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