Thursday, February 22, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Last week, after having lunch with the Rev. Josh Hill, the new chaplain at the
Holderness School, he and I went to a school lecture given by an MIT professor
who works at the forefront of research on using all sorts of technology to address
human disability. It's a deeply personal quest:the speaker, Dr Hugh Herr, is himself
a double amputee, as the result of frostbite injury to his legs suffered while rock
Early in the presentation, Dr Herr showed a photo of himself as a very young man,
sitting in his hospital bed, right after his surgery. He returned to the same photo
near the end of his talk, after having introduced his audience to the astonishing
work he and his colleagues are doing. (I encourage you to look up Dr Herr and the
Center for Extreme Bionics if you're at all curious.) The second time he showed
the photo of himself in his hospital bed, he asked us, very pointedly: What do you
see now? A broken body, or a young man with an amazing future ahead of him?
(Josh called the talk one of the best Easter sermons he's ever heard.)
Wednesday evening, I received an email from Plymouth State that included a photo
of the pews in the building on Main St. where the Church of the Holy Spirit
formerly worshipped. The picture accompanied an invitation to faculty and staff to
start imagining how to challenge their students to use the benches as the starting
point for something new and creative for the campus and community.
What ties these two stories together for me is how they remind us that loss, real
and painful as it is, so often holds within it the seeds of something new and
surprising and full of life. Who knows how, down the road, any one of us will react
when we first encounter a re-imagined, re-purposed, re-invented pew.
Surprised? Shocked? Angered? Saddened? Delighted? Who knows.
That moment will arrive, though, and so here's my question for you, to file away
for when that encounter comes: What would it take for you to be able to see,
in a re-imagined pew, an emblem of new life, of resurrection, of Easter?
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Dear People of God, Welcome to Lent. The Book of Common Prayer says it best: (p. 265)
"Dear People of God: I invite you, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word." You (yes, YOU) are invited to pray, study, practice, give, serve, and worship your way through Lent. Better yet: we are all invited to do this together, in community. What to do? Read on for abundant opportunities.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Resources for Mission
Over the last two weeks, along with praying, visiting folks at their homes, studying, and all the other things that priests and pastors do, I’ve been using my God-given way with the written word to craft two very important documents: an application to the Episcopal Church’s Young Adult and Campus Ministry national grant program, and both St. Mark’s and Holy Spirit’s petitions for a reduction in our “Fair Share.”
“Fair Share” is the portion of our local resources that, through the work of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire (“the diocese,” for short!) we share with all the Episcopal churches in New Hampshire…and that our fellow Episcopalians share right back with us.
Some New Hampshire congregations are able to fully meet the percentage that each church is asked to share with the whole Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. Others—for many different reasons—find themselves stretched to meet that asking, and both CHS and St. Mark’s are in a season of life when that’s the case.
On Feb 17, several of your elected leaders and I will gather with similar teams from other congregations for the Mission Resources Committee’s (MRC) annual Fair Share conversation. Stories will be told and listened to, we will advise and encourage one another, and the MRC will then discuss and decide how the diocese’s pooled resources can best be used to carry out God’s mission through the work of our Episcopal churches, both large and small. (If you’re curious about how the MRC does its work, have a word with CHS senior warden Joan Bowers, who’s just completed a term of service on that team.)
News of the national campus ministry grant will come, one way or another, in April. But did you know that our work and worship is already supported by resources shared by fellow Episcopalians and other Christians from far beyond the Pemi-Baker Valley? The MRC gave us a $10,000 grant in December in support of our new mission to Plymouth State. I’m in the second year of having my compensation supported by a Ministerial Excellence Fund grant for “entrepreneurial clergy” that is funded by the Lily Foundation and matched by the diocese. And both CHS and St. Mark’s were beneficiaries of Fair Share relief in 2017, thanks to the generosity of our fellow NH Episcopalians. Together, with the generous giving by members who pledge and all our supporters who give to St Marks and Holy Spirit, (and along with the generosity of our forebearers in years past) those gifts from outside the congregation make it possible for us—together— to do the work God is calling us to do in our neighborhood.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Message from Kelly+
“Do you want to be made well?”
It’s John’s Jesus who puts the question that bluntly, but as, Sunday by Sunday, we follow Mark’s account of Jesus banishing demons and healing the sick and damaged people who come to him, it’s a fair question for us, too. Because no matter what else happens, healing disrupts the status quo. And that can be (by definition, even) unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Yet as we continue to read and pray our way through Mark’s Gospel in the coming weeks, we’ll see again and again, that Jesus’s presence, his attention to those he meets, and his word attended to, brings healing. Crowds of people pursue him in search of it. Are we—are you and I—aware that we need Jesus’s healing, too?
Even though our contemporary understanding of what cures the body and the mind is vastly different from the people of New Testament times (What would they make of an MRI?), what hasn’t changed is Jesus’s offer to be the great physician of our souls: binding spiritual wounds, mending broken relationships, bringing his peace that passes understanding. Do we want to be made well? That is a fine question to lead us into Lent.