Dear Friends,

Yesterday I sat with friends and colleagues and was asked to bring along an item that represented my life right now. I brought along a book (Really? I asked myself...you're going for a book? But yes, a book...) called Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

Common Prayer was compiled by Christians of the "New Monastic" movement. I chose it as my object for reflection because it combines the old and the new; prayers and scripture from the ancient church that I am familiar with from Episcopal worship, and prayers and quotes that are brand new for our present context. The prayers are quietly set off by small beautiful images.

I chose it because it evokes familiar, sound theology about Christian life, but with an urgency often left up to the more confidently Evangelical parts of the Church. It has helped me reengage some of the more astounding and transformative invitations of Christ.

I chose it because as I've prayed with it recently, its combination of often-divergent parts of Christianity has resonated with my own coming to a new community, new role, and new relationships, and my expectation of a new child and "new" family. All of these are an exercise in the related-divergent, sweeping me forward daily into new life.

Common Prayer is doing for me exactly what we Anglicans have always anticipated out of common prayer; its connecting me to a steady backbeat of holy Presence, shared across a community, so that I can step forward in relationship into that big, similarly-holy part of life that is still forming and unknown.

Today's prayers from this book are here, if you like. It's a joy to be praying with you, each and all.

In Christ,

Reed

 

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you : wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shone you;

may he bring you home rejoicing : once again into our doors.

                                                          -from Morning Prayer in Common Prayer

Dear Friends,

This week I commend to you the following words from Marti Hunt, reporting on this year's Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. Convention is part business meeting, part info session, and mostly church. As you read Marti's words, imagine yourself at St. Paul's Church with 200 fellow worshipers for song and Eucharist and decision-making on behalf of the diocese, and you may be able to believe what a good time it was.

With Thanksgiving,

Reed  

This past Saturday, Reed Loy, our rector; and Mary Carter, Marti Hunt, Pete Mitchell, and Rob Thompson, convocation delegates, represented St. Andrew's at the diocesan convention. The half-day meeting consisted of three main elements: Eucharist, Bishop Hirschfeld's address, and diocesan business.

Bishop Rob used a personal story of overturning in his rowing scull and the image of the church nave as an overturned hull of a ship to share the perspective that the church is overturned. For some of us being increasingly on the fringe brings sadness, but for others there is a sense of release.

We are feeling nearer to the early days of the church, nearer to Jesus, nearer to the marginalized. Rather than focusing on average Sunday attendance, it may be more meaningful to focus on average weekly encounters with Jesus (AWE). Jesus' words turn the world on its head now just as they did during his life and the early days of the church. Bishop Rob called on us to: enter the journey to become Beloved Community, move the words of the gospel, the Sermon on the Mount, deeper into our hearts, and ensure that the light of Christ burns brightly.

Three resolutions were passed. The 2018 budget was passed and represents a 5% decrease from 2017. A new clergy compensation proposal was passed which includes ranges, rather than set figures, and also includes the formation of an appointed Human Resources Committee. A resolution brought forward by the Reconciliation Committee passed encouraging the diocese to engage in the Presiding Bishop's call to become "Beloved Community," which encourages our parish to enter a Lenten Study to further this goal.

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of All Saints' Day.

We've all heard of the "big name" saints like Andrew, Nicholas, Mary (a few Marys!), and Mother Teresa. Their stories have spread widely because of their beautiful, profound examples of Christian living, and we gain courage from celebrating their lives and witness to the Gospel. The Episcopal calendar feasts for these well-known saints can be found in Holy Women, Holy Men. (My birthday is on Blessed Jerome's feast day! Who is closest to yours?)

The other saints, whom we remember a little less often, are all the others. And we really do mean all the saints. Over 2 billion of them. The Greek work hagios (which we translate "saints") means righteous, and dedicated to special use. And the earliest Christian writings use this word to refer to all the Christian faithful. Each Christian has indeed been dedicated to special use, God's holy and freeing use, in our baptisms. And while I find the story of brilliant, stubborn, Jerome inspiring, I've been lifted up in my faith much more by Blessed Sarah my mom, Blessed Brent my dad, Blessed Mig my confirmation mentor, and many others that I've known personally. Which saints are closest to your heart and spirit? This Sunday is a day to remember all of them, both living on earth, and living in the everlasting realm of God.

Given all this wonder which we name and praise God for on the Feast of All Saints', it's an especially good time to initiate new Christians through the waters of baptism. And that's just what we will do! This Sunday we welcome Frank Dalton Kirwin into the communion of saints. This full and indissoluble initiation into the church is a reaffirmation of our unbroken relationship to all the saints who have come before. Hallelujah!

Blessed Andrew, Blessed Sarah, Blessed Saints of all times and places, come rejoice with us, and welcome Blessed Frank.

God Be With You, Saints,


Reed

Dear Friends,

This week you will receive an invitation in the mail from our St. Andrew's Stewardship Committee, to pledge yourself to the building up of this community in the coming year.

And this Sunday and during announcements over the next few weeks we'll be hearing stories from our fellow parishioners about why they pledge financially to St. Andrew's.

Then finally, on December 3rd, we'll celebrate the conclusion of our pledge-gathering with a "Bacon, Eggs and Pledges!" feast between the worship services. I welcome you to open your eyes, your ears, and your mouths to receive this all-senses invitation into the work of God at St. Andrew's!

I have written to you before about money. Though sometimes challenging to talk about and work with, money is also an encouragingly tangible representation of our care and values. We know when we have received it, and we know when and where we have sent it on it's way.

In the weeks ahead I will be listening, tasting and seeing alongside you. I look forward to this time of receiving, and to the chance to respond just as tangibly, with a prayerful pledge to all that we are building here with God. I hope you'll enjoy this time also.

In Christ,

Reed

p.s. If you ever find that money, or connecting money and faithfulness, is giving you indigestion, I hope you'll let me know. I'd be happy to support your discernment of God's call in this part of life.