You don't want to miss Sunday's Organ Recital by Jeremiah Mead. Newly graduated from Madison's Hand High School, Jerry is NYC-bound to continue his education at the Julliard School of Music this fall. Come at 4 p.m. to enjoy this "thank-you" for his rehearsal time here. Jerry regularly practices on the Christ Church pipe organ; and, this spring, with windows open in the church and the rectory, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him play, from my perch across the driveway. Now the opportunity is available to all! As a bit of a preview, Jerry will also play during Sunday morning's 10 a.m. service.
And don't for a moment think that the Craft Fair on the Green will create a parking problem for us on Sunday. The Fair doesn't open until noon, and will be winding up at 4 p.m. Since the Town Hall lot also belongs to Christ Church, you can always park there, as well as in the Rectory driveway.
You don't even have to go inside to see signs of the great week our children had in Vacation Bible School. Look around the lilac outside the Parish House, and you'll see flowers and helpfully named herbs, that they planted Amidst the plantings you can see mosaic tiles they created. Then there's a large mosaic "Exaltation of the Cross" (that's Art History-speak), and you will be so amazed at the "tiles" used to create it. Another group project started out as a wood pallet (the kind used with a forklift), and it became a celebration of one of the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the Peacemakers ..."
If you ask the kids who participated, my hunch is they might also tell you about Director Laurie Varley's creative telling of Bible stories, or Music Director Mark Sullivan's active, on-your-feet, singing time, or the games, or the snacks you all so generously provided. Special thanks to volunteer helpers Keelyn and Zoe, and Gabriela La Torre, in addition to Miss Laurie and Mr. Sullivan!
Looking ahead to Sunday, July 23, please plan on having breakfast with Christ Church! A tradition of years-ago will return with a Sunday Mid-Morning Breakfast. Organized by our In-Reach Committee, they've listened to your ideas about adding to occasions for fellowship.-- especially with folks who attend the "other" Sunday morning service. As a special, added attraction, you will also have an opportunity to meet the Rev. Rachel Field, the newly appointed Missionary for our South-Central Region of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Rachel asked if she could "drop-in" to get acquainted; "come to breakfast"was the Christ Church response! The breakfast will begin around 9a.m.
The story of Eustace in C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawntrader, keeps coming back to me. Bishop Porter Taylor recalls how Eustace, trusting solely in himself, falls into the behavior of dragons, and then actually becomes a dragon. Nonetheless, Aslan, the (Christ-figure) lion, does not give up on Eustace; instead Alsan does what has to be done to restore and reconcile Eustace. Whether it's racist graffiti or other recent occasions of vandalism in Guilford, or the gun violence on Jerusalem's Temple Mount yesterday; or the toxic disrespect for the dignity of persons different from ourselves, that passes for political discourse these days, I keep coming back to Eustace. And, I keep looking for the tipping point. When do we get to the point that we say, this is not how we want to live? We don't want to live in the dragon's lair? When are we willing to accept "Aslan's" help?
May God's love and power enfold us all,
p.s.: Thanks to all who participated in Tuesday's Calendar Planning Meeting. We got a lot sorted between now and Ash Wednesday 2018 (and yes, that'll be Valentine's Day 2018!) If you have a date for the calendar, please get it to Parish Administrator Pat Wakefield in the parish office; firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-453-2279
You will want to route yourself through the Parish Hall to see it all "dressed-up" for Vacation Bible School's theme, "Barnyard Round-up: Jesus Gathers Us Together." V.B.S starts this Monday at 9 a.m.and continues until noon, daily through Friday. Director Laurie Varley has prepared for the coming week's stories, crafts, and play time; adult and youth volunteers will assist, and Music Directord Mark Sullivan will lead the singing.
Our V.B.S. welcomes all children who will be entering Kindergarten through 6th grade in the fall. So, even if you haven't spoken to Miss Laurie yet, my hunch is that there's still room for your child, grandchild or young friend.
With our parish leaders already making plans for the fall, it seemed a good idea to get ahead of any potential conflicts by scheduling a Calendar Planning Supper for Tuesday, July 11, 6 p.m. in the Rectory. Program leaders will want to be sure that there is a voice-at-the-table for their events. We will start with events for the fall, and get as far as we can into the spring of 2018. In any case, we'll adjourn by 8 p.m.
In addition to Vacation Bible School, here are two other special events at Christ Church this July:
Sunday, July 16: An Organ Recital by Jeremy Mead. He's a student of Walden Moore (Trinity Church, New Haven), and will enter the Julliard School of Music this fall. Come at 4 p.m. to enjoy this "thank-you" for his rehearsal time here. Jeremy regularly practices on the Christ Church pipe organ; This spring, with windows open in the church and the rectory, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Jeremy play from my perch across the driveway.
Sunday, July 23: Sunday Mid-Morning Breakfast -- an opportunity to have breakfast with folks who attend the "other" Sunday morning service, and to meet the Rev. Rachel Field, the newly appointed Missionary for our South-Central Region of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. The breakfast is being organized by our In-Reach Committee; they were listening to your ideas about adding to our occasions for fellowship.
In last Sunday's sermon, I quoted from the Guilford Plantation Covenant of 1639, which was signed by our Town's "planters" while still at sea. The local response to recent occasions of hateful vandalism, reminded me of Mrs. Roger's (Mr. Roger's mother) counsel that when bad things happen, "Look for the helpers." Mr. Roger's continued, if you see the helpers, then you know there's hope. When the vandalism happened in Guilford, helpers were quick to respond. That's just what the Covenant expects of us:
...we do faithfully promise ..., that we will, the Lord assisting us,
sit down and join ourselves together ... and to be helpful to the other ....,
according to [our] ability and as need shall require, ...
You can read the entire text of the Covenant here. The accompanying article notes that a Celebration of the Covenant helped dissuade the Ku Klux Klan from holding a rally in Guilford! We may be at a time to again recall our Town's heritage of mutual helpfulness. I was part of a group convened by the Guilford Foundation last Friday, to begin just such an exploration. Look for an announcement of a Town "summit" sometime this fall.
May God's love and power enfold us all,
p.s.: Jayke -- a timid, quiet and gentle, medium-sized black lab mix -- joined me in the Rectory this week. I'm afraid that Jayke was the victim of physical abuse before he was rescued: He's easily startled, hesitant about approaching people, and, even the Rectory backyard, intimidates him.
As I write this, I'm just bursting with pride and gratitude for how wonderfully Christ Church folks hosted this morning's Seven-Parish Service of Holy Baptism & Confirmation..
Again this summer, our Middle School mentor, Page Pelphrey, will help chaperone a Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic. Composed of youth from across the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, Page and her charges, will work in two churches and visit a project site between July 1-9. Page is now assembling the supplies needed for the group to lead Vacation Bible School. Please consider helping by bringing to church such goodies as, Soccer balls (deflated), First aid kits, Beads for friendship bracelets, Bubble pans, wands, soap, Glue sticks, scissors, Duct tape, glitter and glue, Stickers (for projects and tracking attendance), and zip-lock sandwich bags. Please leave them at the Children's altar.
As I write this, inspired with hope and gratitude, the heart also breaks for the violence our nation and our world have experienced this week. Let us persevere in prayer: "Let us pray that God may change the hears of those responsible for terror, warfare and gun violence" let us pray for those who are sick, injured or suffering; and may God have mercy on those who have died. O Lord, we beseech thee to hear us.
May God's love and power enfold us all,
p.s.: The "River of Life: Connecticut River Pilgrimage 2017" continued and continues its way south, still between Vermont and New Hampshire. Over the course of 40 days, pilgrims are paddling their way south on a spiritual adventure including public events. Bishop Ian Douglas and his wife, plan to participate in the southern portions of the pilgrimage. Nearby public events are planned for East Haddam, Deep River and Essex on July 7 and 8. To participate in them and/or as "Pilgrims in Prayer," go to the pilgrimage website here.
Today, the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Trinity of God's Being as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and we celebrate our Choir's musical leadership in setting forth God's praise. The Choir will conclude this season of song with some special music! This has been another year of significant commitment by our Choir; their efforts help lead and greatly enrich our worship life.
The Choir's musical leadership isn't an accident; it requires preparation. At their Wednesday evening rehearsals, Music Director Mark Sullivan coaches the Choir through a series of exercises to help members develop their gift for choral singing; only then do they begin rehearsing anthems for coming Sundays. On Sunday mornings, the Choir arrives early to warm-up, review their anthem, and the hymns and service music for the day. This is a major commitment, and our Choir members are very faithful. The rest of us, the congregation, benefit from their labor of love.
So, today we will offer our appreciation and gratitude to the Choir. We'll do so both in worship and personally during the Coffee Hour. On page 819, The Prayer Book includes a wonderful prayer, "For Church Musicians and Artists:"
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven; Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Recalling last Sunday's wonderful offerings by our Youth String Ensemble, I'm reminded of the great gifts of instrumental music with which we are also blessed. So, this prayer is for them, as well!
Indeed, thanks to all who made our Pentecost celebrations such a delight last Sunday! We thanked our Sunday School director, teachers and mentors for their creative commitment to our children; The Committee on Weather came through with a perfect day for the Parish Picnic. David Oshana, Peter Marks and Sheward Hagerty had the yard in good order. Special thanks also goes to the master of the grill, David Jones and to Senior Warden Rose Robinson and her helpmate Chris Robinson, who shepherded both set-up and clean-up; and thanks to all who helped! Thanks also to all who provided such a delicious array of side dishes, salads and desserts.
This will be a week of preparation for another big event: the Regional Confirmation Service which Christ Church will host on Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. With nearly 40 candidates coming from eight parishes across southern CT, plus their families and sponsors, it will be an SRO occasion. Please consider helping as an usher, with the Altar Guild, and/or the reception following.
May the God's love and power enfold us all!
p.s.: The "River of Life: Connecticut River Pilgrimage 2017" continued and continues its way south, now between Vermont and New Hampshire. Over the course of 40 days, pilgrims are paddling their way south on a spiritual adventure including public events. Bishop Ian Douglas and his wife, plan to participate in the southern portions of the pilgrimage. Nearby public events are planned for East Haddam, Deep River and Essex on July 7 and 8. To participate in them and/or as "Pilgrims in Prayer," go to the pilgrimage website here.
Remember last Sunday's story about the Ascension of Jesus, when he was taken up into a cloud? For Jews who knew their tradition, that cloud reminded them of the pillar of cloud that led the Hebrew people through their Wilderness wanderings. Flame was another feature of that pillar of cloud. The pillar of cloud and flame signified God's abiding presence with God's people; the paschal candle (the very large candle by the baptismal font and pulpit) continues this recollection. On the Day of Pentecost, God's presence was signified by gusts of flame that flickered over all the disciplesj who gathered in an Upper Room in Jerusalem. So, bright red is the official color for Pentecost!
Please remember to wear red this Sunday as a sign of the Holy Spirit's abiding presence with us.
Our Sunday School provides another lively sign of the Holy Spirit's abiding presence with us! So, this Pentecost Sunday we will give thanks for a spirited year of growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus; and, we will give special thanks for all of our Sunday School teachers and youth mentors -- Donna LaFata, Becky Patino, Stephanie Hutchison, Marybeth Clarke, Richard Marvin, Page Pelphrey and Alex Diana. We will also give thanks for Laurie Varley's first year of creative leadership to our Sunday School program.
Sometimes the Spirit speaks to us powerfully through music. And on Pentecost, our youth string ensemble will again hold forth from the balcony, and the Sunday School may have a song to share. Special thanks to ensemble director Suky Bryan, and Music Director Mark Sullivan.
Sunday's Pentecost celebration will continue in our parish backyard following the 10a.m.service, with our annual Parish Picnic! Hamburgers and hot dogs (meat and buns) will be served up by grill-master David Jones and his helpers; beverages, papergoods and plasticware will also be provided. You are invited to help by...
Another sign of the Spirit at work among us, is our Sunday School's new participation in the New York Haiti Project -- or as we refer to it in our Sunday intercessions, the "Episcopal School and Church Project for Matel, Haiti." We have just received a lovely thank-you letter for the Sunday School's initial gift: "Your contribution will go toward the building of St. Luke's Episcopal School and Church ... We expect to break ground in the next two months." It appears the School and the Church now have a patron saint -- St. Luke! We are in great company!
Although red is the color for Pentecost, orange is the color for today. Orange warns that a human being is present: "So, Don't Shoot!" In Gun Violence Prevention events across the country, people will be wearing orange. This evening, from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight, orange light will illumine the west front of Washington National Cathedral. Details of that vigil are available here.
"River of Life: Connecticut River Pilgrimage 2017" began this past Tuesday at the river's source in the northernmost reaches of New Hampshire. Over the course of 40 days, pilgrims will paddle their way south on a spiritual adventure including public events. Bishop Ian Douglas and his wife, plan to participate in the southern portions of the pilgrimage. We are also invited to participate as "Pilgrims in Prayer." You can access the pilgrimage website here.
May the Spirit's love and power enfold us all!
p.s.: Another upcoming "red" occasion" is the Regional Confirmation Service which Christ Church will host on Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. With candidates coming from eight parishes across southern CT, please consider helping as an usher, with the Altar Guild, and/or the reception following.
This Sunday, May 21, we will officially welcome folks who have begun worshiping with us during the recent past. Our Newcomers' Committee sent invitations to all those for whom they had addresses. Newcomers will be welcomed during the 10 a.m. service and honored during a special Coffee Hour to follow.
Special thanks for organizing this welcome and reception go to Committee co-leaders Diana Stovall, Annie Rae, and Mardee Moore plus Kay Claiborn (who is unable to attend due to travel).
As you may recall during years past, we had a lively connection with, and were kept up-to-date on the renewal of, Holy Trinity Primary School in Port au Prince. With the death of the priest who maintained that connection, the retirement of Bishop Jim Curry, and subsequent weather and staffing challenges, it became increasingly difficult to be confident that the proceeds of our Sunday School's Haiti Fundraisers would reach the designated beneficiary. Thanks to an introduction at the CT Episcopal Church Women's Annual Meeting, we learned of an exciting project to build an Episcopal school and church in the small rural community of Matel in Haiti. By re-designating the fundraiser proceeds for the School and Church project in Matel, we could again have that confidence; this project is collaboratively organized by six parishes in the Diocese of New York, a Matel family who donated ten acres of land for the project, and the local Episcopal community there.
Because of the uncertainties noted above, the proceeds of the 2016 and 2017 Sunday School Fundraisers were still on deposit here. However, re-designating the beneficiary for funds already raised requires lots of consultation. The information about the Matel school and church project was shared first with our Sunday School teachers, who responded enthusiastically; then the proposal to re-designate went to our Finance Committee who had some good questions; finally the proposal, with responses to Finance's questions, went to the Vestry; and at their meeting this week, the Vestry gave their endorsement. Next week, a check for $1,468 will be on its way to the "New York Haiti Project," as it is currently known. (With our participation, they may have to change the name!) The Rev. Sam Owen, pastor of the Haitian Congregation of the Good Samaritan in the Bronx wrote, "Your [Sunday School's] contribution will be used in part to pay for the clearing of the land for the school, and the rest will go into building the foundation. We are so grateful for your support."
Because of our financial participation, we will also be able to have a new personal connection. We can expect to meet Fr. Owen this fall and hear about this summer's three-day Mission, "With God we will do valiant deeds" (Psalm 60), and the dedication of the Project's grain mill. By next March's fundraiser, we may be able to celebrate the opening of the first simple three-room schoolhouse. Perhaps in the future, some of us might consider going to Matel to participate in a mission. Watch this space for access to documents regarding the New York Haiti Project.
Thanks to the leadership of our ECW, the church was filled with roses on Mother's Day! It was quite a sight to behold, and a beautiful testimony of gratitude for the ways we have experienced God's love through the women who were honored and remembered. Special thanks go to chief organizer Diane Link, and her helpers Marsha Brown and Cindy Smith.
Last Sunday also marked the conclusion of seminarian Andrew Doss' internship with us. If you weren't here you missed Andrew's moving sermon, the Rectory Forum's final "Stump the Seminarian" with special treats, and a lovely "Fare-Forward, Voyager!" Coffee Hour organized by Tuesday Supper participants. At the Coffee Hour, Andrew received a "purse" reflecting contributions received and anticipated. Wow, did we underestimate! This week Andrew will receive the balance, for a purse totaling $1,700! Thanks to your generosity -- plus that of his home parish and a generous friend -- Andrew's Colombia adventure expenses, including transportation, food, housing and personal items, are well-covered. Thank you all so much!
Easter blessings continue,
p.s. If you were concerned about the status of Holy Trinity Primary School, Fr. Owen reports that it remains one of Haiti's leading schools, even while continuing to operate in very make-shift quarters.
As I write these words, the church and parish hall are being decked out in their Roses for Mother's Day splendor. Many thanks to the ECW for this celebration of women who are important to us; and a special tip of the hat to Diane Link for her hard work in making it happen. Adding this year's proceeds to those of previous years, the ECW will likely be ready to commission new white altar hangings. As lovely as the current ones are, close inspection reveals they are hanging on by a thread!
May 14 will also be the Sunday when we say, "Fare-forward, Voyager!" to our seminary-intern Andrew Doss, as his internship comes to its conclusion. In addition to preaching, serving as lector, intercessor and chalice bearer, doing some pastoral care, and dreaming with us about our service to our community, Andrew led our Rectory Forum and Tuesday Supper conversations of his play, A Man Coming Through, and Madeleine L'Engle's novel, A Wind in the Door, to share his passion for "Process Theology."
After graduation next week, Andrew will be returning to his home in New Orleans, and then in June heading to Medellin, Columbia to begin intensive study of Spanish there. Although Yale is underwriting this course of study, Andrew is responsible for food, housing, transportation and personal expenses. You can help support our "voyager" on his next adventure by contributing to his "Fare-forward" purse. Checks may be made out to Christ Church, with something like "Andrew's Purse" on the Memo line, and placed in the offering plate or delivered to the Parish Office.
The glowing reviews for the Sunday's School's "Good Shepherd Musical," presented Sunday, May 7, continued all week! Thanks to all the children who provided us with tableau visions of the story. Now, when I hear about the sheep, the hired hand, the stranger, the wolf and the Good Shepherd, our children will appear in my mind's eye! Thanks also to our Sunday School Teachers, to Sunday School Director Laurie Varley, and Music Director (and composer!) Mark Sullivan. Miss Laurie had prepared for each child herb plants flagged with "God loves you all the 'thyme'!" And, she had led the children in creating unique sheep "faces" for each child that adorned the church window sills.
As you may have heard elsewhere, our Bishop Suffragan, +Laura Ahrens, has been included among the five nominees for Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware. She will be participating in "Walk-Abouts" in Delaware on June 28-30; the electing convention will begin July 15. Bishop Laura has asked that we keep her, all the nominees, and Delaware in our prayers. You can read her letter to us, along with Bishop Douglas' statement, here.
As you may recall, the process known as "Re-imagining the Episcopal Church in Connecticut" re-organized the diocese from 14 deaneries into six regions, with each region receiving a "missionary" to connect, catalyze and equip parishes and worshiping communities for collaboration in God's Mission. Those six missionaries were announced this week; here's the announcement email with photos, statements and short biographies for each. We are in the South Central Region (from Guilford to Milford, and Shelton to Durham). Our missionary, the Rev. Rachel Field, will begin on June 6.
One final reminder: I am in "sales," not "management;" so I'm not the complaint department for our recent coolish weather. Let us give thanks for the rains that have ended drought in New England. North-central Connecticut is now considered only "abnormally dry."
Easter blessings continue,
A real baking production-line process has been underway today, as our middle-school youth have prepared all sorts of over-the-top desserts for tomorrow's Spaghetti Supper. They worked under the direction of Sue Shackford with the hands-on help of several parents and seniors Ava & Elle -- for whom this may be year eight!
While the desserts will be amazing, the entre' will again be just as splendid: Chef Antonio's Spaghetti with meat balls, will be served by the youth with freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus bread and green salad. The proceeds from the dinner will support the activities of our middle-schoolers including the acolytes. The suggested donations are: $12 per adult; $30 for a family of three or more; children age 5 and under, eat for free.
This dinner will be a great opportunity to wear our new Name-Tags, and be able to address one another by name with confidence. For the evening, the Name-Tag boards will be moved to the Parish Hall, from the Narthex, or church vestibule, where we can find them in the morning.
Our terrific new Parish Photo Directories will also remain available. One per household, please! Please sign out your family's directory so we know to whom we need to deliver a copy.
Congratulations to the Evening ECW on their inaugural Soup & Bread Lunch on Saturday, April 22. Their hunch that the community would respond to an invitation to lunch before or after shopping at the Library's Paperback Booksale, proved to be well-founded. The Evening ECW dedicated the $440 proceeds toward additional work on Phase 2 of their Parish Hall enhancement project.
It's not too early to get excited about the Sunday's School's "Good Shepherd Musical," which will have its dress rehearsal, Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. The Sunday School will be largely responsible for the Liturgy of the Word on Good Shepherd Sunday, May 7, at the 10 a.m. service.
And, it's not too late to participate in the daytime ECW's Roses for Mother's Day project. Envelopes/forms are in the pews.
This past week was a busy one for our Youth Confirmation Group: We went on our NYC Adventure Saturday, April 22 -- to the Cloisters, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and Riverside Church; the next day, we met with other youth, seminarian Andrew Doss, and Jen McShane to view and discuss her "Mothers of Bedford" documentary; and on Thursday evening, we went to The Commons of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut(ECCT) for dinner and conversation with our Bishops, and other youth from across ECCT.
I'm going to brag about our young people: fellow mentor Jennifer Huebner and I were so impressed by their attentiveness, articulate expression, and good-humored participation! You can ask them how stained glass is made, but more importantly why light is so important in Christian worship, and how our bishops invite us all to respond to Jesus' call to be both disciples and apostles -- people who are gathered and sent.
Thank you for your prayers that saw us safely through and home from our trips!
p.s.: Social media provide new means for us to share and send the Good News of the Risen Life which we have received in our gathered fellowship as Christ Church. So, don't forget to be inspired again by our Choir's Maundy Thursday anthem, which you can find here, and their Easter anthem, accompanied by our strings, which you can find here. Please remember to "Like" them, and to "Share" them on your favorite social media platform.
Typically, at least the first weeks of Eastertide are rather quiet. Not with us! As the calendar shows, the Spirit is blessing Christ Church with lots of energy!
On Saturday, April 22, come with your neighbors and friends for a Soup & Bread Lunch between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.! Like a lot of Guilford, you'll probably already be in the neighborhood shopping the Paperback Booksale at the Guilford Free Library. Organized by the Evening ECW as a fund-raiser for the Parish Hall project, the lunch will feature crock-pot soups, artisan bread, fruit and desserts prepared by fellow parishioners.
While you all are busy with lunch and books, twelve youth and chaperones, including YFNR, will be on a daytrip to NYC's Cloisters, Riverside Church and Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This adventure is part of our youth confirmation preparation for this year -- which will also include our usual "last Monday" meeting on the 24th, and Dinner with our Bishops at The Commons in Meriden on the 27th. Please keep the youth, and their chaperones, in your prayers!
The moniker "Low Sunday" also won't fit our Second Sunday of Easter! In addition to the resumption of Sunday morning education programs after their Spring Break, two long-desired and much anticipated efforts will roll-out this Sunday: We now have prepared Name-Tags, and a printed Parish Photo Directory! The directory will be distributed after both the 8 and 10 a.m. services; only one per household, please. This mammoth undertaking required working across different software platforms; a task that turned out to be much more complicated than first anticipated. We have Pat Daunic to thank for pulling together this printed version, and Sue Shackford for taking almost all of the photos. If your photo did not make it into the printed directory, it's not too late: An on-line version, usable from your mobile phone, will follow soon.
We have Susan Leonard to thank for getting our handsome new name-tags made. The Rev. Anne Richards talked about these with the Vestry last summer, and, with other members of the In-Reach Committee, Susan did the follow-up work to get them produced and organized. This Sunday, the In-Reach Committee will introduce the simple system for picking up and returning your name-tag each Sunday. The photo directory and name-tags will help us all put names and faces together.
"Promise to Protect: Pledge to Heal" sums up the "Community Prayer Service for the Prevention and Awareness of Child Abuse" which St. George Roman Catholic Church will host this Wednesday evening, April 26, at 7 p.m. For this Interfaith service, the St. George clergy will share leadership with a First Congregational Church minister, Temple Beth Tikvah's rabbi, and YFNR from Christ Church. I hope you will consider supporting this important effort with your participation.
Almost every conversation this week has included gratitude for the inspiring services of Holy Week and Easter Sunday! While I might rightly deserve the blame when things don't go well, I certainly do not deserve the credit when our worship is as splendid as it was Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. That credit goes to our Acolytes, Altar Guild members, Chalice Bearers, Lectors, Ushers, and to our Choir and string musicians!
If you missed Mark Sullivan's moving organ recital during our Good Friday Three-Hour Watch, then I'm afraid you missed an outstanding opportunity for quiet and contemplation. If you were here on Maundy Thursday and Easter, you know how terrific our Choir's anthems were and how our great was our string ensemble, led by Suky Bryan! Thanks to our Music Director's creativity, we can all enjoy them over and over again. You'll find the Maundy Thursday anthem here, and the Easter anthem, accompanied by strings, here. Please remember to "Like" them, and to "Share" them on your favorite social media platform.
And for the youngest among us, it would not have been Easter without the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Thanks to the ECW for providing and stuffing many plastic eggs. Sunday School Director Laurie Varley prepared the rest and was here early on Sunday morning to organize the hunt.
Our parish grounds were ready for the Egg Hunt, thanks to the Holy Saturday Yard Clean-up organized by Junior Warden Sue Shackford. Thirteen of us responded, including Brunettis, Bryans, Crossleys, Kay Claiborn, David Kish, David Oshana, Marion Williams, and YFNR. This crew got so into their labors, Sue had to remind folks to take a break and drink some water!
Grateful for Holy Week and Easter Sunday with you, I look forward to sharing the adventures of these coming days.
In faith and hope,
Last Sunday, as we followed our Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, we heard shouts of "Hosanna," that he came in the name of God, and as King David's heir. Jesus' popular acclaim made the civil and religious authorities truly nervous; what were they going to do with him? We also heard the answer to that question last Sunday: They were going to have him killed.
On three Holy Days, we make the journey from Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples, to his arrest at Gethsemane, to his abuse before religious and civil authorities, to his agonizing death on Calvary, to the tomb, and then after a day of quiet, the emptiness of the tomb; and, we reach with Jesus, the new Risen Life, to which he invites us all.
This Maundy Thursday morning, we learned that the Lent Madness 2017 "Golden Halo" goes to Episcopalian Florence Nightingale! Through this absurd Lenten ritual, I have again become more aware of, amazed by, and grateful for the "great cloud of witnesses" who surround us all. Of the other "faithful four," I knew of St. Stephen -- deacon and the church's first martyr, but not of Austrian conscientious objector and Nazi martyr Franz Jaggerstatter, or of devout Episcopalian, temperance and women's equality advocate Amelia Bloomer. By following Lenten Madness, I learned that in serving her patients, Nightingale recognized she was serving God: “Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or cold marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit?"
As the Spirit leads us through these three holy days, I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
In faith and hope,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!