Thursday, September 27, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Thank you to each one of you who has taken the RenewalWorks spiritual life inventory. If you haven't yet taken it, please do so soon. It's vital that we have a full a picture of our community as possible as this discernment process continues.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Message from Kelly+
The dozen of us who gathered at the Holderness School on Wednesday evening to discuss Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s book Crazy Christians offered a glimpse of our congregation in miniature. There, around the table, were 8 o’clockers and 9:30 folks. People who counted their association with St Mark’s or Holy Spirit in years—or in decades—and those who have found a church home in the emerging blended assembly just in the last few months. And we had pilgrims: visitors to our region who found our church in their travels, worshiped with us on Sunday, and who were so taken with what we were up to that they asked to come along to Wednesday’s group. They were welcomed, blended their insights and voices into the lively conversation, and joined us at dinner in the Holderness School dining hall. Our new friends are on their way back to two different parishes in Canada today, bringing word to their home communities of what they saw and heard and experienced while they were part of ours.
We will always be a community approached by pilgrims, though the skiers and lake folks and leaf peepers and students (both at PSU and the Holderness School) probably don’t think of themselves as pilgrims. Of course, some seasonal folk are beloved members of our ongoing community. Your cycles of arrivals and departures are part of the rhythm of our community life. We rejoice while you’re here; we miss you when you’re elsewhere!
On Wednesday evening, we spoke about the people who had helped us to find Jesus, who helped us become part of a Christian community, who invited us into lives of loving service like their own. Who was it, we asked, who had touched our lives such that we found ourselves around a table with other Christians, this particular evening? And we began to wrestle with the next question Bishop Curry puts before us: How—where we and when we are—can we find ways of being that person, the person who welcomes others into relationship with Jesus, with the church and the community of love and faithful service it offers?
Please consider joining us next Wednesday as we continue to explore that question, through Bishop Curry’s book. And continue to engage with our RenewalWorks process. Take the Spiritual Life Inventory soon, if you haven’t yet done so. (You’ll find a link elsewhere in the e-news.) Pray for the RenewalWorks leaders who were commissioned on Sunday when we all worshipped together at Old Trinity, Holderness. And pray for the church—not just us, locally, but the whole of Christ’s Church—as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus. Faithfully, Kelly+
A Prayer for the Church: Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen. (BCP 816)
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Wednesday evening, I travelled to Grace Church in Concord for a gathering about Christian formation for children and youth. (Jean Murphy, Ruth Harlow, and Deacon Maryan were with me in spirit, though they were not able to make the trip in person.)
On paper, there were three “leaders” or “experts” in the room: Canon for Ministry Development Tina Pickering; Linnae Peterson, a parishioner at St. Matthew’s Goffstown and the leader of the NH Formation network; and Bishop Rob. Each one of them offered wisdom and expertise that shaped our time together: +Rob led a reflective Bible study on Luke 5:1-11 (look it up!); Linnae pointed us towards rich veins of resources; Tina kept us focused, and helped us envision next steps.
Truth be told, though, this was one of those gatherings where the “expertise” was truly distributed in and through every single person seated at the table. We came from current parishes large and small, and also brought the experience of other Christian communities we had been a part of, whether as teachers or learners. It was a rich feast, and one that will continue, as this “formation network” has plans to continue growing, connecting all in the diocese who are a part of helping the youngest among us encounter, get to know, and learn to love Jesus.
Of the many truths that were spoken last night, here are a handful that I want to hold up for our community:
One key thing that kept us connected to “church,” as young people and now as adults, was knowing that people who didn’t “have to” love us, or even like us, nevertheless did care about us and who we were and what was concerning us…. and took the time to be with us in Christian community.
Those leaders’ (teachers, mentors) love, care, and interest in us was rooted in the leader’s love and service of Christ Jesus.
Learning faith—in order to grow in it—calls for both “knowing the stories” and “knowing the practices.” Study forms us (and helps us grow) as Christians, but so does worship, and so does service to others in Christ’s name.
Wednesday’s meeting was focused on children and youth, but the wisdom that emerged is important to us all. I’ll repeat myself:
Learning faith—in order to grow in it—calls for both “knowing the stories” and “knowing/living the practices.” Study helps us grow as Christians, but so does worship, and so does service to others in Christ’s name.
I invite your prayers for our own community of faith, young, old and in-between, as we move into this season of renewal.
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Message from Kelly+
Even as the launch for RenewalWorks gets closer (the Spiritual Life Inventory opens on September 16, a week from this Sunday), we're not standing still, waiting for the wisdom, insight, and guidance that process has in store for us.
Calendars ready? Save these Wednesday evenings to discuss Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's book Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus: 19 September, 3 October, 17 October, and 7 November. (These dates are no longer accurate; see updated dates in the September 13th message). We'll meet at 5 pm at Weld Hall on the campus of the Holderness School. Dinner will follow at 6, and each evening will close with a simple worship service, usually compline. We'll be done and headed home by 7 pm. Purchase a copy from your favorite bookseller, and join the conversation. (There will also be a small number of copies available, at cost, in the church office). This is an engaging, encouraging book that comes highly recommended by a number of parishioners. Several of the chapters of the Presiding Bishop's book began as speeches or sermons... and his lively, energetic style carries over to print. (We may even be able to find a video or two...)
Stay tuned for news about all-age formation activities on other Wednesdays this fall, including a Sept 26 all-age "Weld Wednesday" celebrating St Francis and God's gift of Creation.
The entire fall calendar for Holy Spirit & St. Marks, as well as for Canterbury@Plymouth, our revamped ministry to the PSU community, will be posted to our websites very soon.
It's an exciting time to be the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement (as Bishop Curry says) in our own particular corner of the world. Thank you for staying connected to your church community by opening and reading this email, the new emails about RenewalWorks (with cartoons!), and by paying attention to each Sunday's announcements (both the printed sheet and those shared out loud).