Dear People of God at St. Luke's,
In May I was in Oaxaca, Mexico for two weeks. The first was with Kelsey, my daughter; we stayed with a local family while taking Spanish lessons. The second Denise joined us
for. Good food, a relaxing time.
I learned something new (well, in addition to verb tenses and all of the logistics of negotiating mass transit there). We went to a local town outside of the major city, St. Ana Zegache. The once beautiful church which had fallen into hard times had recently been restored by a workshop of craftspeople-local people trained in restoration. This dramatically colorful building sits in the midst of tin and concrete block shacks that are part of the poorest state in Mexico.
One striking feature of the church was the use of mirrors. That's where the new learning came. Built in the 16th century the church of course had no electricity. Instead mirrors were set around the church to reflect the candle light. OK, that's sensible enough, although the fact that no two mirrors were the same size nor with decorated frames in consistently similar colors and carvings would make some contemporary people a little nutty with distraction I suspect. The original mirrors were being restored and kept in the museum there; they have electric lighting now.
Both copies of the original mirrors and contemporary artistic renditions were part of the workshop production.
What I learned though is that mirrors have long played a spiritual as well as practical role. Mirrors are emblems of introspection, of access to the soul. The proliferation of mirrors not only increases light, but multiplies the presence of the saints on earth gathered together to worship. Now all of this would have driven the reformation Puritans to further acts of simplicity, in horror that the other association with mirrors, vanity, was so present. Spiritual practices vary from location to location, people to people. I'm always open to learning new ways of connecting, looking. After all, the alternative, judging and condemning, doesn't strike me as Godly, at all.
Thank You to Everyone Who Participated In Children, Youth and Family Ministry in 2012-2013!
CHURCH SCHOOL TEACHERS: Adrienne Wood - pre-K and K,Denise Fox-Barber - 1st and 2nd, Communion Class,Joyce Lukacik - 3rd and 4th, Jen Murphy - 5th and 6th,
Maureen Keys -5th and 6th, Ann Johnson - 7th, 8th, 9th, Rev Joyce Scheyer and David Catron- Confirmation Class (9th and 10th grades)
CHURCH SCHOOL TEEN ASSISTANTS:
Samantha Murphy, Olivia Hourihan, Molly Rafferty, Jake Harriman, Jenelle Miller
CHURCH SCHOOL SUPPORT TEAM: Rev Joyce Scheyer,
Martha Tansey- administrative assistant, Chris Pierce -sexton,
Gayle Beaudoin - parent assistant, Jake Harriman- teen assistant, Odile Bartley- nursery, Bethany Bergin- nursery
CHILDREN AND YOUTH MINISTRY SPECIAL HELPERS:
Paula Jewell and David Catron - Teen Friday Movie Nights,Jamie and Colleen Strobino - Teen Friday Concert, Kittie Marrone-
Church School Music Resource Person, Yvonne McKerrow, Gayle Beaudoin, and Joan Powers - Advent Wreath Workshop, Odile Bartley and Yvonne McKerrow- Christmas Pageant, Linda McDowell - Handmade cross bookmarks for Communion Celebration, George Ackley, Bill Lincoln, Ron Swan - Sunday morning table and chairs setup, David Catron - Grillmaster for June picnic, John McDowell, Linda McDowell - Transfer Station coordinators, Corbina Foucart, Karen Hirsh- Transfer Station teen mentors, Gayle and Nick Beaudoin, Denise Fox-Barber, Kayla and Pam Billard - Easter Egg Hunt, Justin Stratton, Tracy Dieselman, Foley family, Russ Wood - Transfer Station trucks, Carol and Ed Malouf - E.P.I.C. teen overnight chaperones...And so many others who helped at various events this year!!!
SAFE CHURCH TRAINING: Thanks to the following who completed all or part of the free online training for adults who work with children in the Episcopal Church called "Safeguarding God's Children": Carol Malouf, Ed Malouf, and Yvonne McKerrow.
DIOCESAN FALL YOUTH DAY: Buzzard's Bay
Jillian and Jason Robinson
Diocesan Youth Leadership Academy (YLA):
Diocesan Leadership Development Initiative (LDI): George Malouf and Carol Malouf
TEEN FRIDAY YOUTH EVENTS, YOUTH GROUP, & E.P.I.C. LDI EVENT: Ian Stobino, Phoebe Strobino, Sarah Tyrcha, Adrienne Wood, Spencer McKinnon, Josh Hirsh, Zach Catron, Sarah Catron, Jake Harriman, Elianna Buckley, George Malouf, Maddey Parker, Jillian Robinson, and Marley Schwarz
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES 2013:
A new chapter is beginning for a wonderful group of our members who graduate from high school this year. Each receives a special gift from St Luke's to remind them of their church home here. We hope to hear from all of them often even though some will be moving away to college. Please send us address updates and join us on SKYPE. Congratulations to: John (Jack) White, Sheila Strong, Abby Foucart, Olivia Hourihan, Sarah Finnegan, Ben Antenore, Joe Sweeney, Anna Smith, Annie Miller, Sam McGowan, Kyle Compton, Brian Ferguson.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH OUTREACH (ADULT MENTORS): Michael McKinnon - Scavenger Hunt for Food Pantry,Beth Schwarz and Karen Hirsh - Stone Soup, Joan Powers - The Table (5th Saturday in month with Nancy Curtis, Paula White), Maureen Keys and Jen Murphy- Appalachian Service Project, Nancy Reynolds and Bill Reynolds - Long Island Shelter , Outreach Committee - Community Dinner.
Angel Choir (Children) and Young Adult Choir (TEENS): Debbie Carleton and Jean Anderson-Collier
ACOLYTES: The Rev Michael Marrone
Community Dinner- June 23 at 5 PM
Please join us for Meatloaf, Potato Casserole, Carrots, Salad and Strawberry Shortcake! Volunteers are needed to make the meatloaf and potato casserole. Recipes provided. Please look for the sign up sheets in the narthex. Thanks for your support!
Friends of the Table- Sat., June 29
Volunteers are needed to serve the meal at The Table in Brockton. Please sign up in the narthex. Contact Joan Powers if you have any questions - 781-545-9650.
Alexander Gassel Works of Art for Church
From Palm Sunday through the end of Easter season we had a wonderful exhibit of art, traditional and contemporary, from Alexander Gassel who is a Russian trained artist and is also now on staff as restorationist for the Icon Museum in Clinton, MA ( http://museumofrussianicons.org/en/ ). A trip to see it is well worth it. From that exhibit, parishioners formed an ad hoc committee in the back of the church one Sunday-Jane Shea and Cheryl O'Grady, to purchase the smaller, traditional icons. One, a cross similar to that of San Damiano in Assisi-the one which legend says spoke to Francis with the command, "Fix my church," was given by the Donahue family in memory of their daughter Suzanne. We have collected enough donations to also keep the Virgin Mary with infant Jesus. St. George is going back to the artist's studio. The San Damiano cross will remain over the door at the back of the church. Where we will put the Virgin and Child will be decided in consultation with parishioners; we have several rooms in the church with art, but none of it religious.
A Word About Icons
Icons are representations of holiness-people, events, concepts. They are most commonly used by our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. Anecdotally though I know that our Cathedral in Boston and St. John Chrysostoms in Quincy not only have icons in the sanctuary, but up near the front, with a candle burning.
Icons are not pictures. They are windows in to divine reality. The gold around the people or event portrays heaven It is not a display of wealth or ostentation any more than the clothes or jewelry we wear to church does: each person can be said to be a living icon of Jesus.
Icons are said to be 'written' not painted, much as the divine words of books are written: signposts to encountering the divine.
Icons are not worshipped. They are tools for worshipping, for entering in contemplation into the realm of God.
To pray in front of an icon is to cast a meditative gaze at the image, to enter into the larger story of God's revealed salvation history with us. We can do much the same with scripture passages. To read over the words slowly, prayerfully, and being open to whatever the Spirit might be saying to us, today, afresh and anew even through familiar stories.
While icons are used most commonly by Eastern Orthodox, they are present and used in other liturgical churches. Any image, stylized in the Byzantine form or in some other (for example, a work by Michelangelo, or stained glass windows) can serve as an icon of God's presence. Other people are even spoken of in this manner when someone embodies or does something that brings the observer's attention to the holy.
The earlier church went through a crisis, of iconoclasm, when some objected to any human-made representation of God's creation. While the Puritan/Calvinist wing of the Reformation church returned to this perspective, the earlier church, and many traditions today, affirm the correct use of images to remind us and teach us about God.
In part because of this concern though icon writers make sure to portray at least something in the image that is 'distorted,' such as a hand that is overly long. Like makers of Oriental rugs who include an imperfection deliberately into each rug, icon writers thereby avoid the appearance of trying to rival the perfection of the true Creator.
Additionally the San Damiano cross is a great reminder of a crucial time in art history. Previous to the rise of perspective, painting in 3D, that came about with Renaissance artists such as Piero della Francesca, western and eastern art shared the same visual appearance. This cross is a western work of art, from the Gothic period.
The icon of the Virgin Mary and child is in a traditional Russian style. Mary is the Theotokos, the God-bearer.
International Mission Trip Being Planned
The Outreach Committee has been discussing the opportunities for St. Luke's parishioners to go on an international mission trip. This has become a reachable goal practically-financially-because of the diocesan capital campaign. Part of those funds will go into matching grants, up to $10,000, for parishes who qualify.
Part of the criteria includes expanding the presence of Episcopalians from Massachusetts into the world, into places of need, in relationships that have the potential for ongoing relationship after the initial trip.
Grant has taken parishioners from a previous parish to Panama. Key to planning is preparation of participants as well as details worked out for the site being visited: transportation, accommodations, a defined project, down time planned, safe and reliable food and water, local people who will help.
Elsewhere in this Mission Tidings you may have read about the Barber vacation to Oaxaca, Mexico. It is a colonial town. 70 percent of residents make their money from tourism. The surrounding country side is extremely poor in places-comparable to that of remote African villages. Health care is sparse outside of the city. Over 70 percent of the people in the larger state of Oaxaca, of which the city is the center, live in extreme poverty-what the bread-winner makes today will pay for the necessities of tomorrow. In Oaxaca are several organizations which work with children; the average child only achieves a 6th grade education. These education outreaches are accustomed to welcoming church and other charitable organizations.
Denise had found one organization and volunteered there while we were on vacation. We are now sponsoring a child, Jose, so that he can now buy a school uniform to attend regular school (uniforms are required but not provided, and he was not going to school due to his lack). Further, it pays for school supplies and helps run the outreach to children like him. Another, similar organization works specifically with children of prostitutes; a third with children from the make-shift neighborhood that has grown up around scavenging from the dump.
Added bonus: there is an Anglican Church in Oaxaca, small in number but faithful, made up of mostly expatriates and snow birds in the winter.
This Mission Tidings article is meant to plant the seed. In September the call will go out for people to meet for a special information session. Here are some of the details, as far as they are being thought of now:
--trip would be in late June of 2014, for 10 days (inclusive of a day traveling there and one returning).
--target of 10 parishioners (adults and youth), but not limited to that number
--each person would need to raise $1,000 toward the larger cost.
--those choosing to go on the trip would meet once a month for basic Spanish phrases (for those who need it); some history and cultural education; spiritual reflection. It is possible that a retired Episcopal priest in this diocese, formerly also of Harvard Divinity School, who has a condominium in Oaxaca would come speak with us.
Save the Date- June 26, 7 - 9 PM
The Discernment Committee for the new Bishop will be at St. Andrews to elicit ideas from lay folks around the skills and gifts for the Bishop Co-Adjutor. All are invited to attend- long term Episcopalians and newcomers.
Gift Basket Reminder
As we clean out closets, visit yard sales and shop the clearance aisles, please keep the needs of the Gift Basket Table on your mind. We depleted our supply of baskets this past fall and will need all sizes and types. If storage is a problem for you, bring them to church and we will safely tuck them away. Items that are ALWAYS needed include- linen and paper napkins; candles; coffee cups; tea pots and cups; baking items; pretty dessert plates; theme dishes- ie pasta, Asian, ice cream, holiday,etc; wine glasses; note cards and stationery; new books, CDs and DVDs; pet items; children's things; soaps and "spa" items; gardening items; car care items; hand towels and tea towels. You can probably think of more!
Our offerings at the Fair are amazing, and, we are always surprised by the unique basket concepts that are created. Please keep the baskets in mind and start gathering now!
Due to my scheduling issues last year, we moved forward the two weeks that the baskets are prepared. This had a marvelous result! Everyone had more time to help ( not being the two weeks prior to the fair!) and the horrid feeling of being "under the gun!" did not happen! We hope to use the same schedule this year. Having materials "at the ready" will help to get the job done easily!
Please contact Cheryl O'Grady with any questions or storage needs at 508-209-3308 or e-mail email@example.com . As always, a huge thank you to everyone for supporting this project.