First of all, a profound Sarum bow to our In-Reach Committee for last Sunday's Meet & Greet breakfast! The French toast, sausages and cup of fresh fruit were delightful! Tables were beautifully set with wildflower bouquets, and most every chair was taken at some point in the morning. Folks -- including South Central Region Missionary Rachel Field+ -- were table-hopping to visit with as many as possible; so, an exact count was impossible. Some of us, who had heard about the breakfasts of years ago, now understand why those breakfasts are recalled so fondly. The Committee assures us that there will be more.
Our Outreach Committee and Vacation Bible School, invite us to help youngsters have what they need for new beginnings. During VBS, the children joined an effort to provide necessary items for newborn babies at St. Raphael's. We learned about this effort through Steve Varley, Laurie's husband, who works at Yale's School of Nursing. Not all of St. R's new moms have all the supplies they need when they take their babies home; our children were invited to help out. And they are inviting us to also help with diapers (newborn to Size 1), baby wipe packages of 75-100, and short-sleeved onesies. Please bring your contribution to the "VBS Mission Project" table in the Parish Hall.
The Outreach Committee's invitation concerns new-beginnings for children who are a bit older -- those starting a new year of school. We can help make sure every child in Guilford has all the supplies they need for the first day of school. It may seem cruel to be talking about School Supplies so far in advance of August 31, but we need to do the shopping now; so that Guilford Social Services can have them ready for children on their first day of school. Supplies most needed are: large backpacks, lunch boxes, composition notebooks, 1 & 3-subject notebooks, 3-ring binders with filler paper, and note cards. Please bring your contributions to the Children's Altar by August 6.
While Your Friendly Neighborhood Rector is on vacation, you have the opportunity to hear other voices and learn from other perspectives. On Sunday July 30, I hope you will take advantage of Benjamin Wyatt's preaching and leading of Morning Prayer at 8 and 10 a.m. Ben is a rising senior at Yale Divinity School, and hails from the middle of the “three great states of Tennessee.” A graduate of Nashville’s Vanderbilt University; he is a candidate for Holy Orders in the Diocese of TN. Ben and YNFR met in the course, “Bread & the Bible.” taught by Berkeley Divinity School's Dean McGowan in June.
On the following Sunday, August 6, well-known friend of the parish, the Rev. Kent Smith will celebrate and preach for the Holy Eucharist at 8 and 10a.m. Although Kent and Margaret actively participate in the life of New Haven's Christ Church (across from the Yale Bookstore), they live in Guilford, are active members of the local community, and occasionally worship with us -- most recently on July 23.
Jack-the-dog and I send greetings from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The whiz-bang thunderstorms here have kept Jack on alert, and given me the excuse to just sit on the porch and read.
May God's love and power continue to enfold us all,
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.
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