One generous act inspires another: During Vacation Bible School, many of you kindly provided the children's mid-morning snacks. That inspired the children (and their families) to take up a collection of child-friendly foods for the Guildford Food Bank. Their donations now stretch down one side of the nave. There's an implicit Mission Challenge here to the rest of us: Could we adults, maybe, fill the window sills on the other side of the nave? Donations of fruit cups, peanut butter crackers, cereal and granola bars, and other easy-to-manage snacks or meals would help the Guilford Food Bank meet summer-time needs.
On Sunday, July 15, the Outreach team rolled out our first "Rhythms-of-Grace" service as the worship portion of a Beach Communion & Potluck. We began by tossing around a beach ball and sharing prayers, heard a story about the Lord's Prayer with color-coded props, participated in three different sit-down activities before learning stand-up motions to offer the Lord's Prayer with our bodies. We sang a song, shared communion and sang "Yes, Jesus loves me" complete with the ASL signs.
As we had been told to expect, the adults became just as engaged in the activities as the youngsters. And then the potluck supper was another delight for all ages! Thanks to all who participated in our first at-the-beach Rhythms service; thanks to our Outreach team leaders; and thanks to all who participated in the delicious potluck supper! We will use what we learned for our next Rhythms service and potluck on Sunday, August 12.
We are trying on something else that's new this summer: "An Open Door Policy." Specifically, Music Directory Mark Sullivan will open the southside front door during his organ practice sessions. And yes, an open door means folks are invited to come inside to sit and listen. This came in response to requests from passersby; please alert your friends who are walkers.
Speaking of hospitality, please consider signing up to offer "Lemonade Under the Balcony" following the 10a.m. service. Iced tea works just as well as lemonade, and a plate of simple store-bought cookies also fit the bill. There's ice in the refrigerator; cups and napkins are set out.
While Jack-the-dog and I are away, the rectory's wood floors (first floor) are being refinished. Thanks to Junior Warden Sue Shackford for organizing this undertaking! Thanks also to helpers Pat Daunic, LIz & Dirck Goss, Susan Leonard, Gene Bishop, David Oshana and Sexton Sheward Hagerty for the heavy lifting, and to Parish Administrator Pat Wakefield and Bookkeeper Melissa Lamoreaux for relocating their operations. While this process is underway, and the renewed finishes are setting up, you'll find the Parish Office temporarily relocated to the Guild Room.
In the event of a pastoral emergency, local clergy are on call. If I weren't on vacation, I would want to hear the Rev. Lynda Tyson preach at Christ Church the next three Sundays. Lynda+ directs the Annand Spiritual Formation program of Berkley Divinity School, the Episcopal seminary nested within Yale Divinity School. Therefore, to her preaching Lynda brings experience, insights and expertise, which are not mine. If you are in town, I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity! If, like me, you are traveling, I hope you have fair winds, plenty of sunshine, and low humidity!
This message comes to you from Alexandria, Virginia, where I'm visiting friends; the kids are returning from the pool and the dogs' naps are over. So, it's time to bring this letter to a close. Next week, I'm heading for Oregon.
In faith, hope and love,
No need to make breakfast at home this Sunday, July 1! Bring your breakfast appetite to worship with you on Sunday morning! Our InReach Committee is hosting another of their terrific French toast, sausage and bacon, fruit and juice breakfasts between Sunday's services. So, if you are an 8 o'clocker plan to stay after, and if you're a 10 o'clocker plan to come early. You'll be able to get caught up with friends from the other service.
Our Sunday worship will include the Collect for Independence Day in anticipation of July 4th. The two versions are in the Prayer Book on pages 190 and 242. Here's the latter:
Lord God Almighty, in whose name
the founders of this country won liberty
for themselves and for us,
and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn:
Grant that we and all of the people of this land
may have grace to maintain our liberties
in righteousness and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wherever, and however, you celebrate the 4th, I hope your day will include such a prayer of gratitude for, and commitment to, our nation's founding principles.
The situation of migrating parents and their children, and unaccompanied children, fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking refuge on the southern border of the United States, continues to command public attention. Given reports that family separation may be continuing in some places, here's a joint statement from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and other Catholic and Protestant leaders. Our own bishops, +Ian Douglas and +Laura Ahrens issued their own letter on family immigration; you can find it here.
The Episcopal Church’s General Convention will gather in Austin Texas July 5-13 to organize for the Church’s witness, ministry, and common life. Like our own Annual Parish Meeting, or own Annual Diocesan Convention, General Convention includes elections, budgets, policy-making and setting the rules (i.e. canons or bylaws) that govern the life we share, and the worship and witness we offer as a Church. One key difference is that General Convention does not meet annually, but once every three years; good thing, since it lasts for nine days!
The General Convention sits in two houses – the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, drawn from each of the Church’s 100 dioceses within the United States, plus the dozen or more dioceses in other countries (e.g. Haiti, Ecuador, Taiwan, etc.). Dioceses may send as many as four deputies, plus as many alternates, equally divided between clergy and laity.
One never knows what kind of coverage General Convention will receive in the popular press. Although the Church’s media office provides reporters with ample guides to help them understand the Episcopal Church, reporting is sometimes less than thorough. For example, in reports on the recent royal wedding, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was often reported as being a bishop from Chicago; while he was born outside Chicago, Bishop Curry grew up and was sponsored for ordination in western New York; he served parishes in North Carolina, Ohio and Maryland prior to becoming Bishop of North Carolina. He was elected Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in 2015. All that information was readily available to the press, but it was easier to report that he was a bishop from Chicago. So, if you read or hear a report that sounds odd, it may well be wrong.
This 79th gathering will likely reflect the issues of our day, as well as concerns for the Church’s own life: Immigration policy and practice, sexual harassment – including the #metoo movement, racial reconciliation -- creating a Beloved Community, care of Creation, and preventing gun violence, all effect how the Church organizes for ministry, how we worship, and how we order our common life as the Church. Karin Hamilton, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut’s (ECCT) canon for mission communication, has already begun to report on General Convention. If you already receive ECCT e-newsletters, you have already received Karin’s two pre-convention reports. If you haven’t and would like to get the straight scoop from the inside, with a special emphasis on things of interest to CT Episcopalians, then you will want to subscribe by clicking here; mark "General Convention 2018" at the bottom of the page.
Let us keep General Convention in our prayers -- for faithfulness in its deliberations, and safety in travel and its gatherings.
Hope to see many of you in morning coolness for Sunday breakfast!
In faith, hope and love,
p.s.: We have at least two -- Mark McNamara and Erik Mastalerz -- returning from a Pilgrimage Fellowship NYC Mission, and three -- Keelyn Ervin, Erik again, and mentor Page Pelphrey -- departing for the ECCT Youth Mission in the Dominican Republic this weekend. Let's give thanks for their commitment to serving our neighbors, and pray for their safe travel.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!