Thursday, November 19, 2015

Dear Friends,
Happy Thanksgiving!   This newsletter will reach you earlier than usual as our Tablet “elves” have been given the day before the holiday off--thanks to Talia Terhune, Marcia Ruhl, Darliss Eitel and Carol Reeder for their help sending out the Tablet each month.  We appreciate your faithfulness and are grateful for each of you!

The turkey and pie leftovers will still be in the refrigerator on Sunday the 29th , when we at church will turn our eyes and hearts to the Advent Wreath and begin a new season.  And so Advent and a new church year begins!  Our Collect for the first Sunday of  Advent reads:

                Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in                                                 which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that  the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty                 
                to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
                now and for ever. Amen.                                                                                                                                                                         Book of Common Prayer p. 211

In his book, Listening To Your Life, Frederick Buechner writes that “all of the   paradoxical themes of Advent are compressed into that handful of words...They all but deafen us with their message at one and the same time of sin and grace, justice and mercy, comfort and challenge”.  They also bring to light the paradox of who we are as human beings and where we are—somewhere between the darkness and the light.  He goes on to say “that is where we are as Christians, not just at Advent time, but at all times.  Somewhere between the fact of darkness and the hope of light.  That is who we are”
I must agree.  We live at times in the light and also at times in the darkness.  Advent comes at a time when our natural world is giving way to the darkness and our lives  begin to close down a bit.  It is a time to take a breath and perhaps sit for a moment, allowing that darkness to bring us some peace and stillness.  Try it for a moment in the early morning or evening.  The Christmas mania that is already upon us can easily take over if we don’t take a few moments to quiet our hearts and prepare for the coming of the light;  Jesus, the light of the world, the infant who comes to save us, but also the Christ, who will come to each of us on our last day.   We are called to make space for him, here and now, preparing our hearts to  receive the light of Christ.

I must admit that I got caught up in the whole Facebook argument about Starbucks  coffee cups and the “War on Christmas”!  So silly….the culture that believes Christmas is about decorations in the town square and reindeer and wreathes on coffee cups is what is undermining Christmas.             We don’t need all that to prepare for the coming of Christ.  In fact, it often draws us away from taking the quiet moments that we need in order to prepare for this event.  So please, tone down the Christmas music in the mall, take Santa off our coffee cups and don’t decorate your stores the day after Halloween!  THAT might actually enhance Christmas, not destroy it.  We “Keep Christ in Christmas” by observing the season of Advent, caring for the poor and homeless and giving gifts where they are most needed.

As we move from darkness to light, I pray that we may all keep our focus on sharing the love of God with our families, friends and neighbors, for that is the true meaning of Christmas and the way we most honor God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ.

Advent Blessings,  Karin+

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dear Friends,

“Do not neglect to do good and share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God”
Hebrews 13:16

It’s Stewardship time! Hmm…if you are new to St. David’s, or the Episcopal Church, or
the church in general, you may not have any idea what that means. Hopefully by now
you have received a letter from me asking you to consider your yearly financial “pledge”
or “intention” to our church for 2016. I thought I might tell you a bit more about the
theology of stewardship here.

Stewardship can be defined as “caring for what God provides in a way that is pleasing
to Him”. God, out of an abundance of love and care, provides all we need to thrive and
grow as humans and as disciples. We are asked to give back to God for the care of the
church and of our world. We do this in three ways, through gifts of time, talent and
resources. Throughout the year our parishioners are very generous with their time and
talent, thanks be to God! But in the fall, we make a particular plea for your prayerful
consideration of financial resources.

The Biblical standard of giving is a “tithe”; 10% of what we are given is to be returned to
God. In the Hebrew Scriptures, this is referred to many times (Leviticus 27:30;
Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). Nowhere in the New
Testament is a percentage given, but Paul writes that giving should be commensurate
with income (1 Corinthians 16:2). This is a spiritual matter, a matter that is best
considered prayerfully with gratitude for God’s abundant love. The tithe is a standard
that we all are asked to work towards. Over time, my family has been able to get there,
and I must say that we find it freeing. It reminds us that we are not dependent on our
bank account, that, in fact, we are entirely dependent on God’s Grace, which is always
sufficient. I hope that you will take seriously the spiritual benefits of working towards the
biblical standard of tithing.

Here at St. David’s we don’t publish a church budget and then ask you to support it.
Instead, we ask for you to look at your own personal budget and decide what
percentage of your net income you will give back to God. This is between you and
God—no one else has any say. When we receive your intention for giving for the
coming year, we know what we have to work with, and your vestry can begin to build a
budget that supports God’s mission here at St. David’s. It’s up to each of you what that
budget will look like in 2016.

As always, I am grateful to each of you for all you are and all you joyfully share with our
church. It is an incredible privilege to be here with you as partners in God’s mission for
our church.


Blessings, Karin+

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October 1, 2015

Dear Friends,



As I write this note to you, it is the first day of Autumn.  The hours of light and   darkness are equal

and the earth is in balance.  Our collect for last Sunday reads as  follows:

“Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly;

and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast

to  those that shall endure…” BCP. 234

There are so many things in our own lives and in the world around us that pull us away from our

faith in God, it is good to remember these words.  At a time when creation is changing and plants

and animals will begin their winter hibernation, we are reminded that life naturally ebbs and flows.

We see that our present circumstances will not always be as they are and appreciate what we

have right now, knowing that life changes faster than we can imagine.

All through these changes, the one thing that endures is the love of God for each of us and for

creation.  As we change, as our lives and loves change, God is the one constant.  This knowledge

helps ground me as life swirls around me and change comes either too soon or not soon enough.

God’s promises endure and the love of God is the one thing we can count on.

Let’s not hold too tightly to our daily worries and concerns, our prejudices and judgments, our own

faults and the faults of others.   Life is too short for that.  And the problems our world is facing are

too immense.

So…do we just sit back and say “God loves, me and I don’t need to worry about  anything else”?

No…of course not!   We are to pray as if God is in charge and work as if we are”!  The love of God

will see us through and give us what we need to confront the problems we face.  We give what we

can, we build wells through ERD, we support those trying to help the refugee crisis in Europe, we

pay attention to the environment,  we write to our prison pen pals and we do our best to care for

God’s creation.  And we pray.  Thanking God for all we have been given and for the love that

sustains us.

Would you like to learn more about the power of prayer?  Please join me on Saturday, November

15, for an afternoon entitled “Enriching Your Prayer Life” where we will learn about prayer, about

how to focus on God’s enduring love and strengthen our relationship with God, which is our sure

foundation.   Our labyrinth will be open for walking and prayer all afternoon.

Blessings,

Karin+

Thursday, September 10, 2015

July/August 2015

Dear Friends, W hen you hear the word “ministry” what do you think of?? Many people immediately assume that it means the work of a “professional” minister—or deacon. That is an unfortunate misconception. The “priesthood of all believers” is an important theological concept in the Anglican tradition and one that often gets forgotten.

Our ministry at St. David’s is not just about the rector or the deacon, or the priest associate or the seminarian. It is about ALL of us working together to cooperate with God’s mission in our world. It is the work we do here at church and in the name of our church, but it is also much more than that.

As Christians, everything we do in life can be considered our ministry. Our care of the animals in our homes and in the wild, our gardens, even doing the dishes, all are our ministries. Marriage is a ministry that many are called to, and when God’s love and commandment to love one another are consciously and prayerfully included, life together works much better. Certainly for parents, caring for children and bringing them up to love Jesus and their neighbor is an important ministry. Caring for elderly parents and neighbors can be more fulfilling and less frustrating when thought of in terms of ministry. I could go on and on….I hope you see that everything we do in our lives is an opportunity to bring the love of God in Christ into the world.

When we see our interactions with others and our work, both at home and in our professional lives, as ministry, we are more aware of God’s presence everywhere and in everything. This is the reality of our lives as Christians; ministry is not restricted to activities in our church building or by our clergy. Ministry is life—it takes time and prayer, but it is the stuff of everyday life.

Everything we do can be a part of God’s mission of bringing love and reconciliation to our world. You and I are a part of that mission, and with God’s help, we can do our part in bringing the Kingdom to fruition.

Blessings to each of you for a summer of refreshment, rest, lots of fun, safe travel and enriching time with those you love. That’s ministry!

Blessings, Karin +
September 2015

Considering it is the beginning of August, I am surprised that my head is already spinning!! You all have been very busy this summer and I am trying to catch up….thanks to Deanna Emerson and Carol Rodgers for the backpack drive for Rise, our Community Garden team for all the healthful produce delivered to the Rise Food Pantry and to our St. Paul team for their efforts. We also traveled to St. Mark’s community center this month to help with their efforts to minister to their community by providing 2 meals a day and a food distribution program. St. David’s is certainly getting out into the world!!

“Way back” in late June, I had the honor of being a Clergy Alternate Deputy to the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City; AKA #GC78! It was eye-opening, inspiring and exhausting all at the same time. I was with 5 other clergy, 8 lay deputies and our two bishops, +Chip and +George, along with many youth representatives and other lay and clergy people from the diocese. It was a great group and I enjoyed sharing meals and fellowship with them as we did our part to serve our amazing church. Part of the pleasure of the trip was getting to know these faithful people better. I was reminded that my formation as a Christian is deepened and informed by engaging with and being formed by other faithful people. This was certainly the case at GC78. I was able to volunteer as a page at two sessions of the House of Deputies (HOD) and at one, I entered into a
discussion about mission with a Haitian nun! It was a gift to hear about her experience and ministry in Haiti. There were many other lay and clergy people that I got to talk with, especially while in the “Alternates Gallery”. These moments were among the best. This was a “paperless” convention and we all received iPads to use during the event! A great innovation, for sure.

Other memories: The Rev. Gay Jennings, President of the HOD, was a gracious and proficient presider, who kept her sense of humor throughout. The group, Bishop’s United Against Gun Violence (including our own Bishop), held a march in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday morning at 7 am. We chanted a prayer throughout the entire march and I was struck by what a different spirit that gave to this gathering. It was a deeply spiritual movement and I was so proud of our church. The election of Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina to be our next Presiding Bishop—it was very inspiring and exciting to be there when he was escorted into the HOD by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. The approval of liturgies for Same-sex Marriage was an affirmation of what we have been doing for some time, but the grace and respect shown to and by dissenters made me proud to be an Episcopalian. The Exhibit Hall was amazing!! So much to learn, so many people to talk with…so much paper to bring home!! Please check out the back bulletin board at church where I have posted as much as could fit there—I will be posting more as space provides. Our church is present in so many places, to so
many people, it is awe inspiring. I loved re-connecting with friends made at the E-formation Conference I attended in early June, and enjoyed “tweeting” with them as the HOB and HOD debated funding new forms of Evangelism!

All in all it was a worthwhile, enriching experience that gave me a sense of just how big, diverse and engaged in mission our church is. Once again, I am reminded how grateful I am to be an Episcopalian!


Blessings, Karin+

Monday, June 22, 2015

They Met to Read the Bible

They Met to Read the Bible
ST. CHRISTOPHER 7.6.8.6.8.6.8.6 ("Beneath the Cross of Jesus")
 
They met to read the Bible, 
they gathered for a prayer,
They worshiped God and shared with friends
and welcomed strangers there.
They went to church to speak of love,
To celebrate God’s grace.
O Lord, we tremble when we hear
What happened in that place.
 
O God of love and justice,
we thank you for the nine.
They served in their communities
and made the world more kind.
They preached and sang and coached and taught,
And cared for children, too.
They blessed your church and blessed your world
With gifts they used for you.
 
We grieve a wounded culture
Where fear and terror thrive,
Where some hate others for their race
And guns are glorified.
We grieve for sons and daughters lost,
For grandmas who are gone.
O God, we cry with broken hearts:
This can’t continue on!
 
God, may we keep on sowing
The seeds of justice here,
Till guns are silent, people sing,
And hope replaces fear.
May seeds of understanding grow
And flourish all our days.
May justice, love and mercy be
The banner that we raise.
 

Tune: Frederick Charles Maker, 1881
Text: Copyright © 2015 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com
Permission is given for free use by local churches and in ecumenical services.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Message from June 2015 Tablet

Dear Friends,

“Come Holy Spirit and set our hearts on fire” is a prayer often recited before a sermon is preached. We have just celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost. Coming fifty days after Easter, the Holy Spirit breathed new life into the small group of disciples left behind when Jesus ascended into heaven. The beginning of the Church!

On the Day of Pentecost, we celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit in a big way at St. David’s. The Right Rev. George Councell, XI Bishop of NJ, was with us for a service of confirmation, reception and reaffirmation. AND Mrs. Ruth Councell was with us as we celebrated receiving the final set of the liturgical hangings and altar paraments commissioned by St. David’s. The red hangings for Pentecost and Palm Sunday are glorious! We are so grateful to her for sharing her artistic gifts with us. I am very grateful to all of you for the donations that have made our collection of liturgical banners and vestments possible. We celebrated as 3 young people were confirmed and 6 adults received and reaffirmed!

The disciples were so filled with the Holy Spirit, that even though Jesus was no longer with them, through “a spirit of adoption”, they became Children of God. And so we are. Children of God and heirs of God with Christ (Romans 8:14-17). As the Church, we are the Body of Christ and also Children of God. All this because of the presence of the Holy Spirit, received by the disciples over two thousand years ago. But that was not a “once for all” event. The Holy Spirit still breathes life into our church and the church all throughout the world. I believe that that is the reason, despite our obvious human failures, that the church still exists. Because the Holy Spirit breathes new life into her and into each of us as disciples of Christ.

St. David’s has experienced this new life in so many ways over this past program year. Meirs Hall has led us into new life, new community, new ways to serve and into new fellowship with one another. Our new Community Garden will provide nutritious vegetables for those who receive food from RISE as well as those within our church. We have welcomed new members over the past year whose gifts have given new life to our worshiping and serving community. Our new Way of St. Paul team will help breathe new life into our lives as disciples and into our efforts to form new disciples. The Holy Spirit is definitely moving in our church and in her people.

I hope each of you will come to church during the month of June to see the fire of the Holy Spirit writ large in our new liturgical banners. Our church is on fire! And we pray…

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Amen.

Blessings, Karin+