Thursday, August 30, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Have you noticed? The altar hangings in our sanctuaries, and the vestments that Deacon Maryan and I wear…They’ve been green for quite some time now (since the first Sunday after Pentecost, way back on May 27). They’ll stay green for weeks more still, all the way until Christ the King, the last Sunday after Pentecost, November 25, the very last Sunday of the church year and the brink of Advent.
In the church’s calendar, this is the “Season after Pentecost.” We count the Sundays, one by one (this week is the 14th). It’s also called “ordinary time,” not because it’s everyday ordinary predictable, but because of the counting of Sundays with “ordinal numbers”: first, second, 17th, 23rd, etc.
I got in the habit of calling this “the great green growing season” thanks to Godly Play, the Montessori-inspired program of children’s Christian formation (which Maryan and I have both taught in at other parishes). The long season of green Sundays between Pentecost and Advent coincides with spring and summer for us, as the fields and forests all around us green up and grow again for another year.
The “great green growing season” of the church can be a reminder to us all that we are meant to keep growing as Christians. God is not done with us at the moment we are baptized; we do not “graduate” from learning about our faith or from growing in love for God and our neighbor at the moment we’re confirmed. Nope. Our growth in faith and love, our spiritual growth, is a life-long thing.
That’s why we’re so fortunate to have been invited to take part in RenewalWorks, a program of Forward Movement (the “Forward Day by Day” folks) this fall and winter. Here’s how the folks from RenewalWorks describe what it’s all about:
“RenewalWorks 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. What, you ask, is spiritual growth? One way to describe it is in terms of relationship. In the spirit of Jesus’ great commandment, in which he called his followers to love of God and neighbor, it’s about how we can grow and go deeper in that love, in those relationships.”
The on-line link for the anonymous Spiritual Life Inventory (as well as plans for taking the inventory on paper, for those who are not computer users), will be shared on Sunday, September 16. (Data from the inventory, which will give us a snapshot of our overall spiritual health, and help guide us as we plan.)
And—so very fittingly—that’s also the Sunday when we will all worship together, at a single 10 a.m. Sunday service, in Old Trinity Church in Holderness, at 926 NH Route 175 in Holderness.
This was the place where the Episcopal church took root in this region, which makes it all the more a joy to return there, all of us, on Sunday, September 16. We’ve set the time at 10 a.m., in part to ensure that if anyone arrives unsuspecting in Ashland for a 9:30 service, they can get down the road to Holderness and be on time for church.
Make a note in your calendar now, for this all-parish worship service: Sunday, 16 September 2018, 10 a.m. service, Old Trinity Church, Rt 175, Holderness.
In the midst of our great green season, though, the altar hangings and vestments were red last Sunday in Ashland…Why? Because it was both an ordinary and extraordinary Sunday, in every sense of those words. Bishop Rob was among us for his Episcopal Visitation. (Having bishops, of course, is one of the things that makes us an “episcopal” church). We use red on days when we celebrate in particular the gift and presence of the Holy Spirit. This past Sunday was one of those days, as Katie Patten was confirmed, Guy Tillson marked a re-affirmation of faith, and Keygan and Reilly were baptized… all by Bishop Rob.
It was wonderful and extraordinary, to be able to celebrate those milestones of faith all at once. And yet it was also perfectly ordinary, because that is exactly what we are called to do as God’s church: to grow in faith and love, as we carry out the Great Commission Jesus gave us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Message from Kelly+
The daily message from the Society of St John the Evangelist (SSJE) for today (Wednesday, August 22) focused on a word and idea that is precious to me: “Onward.” Here’s the introduction to the day’s word, which is an excerpt from a sermon by Brother Luke Ditewig:
“We may wish to stay in the past, clinging to sticky memories. We may wish to stay in the present. God calls us into the future. Jesus invites us to change, to become more. Jesus grasps us and pulls us on.”
(Read the rest here, and consider signing up for the daily “Word” yourself!)
All of us connected with the Episcopal Church here in the Pemi-Baker Valley need to be listening to exactly that call from Jesus, a summons to growth, and to change, and (as the treasured hymn puts it) “a closer walk with thee.”
Taking part in RenewalWorks is one way we’ll be guided into our future. From a deep look at where we’ve been and where we are spiritually (the Spiritual Life Inventory we’ll all take next month), we’ll discern and then plan how to grow into the people and community God desires us to be.
Even before the outcome of RenewalWorks is revealed, our fall schedule of formation, fellowship, and worship will offer fresh ways to learn and grow. A weekday evening program–with options for All-Age and Adult formation– will join each Sunday’s 8 and 9:30 offerings. Plans, places, and times are being finalized…stay tuned for more details, including about reading Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s book Crazy Christians together.
And: COME TO CHURCH THIS SUNDAY! We’re all part of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire, and that comes with the blessing of being guided and companioned in our way “onward” by a bishop… our own Bishop Hirschfeld. He is with us at both services on Sunday, August 26, for his official visitation. Onward, together!
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Dear friends: Do you feel the season beginning to turn?
Too-hot days are still with us, summer vegetables are bountiful, there are weeks ahead still of glorious days on the water and the trails.
And yet: The light is changing. Roadsides are blooming with goldenrod and joe-pye-weed, and fall sounds like crickets (and school buses, soon enough) fill our ears. New and returning PSU and Holderness School students bring their own energy to shops and sidewalks and neighborhoods. Summer visitors will soon give way to leaf-peepers….
And we, the Episcopalians in this part of the world, are just one month from a new season of our own. We are just one month away from the launch of RenewalWorks…a program that begins with an in-depth look at who and where we are spiritually (as individuals, and as a community) and then leads us to ask how we can move forward in changing and challenging times.
You’ll hear more (much more!) about Renewal Works in the coming days, from me, and from a soon-to-be unveiled team of parish leaders who have said “Yes” to guiding us as we discern our identity as followers of Jesus.
Who have we been? Who might we grow to be? And how are we—right here, right now—being called into deeper love of God, and deeper love of our neighbor?
Thursday, August 9, 2018
(Rev. Kelly is away this week.)
Message from Deacon Maryan
One of the many joys of being your deacon is to share in the ministry of Pastoral Care. Part of that treasure is to visit those who are not able to be with us for Sunday morning worship. Yesterday that blessing really hit home as I was reading the following Epistle from 2 Corinthians to a parishioner who had just expressed her concern for not being able to worship with her church family: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.” (2 Corinthians: 1:3-5). Those beautiful words sparked a conversation of just how important the church is in spreading the Word of God to all people. And she smiled as I told her the communion she was about to receive had been consecrated during the previous Sunday’s Eucharist, making her part of the faith community who received the gift of this precious Sacrament on that day. And that the “Good News” is that this Sacrament is always available to anyone.
So remember: If you cannot get to church … church will come to you.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Message from Kelly+
A Prayer for Quiet Confidence (BCP p 832)
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
With the exception of teaching two Thursday formation sessions (tonight and in a week) I’ll be away from church, and church email and other messages, until Tuesday, August 14th.
You’ll be in very good hands: Deacon Maryan will continue with the pastoral care she consistently gives to our community. Administrator Heidi Schlenz will continue her calm and competent management of our office. Senior wardens Joan Bowers and Deb Holland, and junior wardens Dick Osborne and Kate Laucks continue as your chief lay leaders, along with our combined Vestry/Bishop’s Committee. When the community gathers for Eucharist on Sundays (and on Thursday, August 9th), Bishop Frank Griswold will preside and preach. And I know you will all continue to support and take care of each other, and carry on with the work of nurturing our community: our church community and the wider community of our neighbors.
May you each rejoice—and rest—in the embrace of God’s abiding love.