The Messenger June 2015
This week I have focused on listening… really listening, in an attempt to hear or take in without judgement. I’ve listened to:
- the news
- conversations in restaurants and coffee shops
- interactions with family members
- points of view shared by those around me
- overheard arguments
- foundational stories shared
- laughter at foibles
- angry people in disagreement
- the hurt of being misunderstood
- my own feelings
- those in pain both physical and emotional
- my kids
My conclusion is that more times than not our conversations involve taking sides and attempting to sway the other person to agree with us. Where is the middle ground, I wondered? Where can our dialogue be both/and rather than an either/or? Where is there a place to honor the other’s feelings especially when they disagree with mine? How can I leave behind the feelings of being threatened somehow? In the midst of having all of these thoughts whirling around in my head, I read the following meditation by Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening.
“…But compassion is a deeper thing that waits beyond the tension of choosing sides. Compassion, in practice, does not require us to give up the truth of what we feel or the truth of our reality. Nor does it allow us to minimize the humanity of those who hurt us. Rather, we are asked to know ourselves enough that we can stay open to the truth of others, even when their truth or their inability to live up to their truth has hurt us. This does not remove the emotional facts of our lives, nor does it ask us to remain in a hurtful situation. Rather, compassion asks that we open like mountains to the sky, like mountains that can withstand every kind of weather,” (Nepo, pg. 168.)
It seems as if compassion would be a tremendous gift for each of us to be able to offer our world. When Jack and I were attempting to get a County Use Permit for our business, Threshold Journey, one of our neighbors went apoplectic. He had recently moved in and he was sure that our retreat, spiritual direction business was going to ruin the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. He managed to get many of the neighbors stirred up and quite anxious so the county required us to have a hearing. We had never met this particular neighbor but his letters declared that he was both a surgeon & an attorney. When he walked into the building for the hearing he was still dressed in his scrubs, even though he had driven over 3 hours to get to the court house. As I looked over at him I was filled with compassion, despite the fact that his actions had cost us a lot of money, came close to destroying many of the relationships we were building with neighbors, and also would potentially prevent us from moving forward with our business. The reason for the compassion is that suddenly I saw an older man close to retirement and about to lose the prestige from his vocation. He just seemed to be screaming to the world, “I am important, damn it! Listen to me!” Suddenly in a God-given moment, much of the angst melted away as I was able to take in his truth and have compassion even though my truth was very different.
As we move into the summer months and hopefully a little slower pace for many, how might we offer the gift of compassion to those around us? How might we open “like mountains to the sky?” I was reflecting on Nepo’s meditation as I was returning from
one of my morning walks. As I looked at the spire and cross on the top of Emmanuel it seemed as if it might be a reminder that compassion asks that “we open like mountains to the sky, like mountains that can withstand every kind of weather.” The cross of Emmanuel could be our reminder that God is the one who helps empower us to offer compassion to those around us.
As many of you know my husband is a widower. He remembers a powerful moment when he was offered the gift of compassion just months after his first wife, Maggie, had died. Our girls, Sophie and Eliza, were 3 and 5 at the time. His good friend sensed the depths of his grief and offered the gift of compassion. He didn’t try to make Jack feel better or change the subject or get out of a hard, difficult and awkward social situation but instead just held him while he wept in his grief–no words, no putting his own feelings or concerns or advice or perspective forward; rather just letting his friend cry and cry and cry for the longest time allowing both of them to hold the sorrow and to feel it at the deepest level.
Can you remember a time when you were offered the gift of compassion? How did it feel? Just think, we could be offering others the opportunity to feel as good as we did when someone “held” our heart and offered us compassion. What a gift we have to offer each other and our world. Blessings and an abundance of compassion to you and yours as summer begins!
General Convention of the Episcopal Church Rapidly Approaching: June 25th-July 3rd Please Pray for General Convention and for the Election of our Next Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members. The Presiding Bishop is the head of the Episcopal Church and officially is Primate, Chief Pastor of the Church, Chair of the Executive Council, and President of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the first name given to the Episcopal Church). The Presiding Bishop serves for 9 years and this is an election year for the church consequently the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church will be elected on Saturday, June 27 during General Convention.
Nominees for Presiding Bishop include:
The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal, Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut
The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith, Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida
What’s the process?
On Saturday, June 27, members of the House of Bishops with seat, voice, and vote will convene in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Salt Lake City, where the election will occur in the context of prayer and reflection. Once an election has taken place, current Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will send a deputation to the House of Deputies (made up of half clergy and half lay delegates) for confirmation of the election. Once confirmation takes place, they send word back to the House of Bishops and an announcement is made. Please keep the delegates, the nominees and their families in your prayers during this exciting time for the church.
A current note about the goings-on of the Vestry of Emmanuel Parish:
SAFE Training: On May 16, 2015 the Vestry was present for a required training meeting on Safeguarding God’s Children, a subject that the Diocese of Oregon is addressing with excellent SAFE Church Training. Our facilitators from the West Coast Oregon Diocese were outstanding.
Our day started with a group discussion centering around why a church might be a place that could be targeted by perpetrators of abuse- Churches are like families; Much joy, much trust.
We learned the goals that we are striving for to keep our children safe and the steps we will be taking in terms of policies and checking references. We want to keep ministries safe for those hired or placed in a position of trust, including those entrusted with handling child care. There will be training, monitoring, interacting with the child care givers when in the Nursery or classroom and responding quickly to any concern.
We also covered the responsibilities of parents and congregations. This included a discussion of separating the facts from the myths, watching for warning signs, acting when warning signs are evident, and teaching our children ways to protect themselves.
This was a very informative session for us all and once again raises awareness of our responsibility to be ever vigilant and pro-active when any possible threat is identified with a child.
Mutual Ministry: The Vestry continues to work with the first 3 focus areas that are part of Emmanuel’s Mutual Ministry: Relationship Development, Inclusiveness and Hospitality. Teams are meeting; the first reports were presented at the May meeting.
John Whitty’s article in the May Newsletter gives an excellent accounting of the initiatives that we wish to fulfill. As he states, some of the initiatives will be Christy’s to fulfill, some will be the Vestry’s, and some will be the congregation’s. We encourage any Emmanuel parishioners that would be interested in working in one of these 3 areas to contact Christy at the church office 541.269.5829.
And Coming Soon: New parish name tags with red lanyards, a project of mine along with Christy and Elizabeth Roman. I encourage everyone to wear these every Sunday. There will be a place to hang them either in the entry to the church or in the Undercroft as you leave from Coffee Hour.
Cheerfully in Christ Carla Courtney- -1st year Vestry Member June 2015
A Picture of Emmanuel’s Finances after 4 Months and How You can Help
Each month, Emmanuel’s Vestry receives a financial update from Treasurer Bob Huggins. At the May meeting, Bob noted that through the first four months of 2015, our operating income is tracking pretty close to our budget, and we are less than $1,200 behind our income projection. Thank you so much to all of you who have contributed to the ministry of Jesus Christ at Emmanuel. We are grateful for your support!
Our operating expenses for this period, however, are running in excess of our budget by about $4,000. Since we are only looking at the first four months, it is a little difficult to predict with great accuracy where we will finish this year. As with any budget, it was our best guess at the beginning of the year, especially in terms of expenses since Christy just started in August and we weren’t sure what type of program expenses we would incur.
We are excited by the energy that is present in many different ways at Emmanuel right now. We are monitoring our financial situation closely but are confident that it is not a time to cut back expenses, but rather to lean into the future that God is calling us to. Your Vestry values transparency and we will attempt to have a short update in the newsletter and bulletin each month to keep everyone aware of our financial situation. We also believe there is room for faith…faith in God and in our congregation.
How can you help? Pray for your Vestry, for the ministry of Jesus Christ at Emmanuel and for guidance in discerning our vision for the future. Finally, if you are currently in a situation where you could increase your contribution to Emmanuel this would be an awesome time to do it. It would allow us to continue to move boldly into the future spreading the love of Jesus Christ to our community, while honoring our heritage and inspiring our future.
Questions? Talk to Bob Huggins, our Treasurer, any Vestry member, or Christy
Praying for Others: Emmanuel’s Intercessory Prayer Team Forming
Do you like to pray for others, been told you have a gift of prayer or simply want to learn more about praying for others? Then join Christy on the first Thursdays of the month at 1:00 following the healing service. Our first gathering will be June 3rd at 1:00 and we will explore ideas for developing an intercessory prayer team for Emmanuel. Prayer forms the foundation of all we do as a church community and we want to be sure to have a way of offering prayers on a regular basis for the needs of our community and others who we are asked to pray for. It’s an amazing privilege to offer yourself as an intercessor or pray-er for others, and it’s something that is easy to do on your own time. Interested in learning more? Join us on June 3rd in the Undercroft or talk to Christy if you aren’t available then but are still interested, 541-728-7988, email@example.com.
Emmaus Group: Potluck, Fellowship and Sharing, June 18th, 6-8:00 in the Undercroft
What is an Emmaus Group? It’s an opportunity to gather together for the purpose of fellowship, sharing a meal and exploring our spiritual questions in a small group setting. Emmaus, (pronounced a-may-us) is a village outside Jerusalem and we are told in the gospel of Luke that on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) Jesus was made known in the fellowship, the breaking of the bread and the prayers. Join Christy on the third Thursdays of the month from 6-8:00 for potluck and an evening of fellowship, sharing our stories, exploring our spiritual questions and breaking bread together…trusting that Jesus will be made known to us in a deeper way as we share ourselves with one another. We will always begin with dinner, have a general topic of the evening to get us started and end with Eucharist. Join us and bring a friend! Questions talk to Christy, 541-728-7988, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vacation Church School at Emmanuel
Interested in seeing this summer tradition continue at Emmanuel? Come to a meeting on Saturday, June 13th from 9:00-10:00 in the undercroft to explore the possibilities. We will take a realistic look at this summer’s schedule and calendar to see if there are possibilities, and explore a possible curriculum, Marketplace 29AD, that we have access to. We may not be able to find a way to make it work this summer, but we will be able to lay a foundation and make plans for carrying on this tradition at Emmanuel in the future as an important outreach to our neighborhood and the children in our community. Questions, talk to Christy.
Office Support Needed
Thank you to those who have stepped forward already. We will be contacting you soon.
Vacation time is rapidly approaching and Julianna and Christy are wanting to train some people to help volunteer in the office. At times we need to close the office when we are both away and we are hoping to change that. In addition there are some simple tasks that can help Julianna’s time go further like answering the phones while folding the bulletins and things like that. If you’d be interested in helping in this way, please let Julianna or Christy know. Thanks for considering it!
Come Help Celelbrate our Acolyte/Sunday School
Sunday June 7th, during coffee hour – following the 10:00 AM service.
Burgers will be provided, please bring a side dish to share.
FOR THE HEALTH OF IT By Kerry Oxford, Parish Nurse
“Tuning up Your Health”
Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds; His name is the Lord, exult before Him. Psalm 68:4
The above psalm came to mind as Michael and I recently watched three Giant California Condors soaring above the Grand Canyon recently. What an awesome blessing that was!
Happy Father’s Day to all of our Parish Dads! This month on June 20th, Stephanie Polizzi, Registered Dietician and Nutritionist Extraordinaire will be joining us for a new Health Seminar called “Tuning up Your Health.”
Come one and all to learn how we can improve our health and energy levels. Ladies, come and bring your MEN as there will be a special emphasis on men’s health as part of the seminar.
Stephanie is an excellent, knowledgeable, and a FUN speaker.
The seminar is from 10AM to noon and a healthy lunch will be provided. The seminar and lunch are FREE. Come join in the fun and fellowship.
RSVP: Kerry Oxford at 541-269-5829.
Favorite sayings for this month:
- The value of a man is measured not by how he treats his friends, but how he treats his enemies.
- I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela
- The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison. J C Penney
FROM THE DESK OF ANNE ABDY
Papers and exams are done with the highlight at the end of the semester meeting and having dinner with the Archbishop of Cape Town and his wife who were in Sewanee as he received an honorary doctorate degree at graduation. Since then, my focus turned to completing the multitude of tasks that are required when leaving the US for eight weeks to fly to Southern Africa. Most of the tasks are done and today I can relax knowing that on Memorial Day I fly out of Jacksonville, FL for NYC and Cape Town, South Africa. So by the time you get to read this I will be well on my way!
I will spend June shadowing the priests who all work at my father’s former parishes in Namibia. I will be interviewing parishioners who knew dad to gather information about his early ministry in Southern Africa. In July I will visit family and friends in South Africa. It should be a trip down memory lane! I feel most blessed to be able to do this trip and view it as a homecoming of sorts since it has been over thirty years since I have been back. There have been lots of changes especially in the post-Apartheid era and I am interested to be a witness to those changes.
Boots will be cared for by a neighbor and a student in the advance degree program who will be renting my apartment for three weeks. So I ask for prayers for him and his care-givers. He has always been “shy” around men so we will see what happens.
I ask for prayers for safe travel (5/25-7/19) and that I remain open to the works of the Spirit both in myself and in the encounters that I have with others.
Attached is a photo of me with The Most Rev’d Dr. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, and his wife, Lungelwa.
Have a wonderful Summer!
Pentecost: When Enthusiasm Cracks Reserve!
Thanks to everyone who brought bread to share on Pentecost, May 24th, reminding us of the original reason for the gathering of people in Jerusalem, to give thanks for the wheat Harvest… and to Nat Jaeggli for the idea and logistic suggestions for making it work… and to the altar guild for putting the logistic suggestions into practice to allow it all to come together! Also thanks to those who offered their gift of languages at both services to have many voices speaking the lesson from Acts all at the same time. It helped remind us of what a miracle that would have been to be able to hear clearly in our own language.
As we move into the summer months let us be mindful of the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit that we have each been given, where “Enthusiasm cracks reserve!” We give thanks as individuals, as a community of faith and as a world that we are joined with all of creation in the process of being redeemed. “Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth!” Psalm 104:31