Mission Tidings Newsletter

January 2016


In This Issue
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Reverend's Reflections
St. Luke's Mariner's Cross
 
Dear People of God at St. Luke's,

Goodbye 2015. Personally, 3 surgeries, July basically lived in South Shore Hospital. Followed in the fall with a 15 year old dog put down. A wisdom tooth pulled, some other challenges not mine to share.
 
I am heart sick at the loss of those who died this last year from and known to the parish, the diminishment and sorrow of others.
 
I grieve the hatred and judgmentalism about others which seems to have a voice louder than compassion as well as the causes of human suffering world wide.
 
So my first instinct is to say adios 2015.
 
But then there was my daughter's graduation and the job she started working in a free dental clinic, doing intakes and case management. We had a great trip to England. I had good doctors and nurses. My wife I can't thank enough for all she was and did, on top of her own formidable work talents. The parish staff, wardens, and volunteers, vestry, clergy who stepped in were wonderful. I'm not saying goodbye to all of the good and holy. Those abide, the hard stuff passes.
 
I just saw the newest Star Wars film, revisited the mythology of The Force which surrounds all things, moves through all things. This force has a light side and a dark side, and the implication is that both need to stay in balance. That mythology is a great jumping off place for saying that we have God, not an impersonal force. This God is personal, knows each of us. God, revealed in so many ways, comes as the infant Jesus. When he grows to a man Jesus teaches us to see the Holy in one another and around us, to love our neighbors and our enemies, to trust in God and not fear the evil. The Holy Spirit is a gift to each of us, not a select few heroes. Our reality looks decidedly different than the one on the big screen.
 
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. 2015 had its moments I'm glad are behind me. The good stuff though, it comes along for the journey into 2016.

In Christ,
 
Grant
Christian Education Calendar                   
Jan. 3                         NO CLASSES
Jan. 10                       Regular Classes
Jan. 17                       NO CLASSES
Jan. 24                       Regular Classes
Jan. 31                       Regular Classes
Twelfth Night Celebration                          
January 5th is the last day of Christmas (you know, the twelve days of Christmas, leads up to the visit of the magi, the Epiphany). At 7 p.m. we'll have a short outdoor celebration, great for children and adults: Three or four Christmas trees we will burn along with our written out goodbyes to the things of 2015 that we are glad to see depart. We'll have some brief prayers, maybe a song. This is an old tradition in Christianity, a new one for St. Luke's (although one I've celebrated in other places in the past). In royal courts in history there was revelry, sometimes men and women dressing like one another, a 'king' for the night crowned from the children who could command adults to do silly things. We're going to keep the feasting part of the celebration: s'mores, hot chocolate, mulled wine-a version from the childhood of one of our German parishioners who attended Twelfth Night celebrations.
 
Who knows? Maybe the Three Wisemen might even show up with some surprises!
 
This is a light but genuine educational opportunity for all ages: to remember that Christmas doesn't end when the wrapping paper is all picked up. That the Epiphany is the revealing of Jesus to the world in the form of foreign dignitaries who come to see the Christ Child (by tradition, there is a king from Africa, Asia, and Europe). The Epiphany starts the season of the same name as well as Carnival, which ends on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and the next day, Ash Wednesday and Lent. We have seasons for celebration, for introspection, and it's all woven into our faith life and calendar.
 
*  Our Twelfth Night fire will of course be outdoors, in the parking lot. Just to reassure: we have the requisite town permit, the fire will be much further than 75 yards from any building, no trees looming overhead, fire extinguisher present just in case, sand on the ground, and the trees in a fire pit, which is portable not a hole dug in the parking lot. The Fire Department even said they might have a truck come over if available from across the road to finish off the fire when we're done. What's for kids not to love? Fire, s'mores, and a fire truck to end it all!
Renewal Works: Some History 
By now I hope you've heard or read about Renewal Works, a program offered through the National Church. Although it's relatively new, it has been offered at over 100 Episcopal churches now. St. Luke's involvement began three or four summers ago when the program launched and the priest who heads the national effort met with five area clergy and lay people from each parish to hear about it. Attending along with me were Paul Antenore, Cheryl O'Grady and Jane Shea. The details of the 'how' and the 'what' of the process are elsewhere here in the newsletter as well as available in several formats at St. Luke's. What I want to underscore here is that after that meeting several summers ago I knew that it could be a useful tool for growth at St. Luke's, but the timing had never seemed right. We are now clear of competing efforts such as the capital campaign. I look forward to finding where this process will lead us, and I urge your prayerful participation in the survey, and if you feel so moved, to be part of the focus groups which will meet four times this spring. I know of two other local parishes which plan on also using Renewal Works in the next year or so as well.
Stewardship 2016  
We Are Very Close Please Help!   
 
As we enter 2016, the Stewardship Committee would like to thank all those who have pledged. We currently have received 85 pledges totaling $193,859. Our goal for 2016 was 100 pledges for $195,000. If you have not pledged, please be one of the 15 more we need to reach our goal. The Stewardship committee wishes you peace, health and prosperity in 2016. Happy New Year!
Christmas Clean Up- Sat., Jan. 9th
Since there are twelve days of Christmas we will wait until Saturday the 9th of January to take down and put away all the Christmas decorations. Anyone who would like to help please be at the church at 9:00 AM. It never takes as long to take down decorations as it does or put them up. Many hands make light work. All the flowering plants will be on a table in the Parish Hall, please take a plant or many plants home with you.
Renewal Works is coming!           
This January we are going to kick off a program called Renewal Works. Renewal Works is a process by which our parish will consider our spiritual growth, individually and collectively. We will look at what we're doing that helps that growth, and where we have growth opportunity.
 
How does Renewal Works work? It begins with an online, confidential, anonymous inventory (or survey...questionnaire) taken by as many parishioners as possible. We will put all those answers together and come up with a snapshot of our congregation, some useful data for deciding what's next. So you can see why we need as many people to participate as possible. The inventory will be offered beginning on January 24 and the link (which will be communicated to members of the congregation closer to the 24th) will be open for three weeks.) For those of you who are don't have a computer or don't like to do things on them, you will be able to take the survey by hard copy with time set up after services to help you.
 
After that, a group of parishioners will meet for four workshops, to ask four questions: Where have we been? Where are we now? Where are we called to go? How will we get there?
 
So get ready to take the inventory, prayerfully consider if you're being called to participate in the workshops (they will be held in January through early March and we're looking for a commitment from 10-14 members to attend every workshop, but anyone is welcome to attend, observe and/or participate as best you can. So please keep this process in your prayers, as we seek to be faithful to God's call to our congregation.
 
If you have any questions, or would like to participate in the workshops, please see Paul Antenore or email him at pantenore@comcast.net
Altar Flowers & Sanctuary Candles- 2016
This beautiful St. Luke's tradition continues...if you would like to dedicate the weekly Altar Flowers or Sanctuary Candle in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for blessings, please sign up on the new 2016 charts, which will be posted soon in the narthex. The cost of the flowers is $55, the candle is $10. Thank you!
Missing Blue Tablecloths!   
We are missing 5 of the blue tablecloths used for Community Dinner. If you have taken them home to launder, please return them as soon as possible. Thank you!