27 September 2018
The TAG SALE is here! Many of you are coming together to organize an amazing amount of merchandise for this Saturday's Tag Sale. I don't recall the contributions to the Sale previously taking over quite so many rooms! Although members of the Evening ECW have worked for months to organize this event, it will take many more folks to display all the items for sale! So, yes, your participation matters.
We can all participate in word-of-mouth PR for the sale! Please encourage your friends and neighbors to stop by and see what treasures await them! The forecast promises a lovely day for all Saturday's events on and around the Green.
Thanks so much to all the hardy folks who braved last Sunday's not-so-great forecast and grey skies to enjoy a fine "Picnic-Tables Picnic" All four of the new tables were filled to capacity, while other folks stood to visit, hovered around the grills and the buffet tables. This wasn't a dine-and-dash event; folks lingered to admire the handsome new tables, enjoy the fare, and catch up with one another.
Thanks to all who donated generously towards the cost- of-materials for the new tables; the labor was supplied by Mark McNamara and the Scouts he organized as part of his Eagle Scout project. (Organizing the picnic service crew of family and friends posed another leadership challenge for Mark.) As of the end of the picnic, almost $1,200 had been received, and we had almost paid for the materials for two tables. So, yes, your donation would help cover the cost of the other two tables. Please make your check out to Christ Church with "Picnic Tables" in the memo line.
Our Faith Formation group had been talking for some time about how to more effectively tell our story to one another and to the broader community, especially about our programs for Faith Formation, e.g. Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Acolytes, and Middle and High School programs. While Mark Sullivan manages our parish Facebook page and web site, individual program leaders are responsible for posting in the Courier and in other social media. Once upon a time, an attractive listing in the Yellow Pages would do; not so today. The Faith Formation group came to the conclusion that the entire range of our parish's programs would benefit from a more coordinated, regular and wide-ranging communication program. With that in mind, they wrote a job description, and a benefactor came forward to underwrite a very part-time (4 hours/week) Communications Director for one year. Although I was in on these conversations from the beginning, they saw this proposal through while I was away in August, presenting it to the Vestry. The Vestry has affirmed their support for this new staff position, accepted the gift (from an anonymous donor) for this one-year experiment, and authorized YFNR to seek someone to fill the position. If you are curious, or interested, please contact me, and I'll send you the job description. I hope that we can begin interviews after October 9.
I'm writing to you from Sewanee, Tennessee, where the School of Theology's Alumni Lectures concluded yesterday. (Today's my travel home day.) This year's lecturer was Prof. Charles Marsh from the University of Virginia; those of you who are reading Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Songs My Grandma Sang, may recognize him as the author of a highly recommended biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Strange Glory...Bishop Michael' quotes Marsh's biography to tell about the powerful impact of the African-American spirituals and Gospel hymns that Bonhoeffer first encountered while studying in New York City in the early 1930's. In his Sewanee lectures, Marsh expanded on that story and told about a 7-week spring road trip that Bonhoeffer took with some classmates through the Deep South. Bonhoeffer's intransigent opposition to "Hitlerism" was shaped, says Marsh, by his experience of American racism and the redemptive faith of the African-American church.
And, No. I did not escape a deluge of rain! Sewanee, and its environs, have also experienced major rainfall and spectacular thunderstorms every day this week. Between yesterday's storms, I was entranced by the flock (yes, flock) of hummingbirds at the feeders on my host's back deck. I've never seen the like!
I look forward to seeing y'all during the Tag Sale, and then as we rejoice on what y'all accomplished, during Sunday's worship.
In faith, hope and love,
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On Sunday, September 23rd we'll celebrate the beginning of our fall season with a picnic; but our usual "Welcome Back Picnic" will have a new spin. That spin is the completion of the four new cedar picnic tables on their pads of cedar chips. These handsome additions to the parish backyard are Mark McNamara's Eagle Scout project. And now we need to raise the funds to pay for them. So instead of bringing salads and desserts, please bring large bills or checks (made out to Christ Church)!. The menu for this "Picnic-Tables Picnic" includes hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, beverages and desserts.
On Monday evening, September 24 at 7p.m., Jennifer Huebner and I will gather with our young folk in grades 10-12, to begin a new venture. Since these folks are considered "adults" in The Episcopal Church, we're seeking to support these young adults in finding their places as adults in the life of the Church. We aim to offer this Young Adult Gathering on most "Last Mondays, with the occasional gathering or event at other times that the group decides to schedule..
The Picnic-Table Picnic and the Young Adult Gathering will complete the roll-out of our new school year. Our Choir returned to the balcony on the 9th; Sunday School (Pre-K to 6th grade), Youth Gathering (grades 7-9) and Rectory Forum all began their new year on September 16. Also on the 16th, the InReach Committee organized our Annual Ministry Fair. Susan Leonard and her team organized it beautifully! I understand that those sign-up, or inquiry sheets, will be available again on the 23rd regarding ways to engage in fellowship, formation, and service offerings within the life of the parish!
Speaking of our Sunday School, we received good news this week from St. Luke’s School & Church in Martel, Haiti -- the beneficiary of our Sunday School Helping Hands for Haiti fundraiser for three years! Earlier this month, the school had its first day of classes in their new three-classroom building, and worshiped there on Sunday. You can see a photo showing the children in their first-day uniforms on new building's front steps here! The Rev. Sam Owen was there and sent the attached report.
The devastation that followed behind Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas and Virginia kept me from complaining about the heavy rain we experienced from the tail-end of that storm system. (Happy news: We experienced no water incursions along the Sunday School hallway!) We are gratified and amazed to learn parishioner Suzanne Rogers and her family were able to return to their home in New Bern, NC, and found that the only damage to their home was caused by 50 loose shingles. The Rogers family is very grateful for our prayers and concern!
Episcopal Relief & Development is on the ground with local partners coming to the aid of those who are experiencing more severe loss and dislocation from Florence, and from Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines.. The Philippines? Yes, Episcopal Relief & Development partners with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines own E-CARE relief agency. You can learn more about, and support, the Church's worldwide witness to God's steadfast concern by going to ERD's website here.
Our Faith Formation group has been talking for some time about how we might more effectively tell our story to one another and to the broader community about our programs for Faith Formation, e.g. Sunday School, Acolyte, and Middle and High School programs. While Mark Sullivan manages our parish Facebook page and web site, individual program leaders are responsible for posting in the Courier and in other social media. Once upon a time, an attractive listing in the Yellow Pages would do; not so today. The Faith Formation group came to the conclusion that the entire range of the parish's programs would benefit from a more coordinated, regular and wide-ranging communication program. They wrote a job description, and a benefactor came forward to underwrite a very part-time (4 hours/week) Communications Director for one year. Although I was in on these conversations from the beginning, they saw this proposal through while I was away in August, presenting it to the Vestry. This week, the Vestry affirmed their support for this new staff position, accepted the gift (from an anonymous donor) for this one-year experiment, and authorized YFNR to seek someone to fill the position. If you are curious, or interested, please contact me and I'll send you the job description and try to answer any questions.
Last week I reported about the "Swords Into Ploughshares" program organized by the Newtown Foundation, YaleNewHaven Hospital and the New Haven Police Department. For Bishop Jim Curry, this is the story of his pectoral cross from the Mozambique civil war, come home to Connecticut. This week, parts of firearms voluntarily turned over to the Police Department were destroyed, and reforged as gardening mattocks. Bishops Ian and Jim were there, and you can find the story in the New Haven Independent here.
I look forward to seeing you in worship, at the Rectory Forum, and at our "Picnic-Tables Picnic."
In faith, hope and love,
A message from the Rev. Sam Owen, founder of the New York Haiti Project, with Good News from St. Luke’s School & Church in Martel, Haiti!
Good News from St. Luke’s School & Church in Martel, Haiti! For three years, Christ Church Sunday School has donated their Haiti Fundraiser proceeds to building and starting this school in the little town of Martel, Haiti. Photo is from St. Luke’s School first day in their new building, just last week! The Rev. Sam Owen was there and sent the attached report:
I am eager to share stories with you of our trip to Haiti. Mr. Laurent Louis, a farmer and resident of Martel, told me that many people in Martel believe that we have been sent by God to help them. Perhaps he’s right. I think they have been sent by God to help us.
Thank you to all who kept us in prayer last week. I could feel your support.
I wish you could have been there, to see the joy and hope on the faces of the children as they started their first day of school. Click here to see a clip showing the school in Martel. We hope to put together a short film soon. Stay tuned.
Below is a summary of our trip. For those who want more detail I am attaching a longer version.
Once again, thank you for your support. Your prayers and presence and material support mean more than you know.
The Rev. Sam Owen
Our Sunday morning Christian Education/Formation programs begin their new year this Sunday, September 16!
If it's mid-September, it's also time for our Annual Ministry Fair during Coffee Hour this Sunday, September 16. The range of opportunities for going a little deeper in the life of the parish with fellow parishioners will be on display; and, friendly folk will be on hand to talk about what's up in the range of ways to engage in fellowship, formation, and service offerings within the life of the parish! And there'll be goodies at each table to sustain you!
The devastation being wrought by Hurricane Florence is all over the news! Whenever such a disaster approaches, Episcopal Relief & Development starts getting ready to come to the aid effected communities. You can learn more about, and support, this important witness of the Episcopal Church to God's steadfast concern by going to ERD's website here. Our prayers for those displaced by Florence include parishioner Suzanne Rogers and her family in New Bern, NC; they're in temporary housing elsewhere. Our ECW will be keeping in touch and letting us know how we can be of assistance.
Earlier today, I was part of the Christ Church contingent attending the South Central Region's Convocation at St. Peter's Church in Cheshire. Chris George, director of New Haven's Integrated Refugee & Immigration Services, brought us up to date on the current challenges and opportunities which IRIS seeks to address. Although Chris is a great speaker, the highlight of the morning for me was Bishop Jim Curry's announcement of the upcoming "Swords Into Ploughshares" program organized by the Newtown Action Alliance and the New Haven Police Department. You may recall Bishop Jim's story about his pectoral cross, given to him by an African bishop; the cross was made from firearms given to the Church following the end of hostilities. In the New Haven program, firearms voluntarily turned over to the Police Department are going to be destroyed, melted down, and reforged as garden tools! Bishop Ian Douglas will be joining in the hands-on work. Bishop Jim asked us to watch for details about days and times.
I look forward to our conversations about the songs of Bishop MIchael's grandmother, about our opportunities for ministry together as Christ Church, and about our first day of Sunday School!
In faith, hope and love,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!