Before getting started on this weekend's happenings, some thanks related to the amazing last one: Hats off to everyone who made possible last Saturday's All-ParishTag Sale, and last Sunday's "Opening the Doors" celebration! Whether you provided goods to be sold, helped set up, staffed, helped clean up, and/or came to shop, THANK YOU! Word on the street is that something like $3,300 was raised for the Evening ECW's project to further enhance the Parish Hall [editor note: actually, just a shade under $3500 was raised!]. And, I have heard "when we do this next year, ..." so often, that I think the Evening ECW may have started a new annual tradition.
No sooner was the Tag Sale over, than the Parish Hall was cleared, and preparations began for Sunday's Episcopal Visitation and "Opening the Doors" Celebration! Sunday morning, Bishop Ian Douglas arrived as scheduled to bless the 8 a.m. congregation, have a lively Q&A with the Rectory Forum (I had to drag him away!), meet with the YAP (high school class), preach and celebrate for the 10 a.m. service, and then help us celebrate our 'Opening the Doors" campaign. In his sermon and in his remarks, Bishop Douglas clearly "got" what we were attempting to do: Make Christ Church an obvious sign of God's Welcome to all. But he also challenged us to open our doors into the community around us, go through our doors, and join what God is doing in the world!
Among the morning's highlights were Bishop Douglas' time with the children as he talked to them about his staff, mitre, ring and cross, and how each one signifies part of a bishop's ministry. He invited the kids to hold the staff and act like being a shepherd, and to try on the mitre. One "big kid," i.e. Charlie Koncz, also looked pretty good in the mitre. Another highlight was when Campaign Chair (and Senior Warden) Pat Daunic presented Bishop Douglas with a larger-than-life Campaign check for $9,305.40 paying off our outstanding balance on a loan from the Diocese's Missionary Fund. To do some necessary projects, the parish needed to incur almost $200K in debt six years ago, we are now debt free, and have improved our heating systems, revitalized interiors, and renewed how we present Christ Church to the world! Thanks be to God! And, thanks also to all who worked so hard on the Campaign, and all who contributed and continue to contribute to the Campaign. And oh yes, how about that splendid, celebratory meal! Thanks to La Rosticcerria and Debbie & Antonio Greco for the wonderfully prepared entrees, and to all who shopped, prepared, set-up and cleaned up for the appetizers, salads, beverages and desserts, and for the kids pizza lunch (thanks to Donna Lafata for the movie and supervised play time!).
A special Thanks-be-to-God, and to the Committee on Weather, who provided us with such beautiful weather for both the Tag Sale and the Visitation! Do you suppose some ECW members who now live in a brighter light and on another shore, pulled some strings?!
Right now, with Hurricane Joaquin apparently headed out to sea, it seems that showers are the good news for this weekend's weather. Nonetheless, we can't let some drizzle dampen our Blessing of the Animals in Honor of St. Francis! So if the Green is as soggy as predicted, our friends from St. George and First Churches will join us inside Christ Church at 11 a.m. to bless our pets. Following St. Francis' teaching, we will give thanks for all God's creatures, especially those who share our daily lives, blessing those who are a blessing to us. Please bring Fido and KitKat on leashes or in appropriate carriers.
This Sunday's "Coffee Talk," will feature Jane Ferrall and Mark Sullivan presenting our new Christ Church website. They will talk about its primary audience -- seekers, i.e. folks looking for a congenial house of worship. The web site is also designed to grow to serve parishioners. Your ideas will help that happen. Join the conversation after the 10 a.m. service, this Sunday, October 4.
On Sunday afternoon, the CROP Walk will go forward rain or shine. The CROP Walk raises funds to support Church World Service efforts to address hunger locally and abroad; such important work cannot be overwhelmed by a few showers! You can participate in the 4-mile walk and/or sponsor a walker(s). So, if a four-mile walk on the sidewalks of Guilford doesn't appeal to you, please help by sponsoring one of our young walkers (or YFNR). Forms are available in the church. Registration for the walk begins at 1 p.m., and the walk steps off from the Green at 1:30 p.m. We gather and walk with our neighbors from the churches of Guilford, North Branford and Madison.
I look forward to another great weekend, responding with you to what God's already doing with other creatures and people!
In faith and hope,
p.s.: We learned this week that the Kashona Family, a refugee family "adopted" by Christ Church in the 2000's, will move this month to Kansas City, MO, to be near other family members. We hope to have a chance to say, "fare forward, voyagers" before they depart.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!