"Helping Hands for Haiti" describes our Sunday School's Pancake Breakfast, a benefit for Holy Trinity School this Sunday. "Helping Hands" also describes the decorations which the children have been preparing for weeks!
Instead of the usual Coffee Hour following the 10 a.m. service, we will move to the Parish Hall for pancakes and sausage hot off the grill! Your free-will gifts will support the educational ministry of Holy Trinity School Primary School on the campus of the Cathedral in Port au Prince, Haiti.
With seminary-intern Andrew Doss's return from Yale's Spring Break, the pace of our reading of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door is likely to pick up. Several of us noted that in chapter 3, the surprises come quickly. If you have a copy, please bring it with you. Ordered copies are now overdue! In any case, the text will be available; so please feel free to join the reading and conversation. See the calendar for times and places. No reservations or homework required!
In this week's reflection on "Our Holy Land," Bishop Laura Ahrens talks about where she saw signs of hope during her pilgrimage there. She saw hope being created as Muslim, Jewish and Christian women worked together in making goods for fair trade markets. She also saw hope in the Princess Basma Center for Diasbled Children, an inclusive ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Bishop Laura asks us to be looking for, and supporting signs of hope in Our Holy Land and in our own communities. You can find her reflection here.
The voting in Lent Madness seems to favor lesser known saints this year. Thus, Fanny Crosby defeated G.F. Handel! Recognized as a prolific author of Gospel songs and hymns, she appears to have not been limited in the least by her blindness. LEVASII has six hymns written by "Aunt Fanny," as she was known, but I only recognized "Blessed Assurance." As with that hymn, her others in LEVASII also have a "Jesus-is-mine" piety. For people whose faith provided a refuge from the discrimination and oppression they experience(d) in daily life, her hymns gave/give voice to "this is my story, this is my song." A song and a story to sustain them. To learn more about "Aunt Fanny," and 31 other saints, you can go to www.lentmadness.org.
I look forward to sharing pancakes, and the other adventures and insights, of this Lent with you.
In faith and hope,
Trust that everyone made it safely through this week's sleet, snow and cold! Current forecasts seem to be divided as to what this evening and night hold for us.
For me, sermon preparation usually requires more cutting than adding; in an effort to have some semblance of a focus, I more typically find myself cutting out, rather than adding in. Such was certainly the case last week when discussing the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.(John 3:1-17) Some helpful lines from T.S. Eliot did not make it into the sermon; nonetheless, I still think they may describe Nicodemus' experience of Jesus, as well as yours, mine and Eliot's. With Nicodemus, we experience the divine and human realms fully present in Jesus. In the movement of his Four Quartets, called, "The Dry Salvages," Eliot wrote:
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled, ...
Yet, like Nicodemus, we may not have revelations that lead to certainty. Some of us, most of us(?), may not hear a heavenly voice saying, "This is my Son," or see blinding light. Instead what we perceive,
... are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
Nonetheless, as we continue our Lenten journey of prayer, observance, thought and action, what we discover is:
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood,
While reading on-line, I try to avoid clicking on suggested links, especially when I don't know the trustworthiness of the link. Nonetheless, I was glad this week when I did follow a link to a particularly helpful article in the Washington Post, from a year ago. In this coming Sunday's Gospel (John 4:5-42), we find Jesus hungry and thirsty. Fr. James Martin, S.J. -- a popular Jesuit commentator -- wrote that these episodes reveal Jesus' full humanity. And they encourage us to take seriously the hunger and thirst of others. The article is titled, "Jesus had a body. Here's why that matters for Lent." You can find it here.
Weather permitting, our Lenten Soup Suppers, and the paired Rectory Forum, will resume this week, and we will return to the familiar, and yet fantastical, world of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door. If you have a copy, please bring it with you. It took Powells.com a week to pull together my order of nine used copies; they're due to arrive on Tuesday. In the meantime, the text is available; so please feel free to join the reading and conversation. See the calendar to the left for times and places. No reservations or homework required!
In this week's reflection on "Our Holy Land," the Rev. NIcholas Porter talks about his transformational experience in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and how that experience inspires him to direct the reconciling ministry of "Jerusalem Peacebuilders." The urgency of this work is underscored by their motto: "Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world." You can find Nicholas' reflection here.
If you've been following Lent Madness this week, you learned about "devout Episcopalian" Amelia Bloomer's connection to the women's undergarments called "bloomers." She did not invent them, but published a newspaper that covered this innovation. She also had to correct male clergy who quoted scripture to demean women's fashion. Just two of the insights about this week's competitors for the "Golden Halo." Copies of the "Definitive Guide" are still available for $2 each. To participate on-line go to www.lentmadness.org.
In faith and hope,
Sincerely hope this finds you all well and warm! At least around the Green, yesterday's snow storm was the best kind: coated the landscape, but left sidewalks and pavements almost entirely bare! Winter is forecast to hold on tightly this week: In the event of snow, please check with program leaders about scheduled events before venturing out.
Remember our parish policy for weekday activities is to follow the lead of the Guilford Public Schools: If school buildings are closed for the day; so are we. Here I'm writing about snow, and it is time to Begin Daylight Saving Time this Sunday! This is totally screwy! Remember to "spring forward" before going to bed.
With the beginning of Lent, we entered into a purple season. The altar and processional crosses are veiled in purple as a reminder of the "veil" of our human willfulness that separates us from seeing God. This is a jarring contrast to the season of Epiphany and its repeated revelations of God's presence in Jesus Christ.
Also this Lent, the altar is vested in a hanging we haven't seen for some years. It matches our purple chasuble and stole. Take a close look at the embroidered crown of thorns and three nails used to crucify Jesus. The loving care of the embroidery underscores the brutality of Jesus' passion.
With the blessing of the Vestry, and as part of our parish Lenten journey, we are "trying on" our new Mission statement. At both the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services, we are beginning our worship by proclaiming together and out loud, "Our Mission:"
To welcome all, provide hope, nurture our community,
celebrate our faith, and to express our gratitude
for God's love and Creation.
Over the course of Lent, we will get a sense for how the statement sounds, how it rolls off the tongue, and how it squares with what we believe God is calling us to do and be in this place.
A profound Sarum bow, to Jennifer Huebner, her helpers, and the Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet for last Sunday's moving insight into the experience of refugees through the medium of dance. The dancers held children of all ages spellbound!
Two things helped the Parish Hall look so good:
The Rev. Ann Broomell, our Celebration Sunday preacher, provides this week's reflection on "Our Holy Land" as she shares inspiring experiences of her pilgrimages to Israel and Palestine. A pilgrimage to our Holy Land brings one in contact with both the setting of the Scriptures and with challenging current events. One is moved to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" and all the Holy Land. You can find Ann's reflection here.
If you've been following Lent Madness this week, you learned why Raymond Nonnatus -- a monk who freed slaves -- became the patron saint of midwives, pregnant women and newborn babies, and the inspiration of "Nonnatus House" in PBS's popular series, "Call the Midwife." Just one of the great insights about this week's competitors for the "Golden Halo." Copies of the "Definitive Guide" are still available for $2 each. To participate on-line go to www.lentmadness.org.
In faith and hope,
"Compassion for Refugees" combines a brief contemporary ballet with an invitation to activities and conversation about the plight of Syrian refugees. The ballet Roar of Nations portrays the pain and struggle of leaving a war-torn country. The activities will help us un-pack the experience. Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet is bringing this event to our Parish Hall during Coffee Hour following the 10 a.m. service, this Sunday, March 5.
A word of gratitude to Shrove Tuesday Supper helpers including Dennis Burke, Katherine Frydenborg, Sheward Hagerty, Lisa Ste.Marie, and other helpful folks. Thanks to them the pancakes were terrific! The palm conflagration was perhaps a bit more exciting than planned, but left us ready for Ash Wednesday and to make a good beginning to Lent.
If it is Lent, it must be time for our Lenten Soup Suppers, and paired Rectory Forums. Andrew Doss will lead reading and conversation about a book from Episcopal author Madeleine L'Engle's famous "Time Quintet.". Andrew writes: A Wind in the Door follows her most famous A Wrinkle in Time. ... as it follows a group of children to save the galaxy from the forces of hate and restore harmony to the rhythm of creation." He'll share how this work of juvenile fiction "exemplifies" a major study of his.
The Lenten Rectory Forum begins this Sunday following the 8 a.m. service; coffee and tea will be at the ready. The Lenten Soup Supper series begins this Tuesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. in the rectory dining room. If you have a copy of A Wind in the Door be sure and bring it with you.
Although they don't claim the headlines, ministries of reconciliation and restoration are happening in Israel and Palestine. A ministry network within the Episcopal Church in Connecticut committed to "Our Holy Land" has organized weekly video introductions to these ministries. These week's is from our own Bishop Ian Douglas about his sabbatical experience in Israel and Palestine. You can watch it here.
Lent Madness -- the tongue-in-cheek takeoff on March Madness playoffs -- has also begun. So far we have learned about Saints Alban and Stephen, Aelred and Bishop Henry Beard Delany. Aelred's writing on friendship, and all that Bishop Delany endured and overcame made choosing between them particularly difficult. Which is what makes Lent Madness such, well, madness. Copies of the "Definitive Guide" are still available for $2 each. To participate on- line go to www.lentmadness.org.
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!