with our seminary-intern Graham Marsh; High Schoolers can even "sneak in" through the back yard gates and the back door! (But you didn't hear it from me!)
Middle and High School Groups also join the 10 a.m. congregation at the Peace.
Consecration Sunday is approaching! Please plan to participate in worship on Sunday, October 22, to hear a special Consecration Sunday message from our guest leader, the Rev. Patricia Hames, and to join in the Celebration luncheon following the 10 a.m. service. This is a catered lunch for parishioners of all ages; so please help the organizers, by letting them know for how many adults and children they need to prepare. You can do that -- and avoid a telephone call -- by returning a reservation card.
Our Sunday morning and Tuesday evening discussions of The Misunderstood Jew, have moved through a long introduction and two chapters-- with more detail than some of us thought necessary -- to make two important points:
1) Jesus was a Jew, born to Jewish parents and circumcised on the eighth day, Jesus spoke like a Jew, ate like a Jew, dressed like a Jew ("fringes of his garment" being mistranslated as "hem), told parables like a Jew (admittedly taking this storytelling method to new heights), and prayed like a Jew (the Lord's Prayer is a thoroughly Jewish prayer). This may come as a bit of a shock to those of us who worship in front of stained glass window depicting Jesus as thoroughly northern European in dress and appearance.
2) In the generation following Pentecost, three Jewish men led the transition of a Jewish sect into the early Christian community composed mostly of non-Jewish people, i.e. Gentiles -- people of the (other) nations. Those men were Peter, Paul and James: Peter led the proclamation of the Gospel among Jews -- many of whom took the Gospel with them to synagogues throughout the Roman Empire. Paul led the mission to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles -- people of the other nations, taking the Gospel far beyond Judea to Asia Minor (Turkey), Macedonia, Greece and to Rome. James the Just, the brother of our Lord and leader of the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem and Judea, chaired the council that decided that Gentiles were not required to become Jews. i.e. to obey all that was expected of pious observant Jews, to become members of the community that followed Jesus.
When we read the Bible, it is important to remember that, "we are reading someone else's mail." We are reading literature in translation across languages and cultures. Although the New Testament may appear to be anti-Jewish, these passages actually invite us to read more deeply and thoughtfully. And that's what we'll be investigating in Chapter Three.
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
Hope, Prayers, Hiking & Communion: All appropriate responses to the sorrow of this past week. Prayer undergirds all that we do. Here's a Prayer for us and for Las Vegas, courtesy of Washington National Cathedral:
Almighty God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we pray, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; comfort the injured and all whose lives have been forever changed by the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. Grant to the slain, eternal rest with you, and may all who mourn know the consolation of your love.
We also pray for an end to gun violence in our land that our homes, schools and neighborhoods may become places of safety for all. All this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
There's been quite a bit of talk about the expression, "... our thoughts and prayers are with you." Here's what I believe. I believe that Archbishop William Temple was speaking the truth when he said, "prayer adds to the sum total of love in the world." I also believe the truth of the Church's ancient maxim, that "praying shapes believing," and that what we believe shapes how we live and what we do. Authentic prayer leads to steadfast concern for the well-being of others, which leads to caring action.
In this light, I see the daytime ECW's sponsored workshop, "Bottles of Hope," as enacted prayer. The workshop will be Saturday, October 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to make two polymer clay bottles -- one to keep and one to send to a cancer patient with a message of hope. There is no charge, but check with Diane Link about availability.
Also on Saturday, two of our neighboring congregations, St. George Church and the Shoreline Vineyard Church (they meet on Sundays in the Greene Community Center), will be offering Healing Prayers on the Green, between Noon and 2 p.m. If you would like a couple of people to pray with you for healing of a wound you bear (physical, emotional, spiritual ...), there'll be several kind people available to do so.
Our Worship on Sunday will begin a bit differently. For "... times of national anxiety, or ... of disaster," the Prayer Book provides "The Supplication" p. 154. These are surely such times; so, after a silent procession, we will pray The Supplication together. Then, instead of an upbeat Hymn of Praise, we will continue with a more somber Kyrie, "Lord, have mercy," at 10 a.m., and the full traditional text of Psalm 95, the Venite, at 8 a.m. Elsewhere, the Prayer Book counsels us to pray, "Give us grace to lay seriously to heart, the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions." I hope our prayers will help us do that.
On Monday, we are invited to join a South Central Region Walking Eucharist in East Rock Park. With parking in the Eli Whitney Museum lot, the walk and worship will begin at the covered bridge at 3 p.m., and continue on moderate-easy trails. The hike and Eucharist will be led by our South Central Region Missionary Rachel Field+, and Zion Church's (North Branford) Lucy LaRocca+
On Thursday, I was honored to attend the New Haven premiere of "The Sultan & the Saint," a documentary about a little known, weeks-long encounter between the Sultan of Egypt and St. Francis of Assisi. The Sultan's papers have only recently been translated into English, and by one of the documentaries sources; so, we now have access to his appreciation of St. Francis. Franciscan historians show how this encounter also shaped Francis's writings on prayer and the order which bears his name. Unfortunately, St. Francis died five years later, convinced his efforts ended in failure, but the encounter actually contributed to ending the Crusades.
The Sultan & the Saint will be shown on PBS on December 26 (Don't worry, I'll remind you!) The producers encourage viewing parties. Perhaps we could have one here? To see the trailer, and learn more, please click here. Seeing this documentary was a hopeful moment for me in a somber week.
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
p.s. The sad plight of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands remained in the news this week. The latest updates from Episcopal Relief and Development can be found here. Please consider contributing to relief efforts here.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!