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,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!