Looks like we will have perfect weather for the annual Blessing of the Animals in Honor of St. Francis, Saturday, September 30! Please bring the creatures who bless your lives to the Green with you on leash, in crate, or in photo-form. We will again gather with our neighbors from First Congregational Church and St. George Church and all their friendly creatures at 10 a.m. Please note the time change: we'll gather at 10 a.m.! I think St. Francis would be pleased that we gather as fellow creatures to give thanks for the wonder of Creation.
The CROP Walk is this Sunday! We'll meet on The Green at 1:30 p.m. There are several ways to participate -- by walking, by contributing, or both! However you choose to participate, you'll be helping to end hunger "one step at a time." Funds go to relieve the food insecurity of local neighbors, and to support projects to enable basic agriculture throughout the world:
Sign-up to do the walk on Guilford sidewalks by going to the Shoreline CT page and click on "Register" on the right side of the page;
You can support our marchers by making an on-line donation; go to our Christ Church Team page, and click on "Donate."
Or, you can sign-up and/or make a donation, Sunday, on The Green. Lower tech, but just as effective!
It was strangely quiet on Park Street today. None of the hubub of preparations for The Tag Sale, or of the opening day of the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Hats off to all who labored at one or both ends of Park Street last week! Y'all definitely "bore the burden of the day and the scorching heat!" Even so, every shopper was greeted with a smile and warm welcome. So, a profound Sarum Bow to all Tag Sale helpers! Well done, good and faithful servants!
The daytime ECW will sponsor a "Bottles of Hope" Workshop, on Saturday, October 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. Think you're too old to play with clay? Think again! 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 signing up is necessary. Please sign-up in the Parish Hall, and direct your questions to Diane Link.
While Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands may be territories of the United States, they are full-fledged dioceses of The Episcopal Church! So, the catastrophic devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria impacts The Church just as much as what they did in Florida and what Harvey did in Texas and Louisiana. Indeed, the badly hit British Virgin Islands are also included in the Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands. The latest news from Episcopal Relief and Development can be found here. Please consider contributing to relief efforts here.
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
p.s. The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries -- and local agencies like I.R.I.S --. is/are directly affected by the administration's proposed further reduction in the number of refugees who will be permitted to enter the country in the 2018 fiscal year which begins on October 1. Here's EMM's statement.
As I write this, I can hear folks happily arranging Tag Sale treasures in the driveway. The consensus clearly indicates -- and a visit to the Parish Hall confirms -- this is a really big Tag Sale! Perhaps the biggest yet! Thanks for all the lovely things y'all have donated and lifted about. There appear to be some especially fine treasures among the decor and furniture items. And I spied a princess/ballerina outfit that will delight some young lady. So, on Saturday, September 23, please plan to include the Tag Sale on your route; you'll also want to visit the Library's Booksale, and the Guilford Civic Women's Harvest Festival on the Green. A profound Sarum Bow to all Tag Sale helpers!
As a Thank-you for the use of Christ Church's Parish Hall and kitchen, the Civic Women are giving us their delicious Apple Crisp for Sunday's Coffee Hour!
Stories of a New America, a performance of vignettes about refugees starting over in the U.S., premiered in New Haven last spring to rave reviews. It’s coming to Guilford this Wednesday, September 27! The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a reception featuring international cuisine catered by refugees. The performance follows at 7 p.m., with a post-performance discussion led by Chris George, executive director of I.R.I.S. (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services).
Tickets are $25 for adults; $10 for children 8 years and older; those under 8 years old are admitted for free. Tickets are available at www.eventbite.com; then search for Stories New America.
The lead sponsors for the evening are First Congregational Church of Guilford and Temple Beth Tikvah, Madison; they formed a partnership call SHIRR – Shoreline Interfaith Refugee Resettlement.
Two Saturday's ago, twelve Christ Church folks participated in the Syrian Dinner sponsored by "Saints on the Shoreline, (SOS)" at St. Andrew's Church, Madison. Syrian refugee women had supplied all the recipes the SOS volunteers used to prepare the meal; and everything was delicious! One male refugee, only in the US for nine months, spoke very movingly about his experience. So, I'm truly looking forward to both the reception and the performance this Wednesday at First Church.
Speaking of (former) refugees, Noah and Shem Elemeleki recently became U.S. citizens!
Following the massive Tag Sale Clean-up, Saturday afternoon, Sunday's Children's Chapel Time will return to the 4th/5th grade classroom, and Sunday School classes will meet in their usual and customary places.
The Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers will meet together again this Sunday in the Youth Room (former Nursery); their new "re:form" agenda prompts conversation with a short and witty video clip. Next week it will be back to usual places for them as well..
Next Saturday, September 30, please plan to return to the Green for our annual Blessing of the Animals in Honor of St. Francis. Please bring the creatures who dwell with you on leash, in crate, or in photo-form. We will again gather with our neighbors from First Church and St. George Church and all their friendly creatures at 10 a.m. Please note this time change: we'll gather at 10 a.m.
Although Storm Jose continues to hang around, we have been so fortunate compared to the devastations of Maria, Irma and Harvey! And then with another horrible earthquake in Mexico and the continuing threat of wildfires in the far west, Episcopal Relief & Development, and its Anglican Alliance partners, are on the ground all over! And they need our support as resources are stretched to address the needs. So, please consider another gift to support this important witness to Christ's love and compassion. To make a gift for Hurricane Relief please go here. The latest updates are available here for hurricanes and here for Mexico.
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
p.s. Thanks to the In-Reach Committee, especially leader Susan Leonard, who organized Ministry Sundae Sunday, and no, that's not redundant. Thanks also to all the ministry leaders who provided such delicious toppings for the sundaes. Blessings!!
Thanks also to all who participated in Thursday's U.N. Day of Peace observance on the Green! It was a special occasion to support one another in the quest for peace in our homes, among our neighbors, and throughout "this fragile planet, our island home." Our Sunday School's Peace Mandalas were displayed across the stage with each student's prayer, and they are very special indeed.
Following Sunday's 10 a.m. service, you can build your own Ministry Sunday Sundae! Folks involved in all sorts of Christ Church ministries will be ready to talk to you at tables in the Parish Hall; as you check out what they are up to, they'll offer you a topping for your sundae. So move around the room, talk about what Christ Church folks are up to, and add your favorite fruits, nuts, sprinkles, candies and/or whipped toppings. Along the way, you just might discover God calling you to try on a new-to-you aspect of our life together.
Children's Chapel and Sunday School got off to a fine start last week. Children's Chapel will again meet in the 2nd & 3rd grade class room; while the other classes move to their usual classrooms for Sunday School, the 4th & 5th graders will meet at the end of the hall this week.
The Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers will again begin together in the Youth Room (former Nursery); their new "re:form" agenda prompts conversation with a short and witty video clip. Page Pelphrey and our seminary-intern Graham Marsh will then lead the discussion.
And now, the offerings for adults will get underway:
Thursday morning Bible Study has chosen to focus on the Epistle readings for the coming nine weeks. Over coffee and tea, we'll discuss Paul's short letter to the Philippians for four weeks, and his (perhaps earliest) letter to the Thessalonians for five weeks; we gather at 9:30 a.m. Thursday mornings in the Rectory Dining Room;
Rectory Forum -- returns this Sunday, September 17 at 9 a.m. in the Rectory living room for a review of the summer, and looking ahead to the coming year -- including an introduction to The Misunderstood Jew (see more below);
Tuesday evening's Casserole Conversations return on this Tuesday, September 19 at 6 p.m. (However, instead of a casserole, we'll begin with pulled pork sandwiches and cole slaw). Our conversations will center on, The Misunderstood Jew: The Church & the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus." With great wit and outstanding scholarship, Southern Jewish New Testament Professor Amy-Jill Levine carefully unravels some past misunderstandings that sadly support intolerance towards our Jewish neighbors. Copies of the book are on order; it's also available on Kindle and Nook.
Please join friends and neighbors of all ages for a Town-wide celebration of "Respect, Safety and Dignity for All" to mark the U.N.'s International Day of Peace this Thursday at 4 p.m. on the Green. Houses of Worship, Youth & Family Services and Guilford Schools are all coming together for this event. Church bells will ring, YFNR will offer a prayer, our Sunday School's Peace Mandalas (artwork and prayers) and Vacation Bible School's "Peace Pallet" will be on display, and we'll break into familiar songs for peace under the leadership of our own Mark Sullivan and First Church's Bill Speed.
All that, and it's Prep Week for The Tag Sale! Tag Sale "Staging" will happen on Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. Tag Sale Set-up will happen on Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m (or until we're done). And, The Tag Sale itself will open at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 23. Be sure to invite your friends and neighbors!
Now that Harvey and Irma have done their worst, Episcopal Relief & Development has geared up to work through Episcopal and Anglican partners throughout Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Caribbean. Yes, all those devastated islands are in the embrace of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. So, please consider a gift to support this important witness to Christ's love and compassion. To make a gift for Hurricane Relief please go here. The latest updates are available here for Harvey, and here for Irma.
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
p.s. Thanks to everyone who made Welcome Back Sunday so special! To the Choir, Sunday School Teachers and Youth Mentors, who returned to their important leadership roles, and to everyone who helped with the Welcome Back Picnic, providing delicious sides and desserts, who cleaned-up, and to Senior Warden Rose Robinson and Seminary-Intern Graham Marsh who did more than they probably planned! Blessings!!
While on the Cape, I heard a comic explain that every week in town had a theme -- Carnival Week, Regatta Week, etc., -- but that was "Grief Week" for the end of the summer! Hope this does not find you downcast about summer's end. For Christ Church, this week brings opportunities to welcome one another home, and return to well-loved activities -- like worship with our Choir in the balcony, back to Sunday School and Youth activities, and fellowship around shared meals!
On Welcome Back Sunday, September 10, we will:
Worship God at 8 and 10 a.m., with special prayers for those cleaning up after Harvey, contending with the ravages of Irma, awaiting the arrival of Katia and Jose', dealing with the aftermath of the Mexican earthquake and fighting the western forest fires;
For starts, here's a prayer from the Rev. James Martin, S.J.:
Creator God, we ask you to calm the wind and the waves of the approaching hurricane,
and spare those in its path from harm.
Help those who are in its way to reach safety.
Open our hearts in generosity to all who need help in the coming days.
In all things and at all times, help us to remember
that even when life seems dark and stormy,
you are in the boat with us, guiding us to safety. Amen.
Our Choir will return to the balcony to help us all set forth God's glory in hymns of praise and to ready our hearts for the Great Thanksgiving with their offertory anthem;
Children's Chapel will gather beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the 2nd & 3rd grade classroom, with Sunday School Director Laurie Varley to craft Peace Mandalas;
Sunday School will meet together at 10 a.m. with this year's lead teachers Becky Patino, Gabriele La Torre, Marybeth Clarke and Richard Marvin, and helpers Stephanie Hutchison and Donna Lafata, before meeting with Music Director Mark Sullivan for their weekly Music Time;
Middle and High School students will meet together this Sunday with Page Pelphrey for the introduction of a new video-prompted conversation about how the Bible and the Church's Tradition speak to the questions that young people raise;
Following the 10 a.m. service, we'll re-gather in the Parish Hall backyard for our now-traditional Welcome Back Picnic featuring the Marketplace's Pulled BBQ Pork sandwiches and cole slaw along with the side dishes and desserts that you share; paper goods and beverages will be provided;
During the picnic, we can catch up with one another, hear about summer adventures, and get further acquainted with our new Seminary-intern Graham Marsh; Graham comes to us from the Diocese of New Jersey, via Princeton Seminary, for a year of Anglican Studies at Yale's Berkeley Divinity School.
Please check the calendar as other fellowship and learning opportunities ramp-up this week:
Bible Study over coffee and tea returns at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning in the Rectory Dining Room; you don't even have to bring your own Bible to join this wide-ranging conversation prompted by the week's Scriptures and events;
ECW -- our Episcopal Church Women's daytime gatherings will resume with a planning meeting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 14, followed by a "carry-in" lunch, and conversation;
Rectory Forum -- will return on Sunday, September 17 at 9 a.m. in the Rectory living room for a review of the summer, and looking ahead to the coming year; and
Tuesday evening's Casserole Conversations will return on September 19 at 6 p.m. More details next week.
Jack-the-dog and I returned from the Cape late Labor Day Monday, (Yes, Jack loves the beach, and all the dogs and people he met there!), and then I left early Tuesday for a Clergy Day at Camp Washington -- which Bishop Douglas calls, "Our Place in Morris.". The topics of the day were in the "important," but neither exciting nor urgent categories. The drive was gorgeous, the company fun, and the food amazingly good. What made the day truly worthwhile, however, was the report of the Rev. Peter Stebinger (not really retired from Christ Church, Bethany), and the witness of the Rev. Susan Davidson, of All Saints', Wolcott:
Peter+ serves as chaplain for the Connecticut Disaster Response Team, and was deployed with them to Texas to set up a field hospital during the worst of Harvey -- which was mind-boggingly awful. He spoke highly of all the good work being done by the American Red Cross and other first responders, but reserved special praise for Episcopal Relief & Development(ERD) which was on the ground and will remain beyond the initial crisis until the work of restoration is done.
Susan+ served a parish in New Orleans during Katrina, and underscored Peter's testimony about ERD's effectiveness and faithfulness. She reported that ERD had only just closed out its New Orleans efforts -- just in time for Harvey.
The demands on Episcopal Relief & Development will continue with the coming disasters. So, please consider a gift to support this important witness to Christ's love and compassion. The latest updates are available here.
May God's love and mystery continue to enfold us all,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!