On Memorial Day, the Guilford High School Voices will offer a joint choral concert with the select choirs of Ledyard High School at 4 p.m.. Given the excellent acoustics of Christ Church, Voices' director Kevin Buno said our nave was the first choice for this event. Several Christ Church young people are among the Voices, including a graduating senior or two; so this Memorial Day concert is a special opportunity to hear some great ensemble singing.
A profound bow of gratitude to our Sunday School children, youth readers and their directors, Miss Laurie and Mr. Sullivan, on last Sunday's effective telling ot the Pentecost story.. The children sang their parts with spirited conviction; the readers did not balk on the challenges of place names like Cappadocia, Pamphylia and Phrygia, and the congregation sounded off the concerns of those who gathered in Jerusalem on that first day of Pentecost -- "What does this mean?" and, "They are filled with new wine!" -- with the appointed gestures. It was a day to dream dreams and see visions again, just as St. Peter said, all those years ago.
As part of our observance of the Pentecost weekend, Jennifer Huebner and I were honored to present Christ Church's candidates for Confirmation at Camp Washington on Saturday, May 19. As you may recall, it was a damp and foggy day, but all nine of our candidates, and their family members, joined the other 46 candidates and their families from other parishes for the service in Kenyon Hall. In a message to the newly confirmed and their families, I wrote, "You adapted creatively to the situation; a sure sign of letting the Holy Spirit take charge. I hope you’ll hold onto what Bishop Laura had to say about breathing in God’s Spirit, and then breathing it out to share God’s love in tangible ways in your daily lives. Also hope you remember the experience of Bishop Laura’s hands on your heads as she prayed for each of you:
Strengthen, O Lord, your servant, …, with your Holy Spirit,
empower them for your service; and
sustain them all the days of their lives. Amen.
Please join me in thanking Jennifer Huebner for her assistance in leading our Monday evening confirmation discussions, and chaperoning youth participation in Chapel on the Green, The Big Sleep Out, Nightwatch/NYC Overnight, and Dinner with our Bishops! I think Jennifer was as proud of Alex, Hannah, Lauren, Keelyn, Matthew, Megan, Michael, Olivia, and Sabrina as any of the proud parents!
As appropriate for Pentecost, we received an update on what the Holy Spirit is up to in Malawi during Coffee Hour. Seminarian Derek Stefanovsky returned with news about the mission and work of St. Peter's School and Anglican Cathedral on Likoma Island in Lake Malawi, and challenges of providing education, health care and spiritual care in the Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi. As requested, Derek has developed a secure and accountable means of putting gifts to their appointed use. Please look on the Ushers' Table and in the Parish Hal for the description sheets he provided.
Many conversations this week included favorite moments from last Saturday's Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. There were certainly many such for me, but right up there with the look of open-mouthed delight on the face of one of the Mulroney twins at the sound of the herald trumpet, was the sermon by +Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal News Service has provided two ways to watch the sermon, as well as its text here. Bishop Michael's inspiring message about the unselfish, sacrificial "Way of Love" to redeem and transform "this tired old world" seemed to catch many by surprise. Many of us who have heard him preach before were thrilled, but not surprised. He certainly made the rounds of morning television. Here he is on ABC, the View, and NBC. One of the breakout moments in any interview, surely came from +Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, when he threw up his hands to a question about the wedding being unconventional: "There's nothing conventional about Christianity!" replied the Archbishop. That was part of a SKY news interview following the wedding; you can see it here.
Wherever you are this Memorial Day weekend, let us all take time to remember and give thanks "for those who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy..." (For Heroic Service, BCP, p. 839) On Sunday, we will sing of
"...heroes proved in liberating strife,
who more than self, their country loved,
and mercy more than life!"
In faith, hope and love,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!