The Messenger August 2015
An Attitude of Gratitude or Giving Flowers to Those We Meet
A couple of decades ago I heard a sermon that I still remember like it was yesterday. The theme was how to foster an “attitude of gratitude” and the impact that might have on our spiritual journey. The preacher, my former boss and mentor Bob Rhodes, talked about those times when you are truly in the desert. He was referring to the times when it seems like there’s nothing but bad news and it comes in wave after wave after wave. He asked us to imagine a desert, parched, dry, and seemingly lifeless. Imagine one blade of grass coming up through the parched ground and focus on that blade of grass, asking what it represents in your life. Give thanks for that blade of grass as you continue to look around and ponder if there might be something else you can give thanks for in your life. Are there other blades of grass in your desert? His point was that as we begin focusing on the blessings in our lives our attitude somehow shifts and eventually the desert begins to bloom with an incredible beauty.
Last week, I was graced to learn a new take on that same spiritual truth. I was attending the Quilter’s Affair, a week of quilting classes sponsored by the “Stitchin Post”, a quilting store in Sisters, Oregon. This year was the 40th anniversary of this gathering of renowned quilters who offer classes all week long culminating with the largest outdoor quilt show in the world on the second Saturday of July. This year, one of the highlights for me was the return of the Gees Bend Quilters from Gees Bend, Alabama.
Gees Bend is a small community in Alabama that is geographically isolated and very poor economically. In the 1980’s their quilts were discovered as a result of a grant to uncover American folk art. What was revealed in Gees Bend was an incredible history of artistic talent, beauty, and story from a community and people who had for the most part been long since neglected and forgotten. The quilts were shown in art museums in Houston and New York City and subsequently around the world. The women of Gees Bend who had predominantly been the quilters were pretty overwhelmed by people’s response to their quilts. They said, “You have to understand, we didn’t set out to create art! We were just trying to keep our babies warm at night.” They typically make their quilts out of repurposed fabric: for example, using the backs of the dresses in which they picked cotton. As one woman said to me, “The knees of our dresses wore out from bending over and picking the cotton, but the backs were as good as new so we used them in our quilts.” Upholstery fabric manufactured in nearby plants, used denim, and other unlikely “tired” fabrics were transformed into beautiful quilts that kept their babies warm at night. To this day they quilt the same way with the same type of fabric.
The women of Gees Bend have a deep and abiding faith in God and many times they will pray and sing favorite spirituals while they quilt with one another. They harmonize beautifully and the call and response hymns invite you to join in. I heard them speak in 2009 the first time they visited Sisters, but this year I had an opportunity to actually quilt with them. We were told that we could bring repurposed clothing so I brought my dad’s flannel shirts that he had worn fishing, hiking and in the garden. My dad died in 2006 at the age of 91after living an amazing life, but it was still pretty emotional having them help me with this project. Two of my sister-in-laws were there to help as well.
As I cut the shirts into strips and began to piece them back together, Gloria was our guide. We learned that it was her first time out of Gees Bend and she shared parts of her life as she gently encouraged me. At one point Mary Ann came over and said to me, “You know I try never to just sew two pieces of fabric together without adding something else and I love triangles. Why don’t you add a little triangle there?” She showed me how to do it and then left us on our own.
About an hour later when she returned to check on our progress, I thanked her for teaching me how to insert triangles in unlikely places and told her I would never forget her or this time. She responded in a deep southern drawl, “Why honey, you just gave me a flower!” Then she launched into the most beautiful spiritual with her friends joining in with harmony.
Ohhh, Lord, give me my flowers while I still live.
The flowers that you give me, I can’t see the beauty.
Ohh, give me my flowers whiles I still live.
I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone.
Lord, I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone.
Ohhhh….give me my flowers whiles I yet live.
Wow! I had so much to ponder as I left that class. The experience had truly joyed my heart and I was renewed for the journey. Perhaps an “attitude of gratitude” comes in many forms and there is no reason to wait to express it .What if during this beautiful summer season every time we see an actual flower that touches us with its beauty, we look around to see who in our lives might be touching us in some way…and then we tell them how much they mean to us.
Or instead of just thinking compliments in our mind, we take the time to let the person know that we are grateful for what they did or their presence in our lives. What if we focus first on building up the kingdom of God and one another rather than looking for what’s wrong with our world?
Join me in giving thanks for all of the many and varied “flowers” in our lives! “Ohhh, Lord, give me my flowers while I still live.” Blessings and gratitude for each of you, for our church community and for this beautiful place we call home!
Notes from Your Vestrey
Name tags for all parishioners are now hanging on a special tall-standing display as you come into the Narthex at the church. They are hanging in a 2 alphabet letter combination starting at the upper left – A, B then C, D then E, F. Please wear these for the service and during coffee hour. Another stand is in the Undercroft so that you may hang your lanyard as you leave.
My thanks to Christy for the preparation of the parishioner list, Elizabeth Roman for printing the name identification cards and Nat Jaeggli for the construction of the beautifully crafted wood stands and pegs for the display of the name tags. (And Christy adds thanks also to Carla for taking the lead on this project)
We typically have visitors passing through Coos Bay/North Bend in the summer. You may know most everyone, however, for our visitors, newcomers, and perhaps an occasional fill-in priest, we encourage you to proudly wear your name identification for Emmanuel Parish!
~ from Carla Courtney
And Coming…..Emmanuel’s New Church Directory!!
With the encouragement of many parishioners, plans have been made for a new Emmanuel Church Directory with pictures, names and demographic information. We’re on our way! Please save these dates:
Thursday October 29
Friday October 30
Saturday October 31
There will be 2 day afternoon/evening sessions. The one on Saturday will be morning/afternoon. Actual scheduling times will be announced – which, you will be able to do on line through the Emmanuel Website or with a scheduler after church on Sundays.
We are excited to have connected with the company Life Touch. There will be lots more information and tips from their experts on preparing for your picture/s.
The directory will be completed and ready for distribution in late November/early December.
Remember, save one of these dates for your directory picture:
October 29, 30, 31, 2015.
~ from Carla Courtney
What’s a Warden??
Back in 1604 AD in the Church of England, a warden had the responsibility for unlocking the Church for worship. Today, Episcopal Churches in the United States still have wardens. They are elected members of the vestry, with responsibilities that have evolved since 1604, although unlocking and locking the church may still be one of their duties.
At Emmanuel, the “Senior Warden” is selected by the Rector. The Senior Warden works with the Rector/Pastor Christy to develop the agenda for vestry meetings, provides leadership to the vestry and presides at the Vestry meetings, and takes on responsibilities in the administration of the church. Troy Cribbins is our Senior Warden this year and he works closely with Christy to plan parish events and discuss parish concerns. In late winter, Troy, along with several other members of the vestry and Pastor Christy, attended training in Ashland and brought back many insights into the way the vestry works together to lead the parish.
The “Junior Warden” is elected by the vestry from its members. Here at Emmanuel that person has traditionally held responsibility for buildings and grounds upkeep. In the past that has meant getting groups together for work parties, scheduling maintenance and dealing with emergencies such as furnace and plumbing problems. John Knutson is our current Junior Warden. He brings to the job years of experience and a “get ‘er done well” attitude.
Other Wardens are possible. After several months’ consideration, your vestry decided that since Mutual Ministry will be an ongoing process and a path, the parish needs a person to manage it, report to the vestry, and keep us on track. John Whitty volunteered to be our first Mutual Ministry Warden, or Third Warden. The vestry sees his role as a facilitator and supporter of others’ work on the goals. John will schedule and organize the Mutual Ministry quarterly summit this Fall, which will help us track and evaluate our progress toward this year’s goals. The third warden’s role can be expected to evolve as we grow in mutual ministry.
Troy Cribbins- Senior Warden
John Knutson – Junior Warden
John Whitty – 3rd Warden
The vestry has formed several committees to work on this year’s goals and on other areas as needed. Committees typically involve vestry members, other members of the parish and sometimes our pastor. Some of the committees functioning at this time are:
- Grounds/Landscaping Committee
- Finance and Youth Endowment
- Vestry Visibility
Please contact a vestry member or Pastor Christy if you are interested in being part of a committee or want to help in any way.
~ by Sally Jaeggli
Are you at church fairly regularly? Do you like helping people feel comfortable? Do you like having a job and feeling like you are part of a team? It you answer yes to most of these questions then being an usher might be a good fit for you! We’ve had people move away who have been involved in this ministry and we need to strengthen our ushering team at both the 7:30 and 10:00 services. If you might be interested and would like to talk to someone about the possibility or if you’d like to sign-up and be trained please email or call Julianna in the church office, firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-269-5829
Wednesday Eucharist and Healing Services in August will be ONLY on AUGUST 12th
Due to Christy’s vacation and continuing education in August, the only day we will have Wednesday services will be on August 12th. August is a popular time for vacation making it difficult to get supply for the mid-week services. This seemed like the best alternative. The regular schedule of services will continue on Wednesday, September 2nd with the Eucharist at 6:30 and the Eucharist with prayers for healing and anointing at noon. Sorry for any inconvenience!
Altar Flower Memorials or Honorings
Do you have a special date that you would like to purchase the flowers in memory of or in honor of someone or a special occasion? Once again we have a flower chart on the wall in the entryway of the church that has all of the Sundays for the remaining of the year on it. Sign-up for a particular day and then send a check for $40 to Julianna in the office and let her know the occasion so that she can include it in the prayers of the people for that Sunday. This provides a great way to mark special occasions while also helping the Altar Guild’s flower budget. Thanks for considering it!
Youth Group Concludes for the Program Year with a Scavenger Hunt and Barbecue
Following a barbecue dinner, three teams of our youth set out for downtown to complete a scavenger hunt. Their task was to gather as many things on the list in about 35 minutes. Items included a tooth pick, book written before 1970, a picture of something showing respect, chopsticks, a playbill etc. In addition they had to find examples of something that excluded others and suggest how to make it more inclusive. They were all winners and it was a great way to celebrate the beginning of summer. Thanks to Tim Wall for help with the barbecue and to all the youth for such a great year! Youth group will resume on Wednesday, September 16th. Summer blessings to all our youth and their families!
This year’s rummage sale will be 1 day only – Friday, September 11, 9:00 AM -3:00 PM. Set up beginning Tuesday, September 8 (Monday is labor day). Pricing will be “make an offer.” Sign up to set up, work on Friday, or cleanup Friday afternoon. Contact: Sally Jaeggli – 541-260-3199 – email@example.com
Prayers of the People
Created by Emmanuel’s Youth Group – June 2015
(Reprinted here after several suggestions)
After each petition people may add their own prayers and thanksgivings either silently or aloud.
We pray for our world, that everyone is safe and healthy and for people who have lost almost everything through hurricanes and other natural disasters; we pray that the world is all agreeable on things; we pray for peace; we pray for our world, for our nation and all the nations; we pray for those who serve in our country and the world.
O God of infinite possibility,
Hear our prayer
We pray for the sick and unhealthy, for those who have cancer, for those who have addictions they can’t conquer by themselves, for those who are always smoking and have bad lungs, help them Lord to be healthy and happy. We pray for health.
O God of strength,
Hear our prayer
We pray for all the animals in our world, that they are safe and able to get food; we pray for all of the sea life that is dying because of chemicals and all sorts of things; for all of the animals who are suffering death or extinction; for the earth and all its beauty and that we are able to preserve it; we pray for all the animals of creation; for the joy we get from the earth and its creation. We pray for preservation and sustainability.
O God of abundant life,
Hear our prayer.
For all those who have died for freedom and for our country; for those who have lost their lives while serving others; for all of the firefighters who have died; we pray that all of the people who fight for us are blessed for life.
O God of peace,
Hear our prayer.
We pray for trees and life; for all nature and living things; for all the plants that grow under the sun; for nature and their Mother Earth; we pray for all of the birds and nature and for all of the forest fires; we pray that nature is healthy and clean; we pray for people who plant trees.
O God of creation,
Hear our prayer.
We pray for the homeless; we pray for all of the wounded; for the needy and all who disabled; for all those who have lost something, the ones suffering and those who are clinging to hope; we pray for all people with disabilities and things that they have tough times with; we pray for those who are left with handicaps following sickness and we pray for people who have lost loved ones; we pray for cancer patients and anybody who is in the hospital or is really sick or people that just need prayers.
O God of hope,
Hear our prayer.
We pray for people who have lost loved ones; we pray for prettiness; for all who have departed this life; we pray that the flowers bring joy and beauty to our world; we pray for memories of those we have loved.
O God of love,
Hear our prayer.
FROM THE DESK OF ANNE ABDY
What an amazing trip! Certainly, a life-changing experience and one that was so long in coming. I know for sure that I will not be waiting another 30 years before returning. In essence, this trip has been full of memories and emotions, of reconnecting with childhood school pals, long-time family friends, and making new friends. Over and over it seemed that with the telling stories the unfamiliar connected with the familiar.
The parish of St. Boniface in located in the picturesque German town of Swakopmund. At first glance it is like any parish in Anytown, USA. It has about 50 families most who are of the working middle-class and an ecumenical youth group with about 20 members. They come together to worship, fellowship, study the Word, and praise the Lord in all that they do. Yet they are a parish in need of much. American churches are blessed to have all the altar linens, Gospel and Altar books, plus other resources at a touch of a key when we order from C. M. Almy. One’s own Bible is use for reading the Scriptures. Hymn books are scarce so familiar hymns are sung a cappella. The1989 Anglican Book of Common Prayer is used by the Province of Southern Africa and members are encouraged to purchase their own copy.
There are differences in worship too. The confession comes before the readings and there are separate blessings for the elements at the time of the offertory. The Altar Guild comprised of youth who have either been confirmed or are to be confirmed later this year. They assist the celebrant, not only as acolytes, but also at the table by guiding the cleric as he or she reads the Eucharistic Prayer, and by turning the pages of the Altar Book. But most striking for me was the real “rawness” to their spiritual hunger and desire to learn about the Bible while developing a deeper relationship to God. Above all, despite our differences, it was clear to me that we are all Christians joined together under one umbrella, the Anglican Communion.
Well, as I continue to reflect on this journey, I am sure there will be many more thoughts about my trip that will enter future entries. Blessings to all.
In memory of Bob Peil by Chuck and Diana Wall and by Dreann Hickman
In memory of Darril Allen by Chuck and Diana Wall, by Nancylee Stewart, by Elaine Menzenberg & Susan Baird, and by Sarah & Jim Peterson
In memory of Esther Probst by Dreann Hickman
In memory of Dorothy Girt by Caroline Stewart
In memory of Patty Whitaker by Caroline Stewart
In memory of Bob Peil by Steve and Celeste Tyson
In memory of Bob Peil by Caroline Stewart and Jo Reeves