May 31, 2019
Yesterday was the feast ot the Ascension; today is the feast of the Visitation. These are both "red-letter" days in the life of the Church. On Ascension Day, we recall that 40 days after his Resurrection Jesus' was exalted into heaven to be "at the right hand of the Father," as we say in the Nicene Creed. On the Feast of the Visitation, we remember the story of the newly pregnant Mary traveling to visit her relation Elizabeth who was also "with child"; their visit is the occasion for the "Song of Mary, also known as the Magnificat, and the first two lines of the "Hail Mary, full of grace, ...".
For a bunch of Middle Schoolers, their mentor Page Pelphrey and me, today begins an overnight at Camp Incarnation. On Sunday you can ask us about the food, the animals (llamas, goats, chickens, etc.), the lake, and if we made s'mores.
In addition to her ministry with our middle-school youngsters, Page also helps lead youth from Connecticut who offer a Vacation Bible School in the Dominican Republic. Page wrote the following letter about her involvement in this project; I commend it to you!
I'm a Pentecost person. I have red hair, I speak three languages, and I love a good fire pit. If I delve into the liturgical seasons, I seem to thrive in the ordinary times. I've never considered myself a leader or someone extraordinary. I don't want to be in the spotlight or what others may call "in charge." I'm ordinary. Most of my friends from camp became priests, youth ministers, and music directors. I went into the world to teach languages to children and volunteer my time on Sunday mornings. I use my gifts to make that ordinary time extraordinary.
While Christmas may be exciting, every day is a day to use your gifts. It's all about the daily movement of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost winds us down as a parish, but I'm just getting started. Four years ago, God called me to merge my gifts. My personal trinity -- speak Spanish, lead Sunday School lessons, and work with teenagers -- became a ten-day trip to chaperone a Vacation Bible School in the Dominican Republic. Our diocese has always had a special relationship with the parish of Santa Margarita in Santo Domingo. This past summer, we had enough volunteers to add two more vacation bible schools and serve two more churches.
What keeps me an Episcopalian is the life of the church. I live for the Ashes, the Palms, and the Acolyte candles. My children and I make an Advent wreath and chalk the door at Epiphany. Vacation Bible School is part of that Episcopal life. I went to VBS every summer of my childhood. I started volunteering when I was too old to be a participant. Our diocese gives less fortunate Episcopal churches the opportunity to have an event like any other Episcopal church. It is how we grow Episcopalians during the ordinary times.
Is an Episcopal church still a church without a bible school? Absolutely! Is it something each little Episcopalian should experience, like the Nativity pageant and wearing a Palm Sunday cross? If we can make it happen, then, yes. The Diocese of the Dominican Republic consists of 76 parishes. Of the 76, 11 had a VBS with the help of American parishes. This summer we are going to be able to lead four vacation bible school sessions, and we will need supplies for 400 children. Sunday June 2, I will be hosting the coffee hour. Please consider bringing supplies from the needs list or making a donation.
Ordinary can be extraordinary!
faithfully, Page Pelphrey
Here's the list of items needed for the DR Vacation Bible School:
Children's scissors Sticker name tags Glue-sticks Frisbees
Index cards Gallon zip-lock bags Construction paper
Feathers Beads Cupcake liners Bubbles and bubble wands
During Coffee Hour, after you've visited with Page about Vacation Bible School in the Dominican Republic, have a look at the photographs from an exhibit about the Sanctuary Movement. Jennifer Huebner arranged for us to see these photographs and has the latest information about a family here in Connecticut.
Please remember that we are collecting funds for a purse for our, now former, Parish Administrator Pat Wakefield. Those funds may be mailed, dropped by the parish office, or placed in the offering basin. "Thanks & Farewell" envelopes for Pat are available on the Ushers' Table; and envelopes for Laurie Varley, our now former Sunday School Director, are still available. Please make your checks out to Christ Church with "Thanks Pat!" and/or 'Thanks Laurie!' on the memo line.
I know there's been a lot of rain this week; the grass is growing, and the weeds are thriving! Please consider helping with Junior Warden Alicia Bacon's wish-list for garden clean-up tasks. Alicia is inviting us, at a time convenient to our schedules, to come and do a little weeding, or a little pruning, or maybe a little weeding and a little pruning. The goal is to have the garden looking especially lovely for our June 9th Thanks & Farewell picnic honoring Pat Wakefield.
A heads-up regarding the Parish Office this week. I'll be attending Yale Divinity School's Summer Study during the mornings this week, Monday-Friday, June 3-7. So, email messages will be returned either before 8:30a.m. or in the afternoon; telephone calls will be returned in the afternoon. If you need access to our buildings in the morning, please coordinate with Mark Sullivan. After this week, I'll have all sorts of new insights on Paul's letters to the Corinthians.
In the meantime, please pray that our Camp Incarnation adventure is fun, inspiring, and safe!
With Easter faith, hope, and love,
p.s. It's not too late for Middle and High School Youth to confirm their participation in our field trip to Temple Beth Tikvah on Friday, June 7. We'll gather at Christ Church at 5:30p.m. for a quick orientation, before traveling to the synagogue's First Friday 6p.m. service. I need to let them know the size of our group. Just respond to this message
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!