Father Harrison's Letter for 10/31/15
November 1st is All Saints' Day, and this year it's a Sunday. And as the first Sunday in November, this Sunday also signals the end of Daylight Savings Time and the return to Standard Time. So, please remember to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed Saturday evening!.
Sunday morning, we will wake up in Eastern Standard Time and to one of the great celebrations of the Christian Year. On All Saints' Day, we celebrate our participation in the fellowship of the whole fellowship of the saints: those we know, those who share this moment in history with us, and that great fellowship "which no one can count" of all those who, having gone before us, now live."in a brighter light, and on another shore." As our Communion prayers begin, we will name those dear to us who died this past year and were gathered to the great banquet table of the Kingdom. Later, and as we do every Sunday, we will acknowledge that we are praying "...with all the company of heaven..."
And we will add to "the household of God," by baptizing two people into the fellowship of all the saints. Yes, there are the heroes and heroines of the Christian faith whom we see in stained glass windows -- sometimes called those through whom the light shines; but, as one of our hymns puts it, "...the saints of God are [also] just folk like me,..." These ".. joyous saints who love to do Jesus' will," make the world bright, and through the waters of baptism, we'll make it brighter still.*
Our "membership" in the household of God begins with baptism. So, our Sunday School is hosting a special Coffee Hour, inviting us all to bring a photo and recollections of our baptisms. As children of God by adoption and grace, we will celebrate where and when we were grafted onto God's family tree.
As we renew our Baptismal Covenant, we first promise "...to continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers[.]" (BCP, p.304) And so it is that we continue to gather as a fellowship, sharing the apostles' teaching about the resurrection of Jesus, breaking the bread of the Holy Communion, and praying for one another, the Church, and the world. In "Glad Tidings Online," there's more about how I see our baptismal promises informing our fellowship. But you may want to look at GTO for news about our Daytime and Evening ECWs, Concertato, a new Cookbook, a Report from the Treasurer, and introductions to -- and terrific photos of -- our newest acolytes. Many thanks to copy editor Diane Barker, photographer Susan Shackford, and website guru Jane Ferrall for this latest on-line innovation.
In addition, GTO has more information about our "God's Call to Us" Home Gatherings for the fellowship of the saints we know as Christ Church, Guilford. These are being organized right now. Thanks to all who have responded. If you haven't, there's still time to complete a "What Options Work for You?" form. Emailed versions were sent out last week; print copies are available in the the church and rectory. Please bring them with you Sunday, drop them off, or respond via email. Your participation is important!
In faith and hope,
* "I sing a song of the saints of God,"(#293) is just one of the great hymns for All Saints' Day we will sing on Sunday.
p.s. At 5p.m. Sunday, the Eve of All Souls' Day, we'll offer our Recollection of All the Faithful Departed. This is an opportunity for prayers, stories and quiet to affirm our abiding fellowship with those "we love but see no longer," especially those who died in the past year.
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