Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beijing Circles Conference Announcement

The Office of Women's ministries is beginning a NEW series of brief conferences across the country to introduce you to Beijing Circles!!

You're Invited to Join The Circle at the first event, scheduled for 10/12/2007 - 10/13/2007 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Beijing Circles are a tool which can help people educate themselves and one another about the issues affecting women globally and then to advocate within our church and the world to bring about positive change.
For more information contact:
Office of Women’s Ministries
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
800 334-7626 x 5346

Monday, July 30, 2007

Episcopal Health Ministry and Parish Nursing


National Episcopal Health Ministries (NEHM) announces an intensive 5-day course that emphasizes Episcopal traditions in the theology of health and healing, liturgy, polity and prayer. Practical aspects of developing Health Ministry in a local congregation are addressed. The course will be held at the Virden Retreat Center, University of Delaware from Aug. 27 – Sept. 1, 2007. Go to the following web link for further information: www.episcopalhealthministries.org/event/event.asp
or call the NEHM office at 317-253-1277 X34.

***Registration is limited to the first 20 participants. Health professionals other than nurses are welcome to enroll, as well as other non-professionals interested in learning more about general health ministry as a lay vocation. CEU credits are available.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

St. Mark's, Moscow: Love Spoken Here

Written by The Rev. Kristi Phillips, Diocese of Spokane, and reprinted with permission:

Once in a while I notice a sign in one of our churches that gives a clue about how that church sees itself in the community. Something like “Love Spoken Here,” or “Servants’ Entrance.”
A few weeks ago, St. Mark’s, Moscow, opened its heart to its town and practiced servanthood in some poignant ways in the midst of a tragic weekend. Late on Saturday night, May 19, a sniper sprayed dozens of bullets across a parking lot and into the Latah County Courthouse, killing a police officer, wounding a sheriff’s deputy and a civilian and then, apparently, killing a caretaker and himself at the First Presbyterian Church across the street. Earlier he apparently had shot and killed his wife at their home.
Just after 6 a.m. officers entered the church and found the bodies of the shooter and another man, later identified as the church custodian. Many in Moscow had heard the shots during. the night and across the Inland Northwest there were live television broadcasts early Sunday morning.
St. Mark’s is about four blocks from the Presbyterian Church in this ordinarily quiet college town. St. Mark’s Sunday service went on as usual with the Rev. Chris Coppen as supply priest. The small congregation had an opportunity to offer prayers that day for their town and for the victims and their families.
But later in the week, St. Mark’s and some of its parishioners had other opportunities to open their hearts to the community. Dr. Sharon Kehoe, director of the Campus Christian Center and a member of St. Mark’s, offered hospitality to the staff of the Presbyterian Church, displaced by damage to the church and an ongoing investigation. The church’s worship services also moved temporarily to the University of Idaho campus. Some St. Mark’s parishioners attended prayer vigils that were offered in Moscow during the week and a large, public memorial service for Lee Newbill, the police officer who had died. Still others from both Pullman and Moscow assisted with grief counseling.
But there was a smaller memorial service for Newbill that not many knew about, organized by St. Mark’s Senior Warden Ben Jeness and Newbill’s parents. They had been members of St. Mark’s in the 1970’s and 1980’s before Newbill’s father was transferred by the Marine Corps. Lee Newbill was confirmed at St. Mark’s in 1979.
Jenness and Newbill’s widow and parents planned a small memorial service, for family and close friends at St. Mark’s. He kept in touch with the family daily, invited the Rev. Mary Beth Rivetti from neighboring St. James’, Pullman to officiate, arranged for a musician and found people to furnish food for a reception.
Jenness said he learned to value of being present to the family and also of being flexible as the service grew from a handful of people to close to 60. “The prayer book is a pretty good guide, too,” he said.
Rivetti said that people in both the Pullman and Moscow congregations were called on to help with many aspects of the tragedy and responded generously.
She was honored, she said, to be invited “in the midst of something so profound to help gather people – to point to Christ in the center of pain.”
Rivetti concluded her homily at the memorial service,
“A police officer is called to protect and serve the community. Like a shepherd, the officer walks with the people in his care, and knows that it is possible that he will lay down his life for their safety. On Saturday night as the shots rang out, a young woman on her first night as a dispatcher crouched behind a filing cabinet in the dispatch office in the courthouse, and prayed the 23rd Psalm. Outside, Lee Newbill laid down his life for the community he had sworn to uphold.
“As Lee lay dying, as he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, our Easter faith proclaims that he was carried home by the one who laid down his life for us all, who washes away every tear, who has swallowed up death forever. Our Easter faith proclaims that the tears we cry today are being collected in the bottle of the One who made us know life and joy and sorrow and death. Our Easter faith proclaims that no part of the world is free from the love of God in Jesus Christ.”
Love spoken here? Absolutely. A small congregation answered the call to be servants in the midst of tragedy -- to minister quietly to a community stricken by pain and grief.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Church on the Beach

As an example of creative gatherings, I wanted to share information about a service my family and I attended yesterday. It was called “Church at the Beach” and is a ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield, CT.

It is a simple Episcopal service (drawn from Enriching Our Worship) held at 8:30 AM on the beach. People brought folding chairs, ushers distributed bulletins from sand buckets, the sermon was short yet powerful, being scripturally based with a practical emphasis and multi-layered in its message, and we stood in a circle for communion and offered bread and wine to each other. Music was a singer and a guitarist.

The service is summer only, and has grown to about 80 people on any given Sunday. It's a great example of thinking outside the walls and bringing Christ’s message to the people.
It might be something for your congregation to consider. Is there a lake near by? An ocean? A river? Are one of these places a popular weekend tourist destination? If so, maybe a satellite summer service is a way for you to reach out and meet people's spiritual needs in a new way...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

2008 Roanridge Application Period Open

June 1 opened the three month window for the submission of applications for 2008 grants from the Roanridge Trust. ALL applications must be postmarked by September 1, 2007. An application, and full information, can be found at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/smallchurch_51593_ENG_HTM.htm?menupage=51387

Specifically, the interest generated from the Roanridge Trust is to be used for the “training of town and country clergy and rural Christian workers of PECUSA” (now known as The Episcopal Church).

If you have further questions, please contact Sarah Johnson at sjohnson@episcopalchurch.org or me at swatson@episcopalchurch.org

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Free Resource!!!

The Rev. Katharine Hunt and Gail Loken from Christ Church Episcopal in Anchorage, Alaska, offer your congregation the following (free!) weekly resource. They produce the resource and e-mail it to your in-box so you can then easily e-mail it out to interested members of your congregation. It is a great lectionary-based resource and I am happy to recommend it for your further review.

Greetings from Alaska!

Join us in using Lectionary Life Links, a new, vibrant resource that
nourishes the spiritual growth of people of all ages. These weekly
bulletin inserts are free to you, funded by a grant through the
Roanridge Foundation.

Preview a sample at www.aswefrolic.org
(F.R.O.L.I.C - Fully Renewing Our Lives in Christ)

This resource is serving parishes in Germany and 19 states throughout
the United States in a multitude of ministry areas including shut-ins/LEM
ministry, Hospital visits, prison ministry, Intergenerational
Christian Education, Self/Home Study and as a sermon resource.

We invite you to contact us at lifelinks@aswefrolic.org to begin your free
e-mail subscription.

Blessings and Peace, and we look forward to hearing from you,

Rev. Katherine Hunt and Gail Loken
Christ Church Episcopal, Anchorage, Alaska

Monday, July 09, 2007

El Camino Real

Guest preacher and presider, Diocese of El Camino Real...

Greetings from the Diocese of El Camino Real--from another Diocese where the small church is alive with God's mission.

I'm here for one week, presenting in three different parts of the Diocese--Paso Robles, San Jose, and Marina. The first event was Saturday, and 48 congregational leaders (lay and ordained) from the Southern Deanery were in attendance. It was a day rich with sharing--statistics and resources (my part) and stories of vitality and examples of God's presence at work in the congregation (the leaders part). Sometimes I think I am the most blessed priest to be able to do this work, to share my own perception of where God's presence seems palpable and to listen to other's stories of God's amazing hand at work. To be able to share and hear these stories between diocese and Anglican provinces is truly phenomenal.

I wonder, where does God's presence seem most intense in your congregation?