Light in the Midst of Darkness, Thanks for Support of Chili Supper, Cookie & Wreath Sales, Pilgrimage Podcast
December 8, 2018
As I write this letter to you, the sky to the west has become partly overcast, and the bright sunshine of earlier today appears only through the cloud breaks. It's the middle of the afternoon, and I'm going to have to turn on the table lamps! However, seven lights are burning on the menorah on the Green -- six for the six days of Hanukah so far and one for the central shamash -- "helper" or "servant" -- used to light the others. At dusk, the seventh day will begin, and another light will be lit. At that time, electric candles will be also be coming on in windows around the Green, and the tree first illuminated a week ago will come on in all its glory.
And why does all this matter? Because whether Jewish, Christian or none-of-the-above, we live in hope that darkness will not prevail, and we choose to make the light of compassion and hospitality mark our life together. We recall with our Jewish neighbors, the story of how the light that signaled God's abiding presence in the Jerusalem Temple was miraculously sustained For the same reason, we keep a sanctuary lamp burning in our chancel as a sign of Jesus' abiding presence with us; this "sign" points to Jesus' sacramental presence in the blessed bread and wine reserved in the tabernacle. For all of us, this season of increasing darkness has its limits, and new light, additional light, will appear.
Even before Hanukah or the season of Advent officially began, Christ Church supported the Town's November 30th Tree-Lighting. Hats off all around to those whose efforts made our participation so successful. Chili Supper chief organizer Jennifer Huebner, counted 56 people helping with the setting up, preparing, serving and cleaning up for the Chili Supper! Thanks to one and all; and special thanks to Jennifer, and chefs David Jones and Peter Johnson. Those involved in serving were kept busy as the evening progressed; only three precious and modestly-sized containers of chili remained for Sunday's silent auction. The cole slaw and cornbread were history! David estimates around 200 guests were fed, and I'm told the net proceeds for Guilford Interfaith Volunteers’ Meals-on-Wheels program approached $1,000.
Thanks also to all those who baked such delicious cookies for the ECW's Cookie Sale. Some cookies were bought for dessert, but most to take home for holiday entertaining. Again, almost the entire inventory was sold out.
The Wreath Sale was a total sell-out. The wreath on the the driveway door to the rectory is one of the 50-some decorated by our young people. (The wreath on the rectory front door is courtesy of the Guilford Garden Club with special thanks to Alicia Bacon!)
As part of our Advent preparations, we decorate the Mitten Tree and become Angels-Under-the-Balcony. The Tree's mittens, caps, gloves, and scarves, plus toiletries and candy, are for our neighbors served by New Haven's Chapel-on-the-Green -- to help keep warm folks who live on the margins of plenty. The "Angels" hanging under-the-Balcony are visible reminders of Christ Church's historic ministry to help keep our neighbors warm by helping with their heating expenses through the Town's Heating Assistance Program.
Our Sunday School's Advent observance began by making Advent wreaths for use at home, and continues with preparations for this year's Nativity Pageant. There's still room around the manger for angels and friendly creatures -- both human and animal!
"Coffee Hour at the Commons" is a podcast hosted by Karin Hamilton and Alli Huggins, communications staff for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT). They interviewed Bishop Laura Ahrens and me about the upcoming ECCT Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, June 9-19. We talk about what a pilgrimage is, where we will be staying, some of what we will be visiting, and some basic stuff about travel to the Holy Land. I hope you'll give the podcast a listen, and perhaps consider joining this journey. You can find it here; click on Episode 26 --2019 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The Pilgrimage will be the subject of conversation for this Sunday's Rectory Forum. We'll watch the video on the information page (preview it here), listen to the podcast, and then I'll do my best to respond to questions and pick up some loose ends.
Watching rebroadcasts of the ceremonies in Texas and Washington, DC, in which the country gave thanks for the life and witness of President George H.W. Bush, consumed my evenings Tuesday-Thursday. Here's a statement from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry who was one of the presiders at Wednesday's State Funeral in Washington National Cathedral.
In faith and hope,
p.s. We will gather with Sheila Bruce's family to give thanks for her life and witness in a service on Saturday, January 12 beginning at 11:30a.m..
p.s. #2: Just so everyone's on the same page: An angiogram on Monday of this week confirmed that an issue which slowed me down last month, has been resolved by an adjustment to my meds. Thanks for your patience, prayers and good wishes!
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!