From Rabbi Stacy Offner:
Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.
Temple Beth Tikvah will host a gathering for the Shoreline Jewish Community and our Friends of all Faiths. Tuesday October 30th, 7pm, at TBT.
We will join together in solidarity and protest,
to celebrate our common values as Americans and to mourn our dead.
We are one human community, and we decry the hatred and violence that we see in our world.
May God send peace to the mourners.
May God cause peace to reign in our world.
Rabbi Stacy Offner
Temple Beth Tikvah
196 Durham Road
Rabbi Offner has invited me to offer a few words, and I have agreed to do so. Hope you'll join me at Temple Beth Tikvah.
28 October 2018
Today is Consecration Sunday! Today, we'll be invited, at both the 8am and 10a.m. services to prayerfully consider the portion of our income that God is asking us to give for God's work in the world through Christ Church in 2019. This is a spiritual question. The Rev. Scott Lee, a wise friend and valued colleague, will be on hand to help us through our prayers and reflections.
After completing our Estimate of Giving Cards, and placing them on the altar, we are all invited to the Celebration Lunch in the Parish Hall. Although this is a catered meal, Diana Stovall's team spent much of yesterday decorating the Parish Hall for today's lunch. I'm sure you will join me in thanking them for such splendid preparations!
Thanks to all of you who made reservations! This may be our largest Celebration lunch ever. We received reservations for 91 adults and ten children! Speaking of the children, Sunday School Director Laurie Varley will have a kid-friendly lunch and childcare/activities for younger children.
I hope yesterday's winds and driving rains did little or no damage to your home and garden, or to your route to participate in this morning's worship and celebration. Given the range of possibilities in the forecast, an abundance of caution seemed appropriate, and so yesterday's Halloween Howler was cancelled. I apologize for any inconvenience that cancellation may have caused. Perhaps I'll see you in costume during this afternoon's "Spooktacular Trunk-or-Treat," 2-4p.m., or on Halloween afternoon before dark.
On Saturday afternoon, when Bishop Douglas took the microphone at the Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, to share the heartbreaking news from Pittsburgh, his announcement and prayer was met with tears and stunned silence. That members of the Tree of Life synagogue should be so savagely attacked, with such deadly force, while they were at worship, poses a haunting irony. Genesis tells us that God planted the tree of life in the midst of the garden(2:9); the shooter entered a latter-day garden and chopped down a tree of life. Such appalling arrogance in the face of God's Providence! May God have mercy on the shooter.
And may God sustain our Jewish friends and neighbors, and us, in the face of such unvarnished evil. This would be a good time to check in with them, and to let them know that you/we care about their well-being. There will be a Prayer Vigil at 5p.m. today at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven, 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge, CT. This is an interfaith event; the sponsors are offering an opportunity to stand together across religious, racial, ethnic, and ideological lines to denounce hate.
The Prayer Book offers us The Supplication for times of national disaster, war and "national anxiety." These are such times! So, in addition to praying for the victims, survivors and first-responders, the Supplication will conclude the Prayers of the People this morning.
This life is a messy assortment of grief and sorrow, gratitude and celebration. I am grateful to share it with you.
In faith, hope and love,
p.s. Friday's Service of Thanksgiving and Committal for Matthew Shepherd within Washington National Cathedral, was another tearful occasion of grief and sorrow, gratitude and celebration. Made me proud to be an Episcopalian and a member of the National Cathedral Society. The service, and its service bulletin, are available here.
20 October 2018
Reservation cards for our Consecration Sunday Celebration Luncheon were distributed last Sunday, and will be distributed again during worship this Sunday, October 21. Your reservation is all you need "to make" for the Celebration Luncheon which will conclude our Consecration Sunday observance on Sunday, October 28. Because the lunch is catered, your planning team needs to have an accurate number for the caterer.
Sunday School Director Laurie Varley will also have a kid-friendly lunch and childcare/activities for younger children. So, there's a place on the reservation card to indicate how many children from your household she can expect. This way Miss Laurie will have adequate staff and food.
Frankly, I think this focus on "hospitality" is one of the brilliant aspects of the Consecration Sunday stewardship program. We're invited to think, pray and respond in terms of God's "hospitality" to us. We ask for God's guidance regarding the portion of our income God is calling us to give in 2019 to fund the ministries of our common life as Christ Church. And then, we will celebrate our collective responses on Consecration Sunday in the Celebration Luncheon.
I've heard lots of positive feedback regarding Bishop Laura Ahrens' Episcopal Visitation with us on October 14 -- both from y'all and from the Bishop herself. In her talk with the children, I heard something new to me: Her explanation of what her mitre, her "hat" as she calls it, means to her. Bishop Laura sees her "hat" with its two descending bands, as a reminder that as a bishop she is sent out to tell the Good News of God's love from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Hope the adults were as quick as the children in naming stories from each Testament that tell of God's love.
Perhaps strengthened by all the lovely goodies provided by the Vestry during the Coffee Hour, you all had many good questions for Bishop Laura. Given the follow-up questions I have fielded this week, I want to underscore what Bishop Laura said about the Cburch's response to Hurricane Michael. The Episcopal Church's agency for dealing with natural disasters is Episcopal Relief & Development -- some may remember its earlier name, "The Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief." Relying upon funds given for its work, Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD for short) supports on-the-ground partners -- especially local dioceses, parishes and church institutions -- in addressing immediate basic needs, and provides staff for training and coordination.
According to an October 18 ERD press release, in addition to food, shelter and medical supplies, ERD's support in the Diocese of Georgia and the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast (which includes the area where Michael came ashore) has also included providing generators! You can read the entire press release here, and make a donation to ERD's Hurricane Fund here.
There's plenty of time to dust off your old costume, and brush up on that talent you've been hiding under a bushel basket. Our Halloween Howler is coming on Saturday, October 27 at 4p.m. Performers in this costumed talent show can be of any age! Among his many talents, Music Director Mark Sullivan is the sort of gifted accompanist who can make even a meager talent look good. Don't hesitate to be in touch with him about how he might help you show off your talent!
Be sure and get your Reservation Cards in this Sunday, October 21, for next Sunday, October 28th's Consecration Sunday Celebration Luncheon!
In faith, hope and love,
This Sunday: The Bishop is Coming! CROP Hunger Walk in afternoon, Rhythms of Grace Special Attraction
I need to share some sad news before launching into this week's letter: Death came as a friend to Elliot Wilcox, husband of Nancy and longtime pillar of Christ Church, on Thursday evening, October 11. We will give thanks for Elliot's life and witness on Saturday, November 3, at 10a.m.
Children's Chapel, Sunday School and the Youth Gathering, -- which is to say our programs for youngsters Pre-K through 9th grade -- all return to their usual schedule this Sunday, and theRectory Forum will continue its discussion of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's book, Songs My Grandma Sang during the 9 o'clock hour in the rectory.
Remember Jesus' parable about the landlord who visits his vineyard to see how it is growing under the stewards' care? An Episcopal Visitation is something like that, and we're having one this Sunday, October 14! In particular, the Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut will preach and celebrate at the 10a.m. service, talk to the children at the Peace, join the parish for conversation during the Coffee Hour, and meet with the Vestry after that. Bishop Laura is coming to see how this "vineyard" is thriving in our care, and to encourage us in our life together in Christ.
It's not too late to register and/or donate for the Clyde Work Memorial CROP Walk scheduled for this Sunday, October 14!
October 14 being the second Sunday of the month, we will again offer a Rhythms of Grace service at 5p.m. in the Parish Hall.. Although designed for families with youngsters who have special needs, the service works just as well for folks who "need" to worship in the early evening.
A Special Attraction to this service will be the presence of Ms. Linda Snyder, one of the creators of Rhythms of Grace. Linda will lead one of the table activities that she designed. So, if you -- or some friends -- were thinking you might want to check out a Rhythms of Grace service, this Sunday's would be an especially good one.
Camp Washington has a number of excellent programs for adults that merit your consideration:
I look forward a busy Sunday with y'all and Bishop Laura!..
In faith, hope and love,
p.s. It's not to late to apply for our new, very part-time (4 hours/week) Communications Director position. Events of the past week pushed off beginning the interview process another week..
Blessing of the Animals to Honor St. Francis, Getting Ready for CROP Hunger Walk, Chapel on the Green Celebrates 10 Years
5 October 2018
Looks like we will have perfect weather for the annual Blessing of the Animals in Honor of St. Francis, Saturday, October 5! Please bring the creatures who bless your lives to the Green on leash, in crate, or in photo-form. We will again gather with our neighbors from First Congregational Church and St. George Church and all their friendly creatures at 11a.m. I think St. Francis would be pleased that we gather as fellow creatures to give thanks to our Creator for the wonders of Creation.
Children's Chapel, Sunday School and the Youth Gathering, -- which is to say our programs for youngsters Pre-K through 9th grade -- will not meet this Sunday, October 7, due to Monday's Columbus Day public school holiday. Nonetheless, childcare will be available in the Nursery, 9:45-11a.m., and the Rectory Forum will continue its discussion of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's book, Songs My Grandma Sang during the 9 o'clock hour in the rectory.
Folks who are interested in our parish life, will want to participate in the InReach Meeting, happening during/after Coffee Hour this Sunday, October 7.
It's not too early to get ready for the Clyde Work Memorial CROP Walk scheduled for next Sunday, October 14!
The Chapel on the (New Haven) Green will celebrate its 10th anniversary this Sunday, October 7 at 2p.m. There will be special music, including the Steel Drum band from St. Luke's Church, New Haven, and ice cream from Ashley's. Chapel on the Green was inspired by the Trinity Church youth group after they experienced the "common cathedral" on the Boston Common across Tremont Street from the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul. They looked around the New Haven Green, saw striking similarities, and wondered if the same sort of ministry could be offered there. And beginning 10 years ago, worship and a meal have been offered every Sunday rain or shine; like Boston's common cathedral, Chapel on the Green has grown to offer additional services, including a weekly "spiritual fellowship" of mutual support that meets at noon on Tuesdays in Trinity's parish hall.
Congratulations to all who labored in the TAG SALE vineyard here on Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday of last week. However early or late you arrived, your efforts were well-rewarded. There was a steady stream of would-be patrons even past the appointed closing hour. A whole lot of fine housewares, clothing and furniture found new homes. Folks were treated kindly, even in the face of some preposterous requests. From the items which didn't sell, you selected an array of items to handsomely outfit a kitchen for a new refugee family being resettled by IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigration Services).
I look forward to seeing you, and the pets with whom you share your home, on the Green for the Blessing of the Animals..
In faith, hope and love,
p.s. I hope to begin interview this week for our new very part-time (4 hours/week) Communications Director position on Tuesday, October 9.. If you are curious, or interested, please contact me, and I'll send you the job description, and how to apply.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!