February 23, 2019
Thanks to our InReach group for hosting last Sunday's Breakfast Conversations. The tables were beautifully set, the breakfast casseroles and pastries were delicious, and the conversations lively!
Watch your inbox this week for the debut edition of our new Parish ENewsletter. Edited by Communications Director Donna LaFata, this e-letter includes articles about the range of activities in the life of the parish. For each article there's an illustrative photo or graphic; so, the e-letter starts off looking back at what we've been up to since the first of the year: The Epiphany Evensong -- with a photo of the "Holy Family," the "Guiding Star," and the "Kings." a great photo of some of our Chapel-on-the-Green servers, and news about Acolytes, the Altar Guild, Annual Parish Meeting, and what-to-do about trouble spots on the Sunday School carpet.
Since Lent begins on March 6, most of the newsletter is about our Lenten activities: Shrove Tuesday supper, Ash Wednesday, Lent Madness, Lenten Forums and Suppers, and the Sunday School's annual Helping Hands for Haiti Fundraiser. There's also news about the Evening ECW, the daytime ECW, Disciple Dinners, and the Men's Group, Thanks to all the contributors to the E-Newsletter; thanks to Donna for putting it together in an easy-to-read fashion, and thanks to the benefactor who has underwritten Donna's work!
Our Sunday School and Youth Program return on February 24 from their Presidents' Day break. The Sunday School will be focusing on Jesus' teachings -- especially the Sermon on the Mount. That's the Gospel according to Matthew's version of what we're reading now in worship from the Gospel according to Luke. Luke's version is called the "Sermon on the Plain." As I noted on February 3, the "mount" and the "plain" are right next to each other on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Rectory Forum will also return on Sunday: We'll be focusing on Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's address to the "Episcopal Revival" at last summer's General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Hosted by the Diocese of Texas, this event was attended by some 5,000 folks from the Convention and the larger Austin community. His topic: "The Good Life."
I'm going to ask your forebearance this Sunday. On some Sundays, Music Director Mark Sullivan and I slip in one unfamiliar hymn that we think would be good for us all to know. Our reasoning is that there's something noteworthy about the text and/or the music which illuminates the season or the readings of the day. It's usually the Communion Hymn, which is sung mostly by the Choir, and with their leadership, it sounds as if we've been singing this previously unknown hymn for years..
This week there are two unfamiliar hymns -- at least I think they're unfamiliar. Don't blame Mark; this is all on me. The first is the Sequence hymn, the one before the Gospel reading: Praise to the Holiest in the height. The text reinforces the epistle reading from first Corinthians about how Jesus redeems humanity from our wayward sinfulness; both St. Paul and John Henry Newman, the author of the text, use the expressions "Adam" for humanity, and the "second Adam" for Jesus.
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) began his ministry as a priest, poet, and theologian of the Church of England, Newman was among those who worked to restore pre-Reformation sacarmental theology and liturgical practice to the Church. Resistance to this High Church movement, also known as the Oxford Movement, led Newman out of Anglicanism and into the Roman Catholic Church which he served as both priest and cardinal. There is a charming, and perhaps apocryphal story, about Evensong services in Westminister Abbey during which Cardinal Newman in his later years, could be glimpsed, hiding in the shadows, and in tears. He is the author of a favorite prayer, #63 In the Evening:
O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest,
and peace at the last. Amen. (BCP, p.833)
The other unfamiliar hymn (#677) will be the Communion hymn: it begins, however, with what I think is a familiar line:
God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.
The tune may be a challenge, but again the text speaks to our readings, and will be part of my sermon.
I look forward to our Sunday morning together.
In faith, hope, and love,
Dick Whitney has died.
February 20, 2019
Death came gently for Richard Whitney yesterday at 6:10p.m. with family at his side. Although he appeared full of energy and cheerful the last time we saw him on a Sunday, he had been under hospice care for some months now. At dinner on Sunday, Dick told his daughter that he thought the time was near, and he was ready to join Georgia.
I have met with family members, and they have requested that we hold the service for Dick this Friday, February 22, at 11a.m. And so that is what we will do.
Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord,
and may light perpetual shine upon him.
God's Peace be with you all,
6 Epiphany: Round-Table Breakfast Conversations; Sunday School Holiday;Winter Break Report
February 16, 2019
As noted last week, our InReach Committee is hosting Breakfast Conversations at our new round tables, on Sunday, February 17 beginning at 9a.m. These occasional breakfasts provide an opportunity for folks from both the 8 and 10a.m. services to sit down with each other, share something tasty to eat, and have a chance for conversation.
All that's required to participate in a Breakfast Conversation is to show up! The committee organized the breakfast at their meeting last Sunday, and there were no sign-ups. Hope to see you there!
Given Monday's President's Day School holiday, our Sunday School and Youth Program will not meet this Sunday, February 17.
Minutes of the February 10 meetings about Faith Formation and InReach were posted shortly afterwards. Watch announcements and calendars as plans unfold. Two items from those minutes will invite more discussion and wider participation:
Speaking of my winter break, I can now keep up my end of conversations with you about four recent movies -- The Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice, and Boy Erased. Curiously, they are all "bio pics" of one sort or another. Also saw the touring production of Rent; the actors were uniformly terrific, and had been in diapers at the time of the first tour!
Maybe my interest in biographical movies was spurred by the two biogrpahies that I'm reading. I've finished Hatched, Matched & Dispatched: The Life & Times of the Almost Reverend William Billow. Will is a friend with great skill as a story-teller, and he has amazing stories to tell. He was the long-time chaplain of St. Alban's -- the school for boys of Washington National Cathedral.
Although not written to demonstrate Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's "Way of Love," I couldn't help but notice how Will reports walking that way to Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go & Rest with those in his care I'll point to some snippets from the book as we, with others throughout the Episcopal Church, take stock of the Way of Love for our Sunday morning Rectory Forums and Tuesday evening Supper Conversations during Lent and Eastertide.
I look forward to worship, conversation and breakfast with you this Sunday, February 17. If you're traveling this President's Day Weekend, I hope you find yourselves refreshed and rested!
In faith, hope, and love,
5 Epiphany: Faith Formation & InReach Meetings; Rhythms of Grace; Annual Parish Meeting Report
February 9, 2019
This will be a busy Sunday for Christ Church of Guilford! In addition to our chief work on the Lord's Day -- worship of Almighty God (at 8a.m., 10a.m. and 4p.m.), our Sunday School will gather, and there will be meetings about two important dimensions of our life together: Faith Formation & InReach. Both meetings are scheduled to happen during/following Coffee Hour.:
At the Annual Parish Meeting, we had an opportunity to do two Rhythms of Grace activities, -- writing "Gratitude Cards" and coloring, dressing, gluing on hair (er, yarn) to turn a plain doll figure into a person in church. And we saw again, how these activities engage children of all ages and abilities. Take a look at the big "church" poster, and notice how all the figures are welcome and included. We strive to be just like that.
Thanks to everyone who helped serve and clean-up after our Annual Parish Meeting, and to everyone who participated in the meeting itself. I think we accomplished our business with dispatch! We elected Alicia Bacon Junior Warden, Ed SeibertTreasurer pro-tem, Mardee Moore and Gabriela Cabrejo to three-year terms on the Vestry, Sue Shackford to a two-year term on the Vestry, and Bill Cuddy to a three-year term as one of our Convention delegates. Re-elected to an additional one-year term were Senior Warden Rose Robinson, and Parish Clerk Susan Leonard. The Nominating Committee for the 2020 Annual Parish meeting will include Gabrielle Johnson, Diane Link, John Mayo, and Lisa Ste. Marie.
In other business, we thanked retiring Treasurer Michael Crossley and Vestry Members. Peter Marks and David Oshana, heard from Finance Chair Ted Sands and Michael about our 2018 financial situation and our operating budget for 2019; and we set February 9 as the date for our 2020 Annual Parish Meeting.
Please welcome the Rev. Lynda Tyson as celebrant and preacher at the 8 and 10a.m. services on Sunday, and the Rev. Mary Anne Osborn as celebrant and one of the activity leaders for Rhythms of Grace at 4p.m. I will be holding you all in prayer at St. Paul's in the Desert; I just hope the hymns and music will be as inspiring as what Mark and our Choir have planned for y'all in Guilford.
In faith, hope, and love,
4 Epiphany: Annual Parish Meeting; Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord; Chapel on the Green Report
February 2, 2019
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!