I have just arrived home from Convention, and given the weather and traffic, I'm particularly grateful to have arrived safe and sound. So, giving thanks is top of the agenda:
Although I don't need to remind you that we celebrate the Great Thanksgiving every Sunday, our National Day of Thanksgiving approaches this week. I invite you to consider participating in local celebrations:
This year's Interfaith Thanks + Giving Service will be Sunday, November 19 at 4 p.m., hosted by St. George Church (the brick church across the Green), and led by the Choirs of the participating houses of worship in Guilford and Madison -- including our own! This year's theme -- Giving Thanks for Hope in Uncertain Times, grew out of our clergy fellowship's reflections on where we find ourselves -- people of hope, praying and seeking ways to meaningfully respond to the unceasing scourge of gun violence. We have signed a statement that you can find on page 17 of this week's Guilford Courier, and here. And, we invited the head of Newtown's Resiliency Center, Stephanie Cinque to introduce us to the Center's encouraging work in troubled times.
Our own celebration of Thanksgiving Day, on Thursday, November 23 at 10 a.m., will include the great hymns of the day, and invite us to participate in the Episcopal Church's lovely Thanksgiving Day prayers. As has become my practice, instead of preaching a Thanksgiving Day sermon, I will remind us all of an historic presidential Thanksgiving Day proclamation. I hope the 10 a.m. time allows you to take a break from your meal preparations, to join in an hour of worship, and stop in the Rectory for a bit of refreshment.
As noted above, the 233rd Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut concluded in Greenwich mid-afternoon today. Please join me in thanking our delegates Caroline Herrick and George Kral, and our Alternate Susan Pogue in representing Christ Church among the 300+ lay folks and clergy who took counsel for the well-being of the Church. Although I doubt we did anything that will garner attention in the secular news media, we did the necessary business of adopting a budget, and electing officers, while considering resolutions that will effect our common diocesan life and perhaps the considerations of the Church's upcoming General Convention. All this work was accomplished on time and according to a schedule framed in prayer. In addition to prayers, a sermon, an address, and the Holy Eucharist offered by Bishop Laura Ahrens and Bishop Ian Douglas, our time together was enriched by the reflections and guided meditations of spiritual guides from The House of Bethany based in Arlington, Mass. Although our delegates will be sharing their own reports, you can find out what the Convention did Friday afternoon into the early evening, and beginning at 8:30 this morning, here.
As a creative response to last summer's racist graffiti-vandalism in Guilford, the Guilford Foundation acted as a catalyst for a community conversation called "Building a Community of Compassion." Sixty-five folks who live and work in Guilford gathered in the Greene Community Center on Sunday afternoon, November 12, for a structured conversation facilitated by leaders from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The participants represented a broad cross-section of the Town's leadership and residents, and some of what was said was painful to hear: Not everyone has felt welcome in Guilford; indeed, some of our neighbors have experienced hostility and abuse. Across Connecticut, incidents of Hate Speech and Violence have doubled within the last year. Susan Leonard and I represented Christ Church; we will have more to share in the days to come about the "next steps" suggested in a concluding small group exercise.
In the meantime, I look forward to sharing all our occasions of Thanksgiving with you!
In faith and hope,
p.s. Estimate of Giving Cards continue to come into the parish office; and there are some yet to be received. If you have misplaced yours, or otherwise need a fresh one, please reply to this e-letter or leave a voice mail message at 203-453-2279. Many thanks to the 3/4s of parish households who have responded to date! In a parish like ours, the final quarter's Estimates of Giving are just as important.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!