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,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!