Although Guilford students will be in class for another seven weeks(!), for our seminary-intern Graham Marsh, classes have concluded and final exams begun at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Accordingly, on this Sunday, May 6, Graham will conclude his time with us, During his internship, Graham has been a faithful participant in worship with our 8a.m. congregation, rotating through chalice bearer, intercessor and lector roles, and likewise assisting at 10a.m. as his commitment to our high school youth allowed. Leading high school gathering has been Graham's primary role at 10a.m. Sunday mornings.
Along the way, Graham has preached as his schedule permitted; and, I think we would all agree, he has grown wonderfully as a preacher. All this, while he completed the massive amount of written work required to earn Yale's Master of Sacred Theology degree (S.T.M.). Graham will receive his degree later in May and be ordained a deacon, God willing, on June 9th in Trenton, NJ. Graham is in discernment with the Bishop of New Jersey about opportunities to serve.as a transitional deacon, and in due course, as a priest. If you would like to participate in a "Godspeed" purse for Graham, please put his name on the memo line of a check or envelope to Christ Church. Gifts may be placed in the offering plate or delivered to the parish office.
Later this Sunday, May 6, Christ Church will host an introduction to "Rhythms of Grace," a worship and fellowship experience for the whole family, specifically attuned to children with special needs. Linda Snyder, one of the founders of Rhythms of Grace, will be with us at 4p.m. to lead us through a typical service, discussing the design as she proceeds. Our Outreach Committee encourages interested parishioners to participate in this introduction and in the next-step in discerning whether this might be a service Christ Church could offer to the larger community.
Having participated in one of Linda's Rhythms of Grace services myself, I can attest that this is hands-on worship -- with Sunday School crafts and songs rolled into worship. It occurs to me that a monthly (the typical pattern) Rhythms of Grace service might provide Christ Church with an opportunity for service as well as another opportunity for worship for those whose school or sport commitments keep them away on Sunday mornings.
Eight Christ Church folk attended the Episcopal Churchwomen of Connecticut's Annual Meeting on Thursday. Attendance was up, and I think that was because the Rev, Becca Stevens, was the speaker. No one was disappointed! Becca+ is an author, social entrepreneur, Episcopal priest and the founder of Thistle Farms which "offers women hope and healing through a holistic residential program, employment with one of our social enterprises, and a growing national and global network dedicated to changing a culture that allows human beings to be bought and sold."
Becca+ told the gathering that she learned from Episcopal Church Women what she needed to know to lead a multi-million dollar company, particularly from ECW bazaars! She learned about making products by hand that people enjoy, and selling those handiworks to support good works. Thistle Farms' natural beauty and bath products are made by the women who participate in Thistle Farms' residential program, and the proceeds support that program. Becca introduces Thistle Farms here.
Speaking of the work of the ECW: Last Saturday's fine lunch of delicious homemade soups raised almost $600 to support our Evening ECW's Parish Hall projects. And our daytime ECW's "Roses for Mother" is still receiving names and contributions; look on the Ushers' table for announcements and envelopes to honor and remember women who have been important in your life.
As one of the seven Christ Church folk who participated in The Big Sleep Out last Saturday night and stayed until the rain began early Sunday morning, I learned a lot -- both from the presentations and from the experience of sleeping on the Guilford Green: Homelessness begins with trauma and/or disease; one often leads to the other, as a spiral leads further beyond an individual's control. No one chooses to be homeless; but we can choose to come alongside those who are, and help through agencies like Columbus House.
I hope to see you this Sunday as we bid Graham, Godspeed; and as we learn about Rhythms of Grace.
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!