Mission Tidings Newsletter

November 2014 


In This Issue
Reverend's Reflections
Why do I give?
Thank You!
A Basketful of Thanks
Stewardship 2015
Help Wanted- Name Tags
Friends of the Table
Oaxaca 2015 Trip

St. Luke's Links

Got News? 

Reverend's Reflections
St. Luke's Mariner's Cross

 

A theologian tells a story from his childhood: "When I was 8 yrs old I had a sister two years younger. One afternoon we were rough housing, and I had her on the ground and she was upset. My mother told me to stop. I replied, 'She's my sister, I can do anything I want to her.' In a few swift steps mother crossed the distance between us, picked my sister up, and said, 'She's my daughter; no you can't'."

 

Jesus tells a lot of stories that start 'the kingdom of heaven is like when___,' and uses examples from the everyday life of people over 2000 years ago. Shepherds, fishermen, a woman who has lost a coin, a prodigal son. The theologian's story surely could start with that same introduction, 'the kingdom of is heaven is like when___."

 

We hear the mistreatment of others due to an over inflated sense of entitlement and sense of power that says 'I can treat others this way because I can.' I have the money, or permission of society, or power. God, like the mother in the story, has a radically different perspective. She might be your sister, but she's also my child.

 

I truly wish some times that God acted in such a clear, unambiguous intervention into the lives of people I know who are dealing with cancer, domestic abuse, poverty.

 

Where I feel particularly powerless in all of this is those matters which aren't about power or economics, but cancer, mental illness and challenges to emotional health, degenerative diseases, and on and on. I would really like God to act like that mother at the outset and say, "No, because s/he is my child" and make it stop.

 

I turn in some consolation to three responses. First, God isn't afflicting people in the first place; God has not sent the disease or challenge as punishment or as 'growth opportunity.' We can grow with the challenges, with God's help, but we have to get cause and effect straight here. It's not Punishment-Challenge-Growth, but Challenge-Growth. Jesus came into the world as is.

 

The second is somewhat related: we are born into an imperfect world, and God gives us the intellect and skill to better our lives through medicine and research. This is a particularly Anglican/Episcopal perspective: the material world is not bad or evil, but is the field on which we struggle, with suffering but also remedy. Finally, God might not miraculously swoop in and change things, make a tumor verified by x-rays one day disappear the next day, but God gives us one to another for care, and health is much more than physical ailment, but is rather a way of our being with others as loved ones. For eons humans have understood health as something for the whole person...having purpose, having friends and family, an identity and self that is more than whether we are dealing with a cold on one end of the spectrum, or a terminal illness on the other. I have arthritis in my knee...surely I can be 'healthy' in a larger sense without having a knee replacement.

 

The largest reality in which we live, and move, and have our being, is God, who claims us each as God's very own and asks us to treat others accordingly. 

Why Do I Give?
by Joe Barthold

As a member of the finance committee, I was asked to address the question of " Why do I give? " referring to the time for meetings, as well as financially. As a cradle Episcopalian, and an active attendee for 25 years this is the first time I have ever given an announcement at church during a service, but for me, this one is easy.

 

It isn't what I give: it is what I get. St Luke's gives me STABILITY, GROUNDING, FELLOWSHIP,MUSIC, and a CONNECTION to the larger "church".

 

This all provides to me tremendous value. Like all of you, I exist in an environment of a mixture of stresses, challenges, and an occasional positive feedback. As a cancer physician, I get a lot of positive feedback along with some stresses and challenges. St Luke's helps with this balance. Life is a blend, a balance of yes and no. Thank you all and thank God for providing an offset to balance the challenges.

 

SO, THE REALITY:

St Luke's has $ 300,000/year in fixed costs. We pay the diocese a tax of about 10%, they tell us what salary and benefits are required for our employees. Then there is electricity, oil, mowing, plowing, etc. All non negotiable. And, we have a 50 year old infrastructure with mostly deferred maintenance. The firms that fix the appliances, roofs, parking lots, plumbing and heating all expect to be paid in cash, not promises.

So, Joyce and I contribute to that too. A delicate balancing act happens; short and long term agendas present challenges. We pledge and we support the capital campaign. St Luke's is fortunate to have a small endowment from various prior members who have included us in their estate planning. We hope you will too. These funds provide us $ 15000 -$ 20000 which helps with the budget.

 

As a church, we have tried two new approaches to lure people to our doors: a recent 2 year youth minister ( funded through a parishioner gift ) and a renovation to bring our bathrooms up to code and improve our appearance: both of these programs have helped somewhat. We have also tried to educate the parish community about the need to pledge to allow us to develop an annual budget.

 

My hope is simple. I pray that you will each reflect on the value provided and then step forward to support this wonderful part of your life.Thank You.

Thank You!                             

Leslie Dongara, Gail Meehan, Paula Rooney, and Ginny Kelty deserve our heart-felt thanks for overseeing this year's Harvest Fair. Thank you also goes to the section chairs and workers (kitchen, silent auction, baskets, bake table, country kitchen, children's games and toys, white elephant, knit goods, craft table, jewelry table, books, cookie walk, counters, etc.).

 

Thank you to Joyce Barthold for overseeing the potluck for Bp Gate's visitation to bless our new building additions and changes, and to everyone who made the event such a wonderful success. I give special thanks to Debbie Carleton and Jean Collier and the choirs of St. Luke's for this event and wonderful fall season of anthems.

 

Thank you to Yvonne McKerrow who oversaw the refurnishing of the narthex, and thanks again to that anonymous donor who made it possible!

 

Thank you to Bethany Bergin, our new director of Christian Ed for a great start to a new year, and Sundae Sunday.

 

Thank you to Mary Swigart and Jennifer Penney for restarting the Little Service at the start of Sunday School.

 

Thank you to all the Sunday School teachers of this new year: Adrienne Wood, Denise Fox-Barber, Chris Swigart, Joyce Lukacik, Gail Beaudoin, Janine Beal, Stacey Stratton, and Anne Johnson, and Grace Strong in the nursery.

 

Thank you to Joan Powers and Karen Stone and the other women of the kitchen who make our community dinners happen as well as outreach efforts to Friends of the Table in Brockton.

 

Thank you to George Boerger and his Stewardship Committee who are dedicated to making sure the parish is financially sound.

 

 

A Basketful of Thanks!                        

WOW! We did it again! The gift basket project for our Harvest Fair was astoundingly fabulous! Thanks to everyone's efforts, we produced 160 gift baskets. This table's offerings are the result of hours of time and multiple contributions from so many. Of note, sincere thanks to the church school for sharing their space for our workroom during October, especially to Joyce Lukacik and her third and fourth graders. Our A Team ( You know who you are, put your feet up!) of assemblers and decorators made it all happen! The many and varied gift items and foods products provided an exciting selection, thank you to everyone that donated and shopped for needed items. A special shout out to Martha and her "can do" office support with numerous bulletin notices and print outs.

 

Now--- Plan for next year! Please start collecting baskets as we have exhausted our supply. Baskets can be stored by dropping them off at church and we will tuck them safely away. As seasonal items go on sale, please buy a few things and put them away for next year. It is especially hard to buy Christmas items during our assembly time as fall is still displayed. Advance shopping is the best and most reasonable way to have things for next year! We will need to "amp up" our ribbon supply next year, too. Again, seasonal sales are the best times to get great themed (wired ) ribbons.

 

Congratulations St. Lukers, we are "wrapped up" for another year!   -- Cheryl O'Grady and the Basketeers!

Stewardship Drive - 2015      

If you have already pledged - Thank you! If you have not pledged, please pledge now. For 2014 we have several parishioners who give regularly (Thank You) but do not pledge. The reason that a pledge is so important is that it allows St. Luke's to budget for the upcoming year and to decide what we can do and also what we cannot afford to undertake. If you are a regular contributor to St. Luke's but have not pledged, please consider pledging for 2015.

 

As you contemplate your pledge for 2015 please consider the following thoughts:

 

Giving needs no more apology than does praying. In the Bible there are 1,539 passages that reference giving, while there are only 523 that refer to praying!

 

It's not how much of my money will I give to God, but how much of God's money will I keep for myself.

Help Wanted- Name tag maker
Did you ever wonder who made the name tags in the narthex? It could be you!  We need someone for this important (but simple) job. Takes just a few minutes to learn and supplies are provided.  Please let us know if you are interested. 
Friends of the Table- Main Spring, Brockton   
St. Luke's is responsible for Volunteers at Main Spring on Saturday, November 29th. Over 54,000 lunches were served in 2014. We will meet at the church at 9:45 AM. Would like to get some High School students involved... it does count as community service. There will be a sign up sheet. For information call Joan Powers at 781-545-9650 or joanpowers29@comcast.net.
Oaxaca 2015 Service Trip Planning                
Please let Grant or Denise know if you would like further information or want to commit to the trip, August 1 - 9, 2015, a Saturday through the following Sunday.