The Messenger November 2016
November, a month for gratitude and showing up!
Do we seek God or does God seek us first? My mentor, Bob Rhodes, taught me that God always acts first; that God calls and we respond. Over the years he helped me to see that there is never a moment when God isn’t reaching out to us with love through some situation, person or interaction. Sometimes it’s the most difficult situations in our lives, the ones that we think we will never survive, when we actually realize that God has shown up to meet us. Perhaps it’s because when we are hurting, we are so desperate that it is somehow easier to see God.
What if God always goes before us to meet us in the most unexpected places? I believe that’s exactly how God works; God meets us with love, always offering healing, forgiveness, and transformation regardless of the situation! Bob used to also encourage others by saying if you can’t quite believe that God loves you and is active in your life, then just pretend it’s true; suspend your disbelief for a day and see what happens! Then do it for another day, and another until it becomes the way you look at the world. If you look out into the world and only see a dry, parched, barren desert, look for just one thing that you can give thanks for. Look for one blade of grass in that barren desert, and when you see it, give thanks with your whole heart! But don’t stop there, keep looking and pretty soon there will be another blade of grass, something else to give thanks for and before you know it, the desert will actually be in bloom. It’s called faith!
As I write this article early in the morning the Saturday before our national election, I find myself deep in prayer for the healing of our country. My heart is troubled by the ease in which we have come to put each other down, to show disrespect and unwillingness to listen to one another, especially to those who differ from us. Disrespect, intolerance, the inability to listen are not Christian values; they are not Gospel values. They are not the way that Jesus taught us to live our lives. The fact is that we will elect a new president of our country this Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 and there will be winners and losers, those who are thrilled and those who are aching and many who just feel numb. My concern, my heavy heart, my prayers, my wonderings are focused on what will happen after the election. Regardless of who wins, how will we begin to heal as a people and a nation?
Recently at one of our midweek services we focused on the life and ministry of Henry Martyn, a priest and missionary to India and Persia in 1812. He had a unique gift for languages that led him to these countries in his late twenties where he translated parts of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer into Hindi and Persian. Sam Portraro in his book Brightest and Best says, “What was most remarkable about Henry Martyn was his respect for others. In every culture he entered, he took up the burden of learning another people’s language and worked to comprehend their way of seeing the world. He seems never to have assumed that those different from himself represented anything other than the rich possibility to learn something new about the richness of God” (Brightest and Best, pg 186.)
When we are open to the possibilities, it seems that in the most unlikely places and people we are able to meet the God whom we seek. Portraro goes on to say, “That is mission and ministry; it is meeting God in one another. It was certainly so for Henry Martyn, who seems to have undertaken his travels not so much to promote God, as to meet God. Our most fruitful witness and ministry come not from preaching God, but from seeking God, from venturing forth and reaching out to one another, to discover all the places and the many ways that God has gone before us—and comes out to meet us.”
How is God coming out to meet us following our election? How is God offering healing to our communities, our nation and our world? How are we called to show up and participate in that healing as light bearers? Will we respond to God’s call to show up? If so, what are we each willing to commit to in our lives? What specific action might we take to increase the respect, tolerance, gratitude and love in ourselves and in our nation, community and family? I recently saw a bumper sticker that touched me deeply. Instead of the traditional “God bless America” it simply said, “God bless all nations!”
At our baptism we are “sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever!” and we make some promises about how we will treat others. One of the ways I am committing to “show up” for the remainder of the year is to use the last five questions in our baptismal covenant as a daily prayer.
– Will you continue in the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers? I will with God’s help! How have I done these things today?
– Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? I will with God’s help! How have I done these things today?
– Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? I will with God’s help! How have I done these things today?
– Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? I will with God’s help! How have I done these things today?
– Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I will with God’s help! How have I done these things today?
(BCP, pg. 304)
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us, your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace. Sustain us, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give us an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.
The healing in our nation and our world begins with us as individuals being willing to show up to offer the light of Christ that is within us in specific, tangible ways. I have committed to saying my baptismal covenant as a daily prayer because I want to remind myself about the promises that I have made to God. I’m trusting that God will meet me there and help me to better live into these promises in specific ways allowing me to see the blades of grass of hope and healing in the parched dry desert…ultimately giving thanks for the desert that is in full bloom! How will you “show up” to offer your light to our world?
Blessings and gratitude to you and yours!
Limited Office Schedule Last Two Weeks in November
When we hired Joni as our church secretary she let us know that she and her husband had a vacation planned Nov. 15th to Nov. 30th. She will return to the office on Thursday, Dec. 1st.
We are working out specific office hours and hope to have coverage from 9:00-12:00 the week of Nov. 15th.
On Thanksgiving week the office will have minimal hours on the 22nd and 23rd and will be closed Nov. 24th -25th.
Christy will also be gone Nov. 23rd-25th as she will be in Sisters, with her family for Thanksgiving. She will return to Coos Bay on Nov. 26th.
Vestry Visibility: 2016 Mutual Ministry Review (MMR)
At the last Vestry meeting on Nov. 1st, we completed our mutual ministry review for 2016 by reflecting on the past year and our ministry together. This review is about asking ourselves how Emmanuel did in terms of our ministry as baptized Christians and we specifically look at our role as members of the congregation, the leadership of the Vestry and the leadership of Christy as our Pastor. It’s important to be able to take the time to acknowledge and celebrate our accomplishments. It’s also important to look at areas we need to continue to work on strengthening. Finally, we look at our goals to make sure they still seem to fit with our vision and the direction God is leading us. Here are some of the specific responses:
What do we have to celebrate about the Congregation’s Ministry?
– “It was a plus year! The whole church just seems happier.”
– They showed up for the Visioning event at the museum and were willing to risk participating in something
new. Also great participation at the stewardship dinner.
– The faithfulness of the altar guild and all the behind the scenes ministry that is done every week to make
sure we have beautiful flowers on the altar and to ensure that everything is in place for our worship services and cleaned up afterwards.
What do we have to celebrate about the Vestry’s Ministry?
– “the preschool reboot” and all the work to improve its viability and sustainability
– The work of the finance committee to improve the transparency and systems for financial management so we know and understand where our investments are and how they can be used.
– Work that was done to ensure that we are up to date with our policies and procedures for human resources.
– Improved work on Vestry visibility including regular newsletter articles, and monthly Q and A opportunities at both coffee hours.
– Engaged, active participation during our monthly meetings.
What do we have to celebrate about Christy’s Ministry?
– Offering opportunities for moving “outside the box” like the visioning event at the museum, possibilities of putting the pews on sliders to increase the potential usage of the sanctuary for music and dance concerts
– Working on increased relevance
– Strong leadership
What do we hope to do better next year, opportunities for improvement?
– Improved follow-through to get things done in a timely manner.
– Increase ownership of what we are doing and willingness to lead various efforts and ministries. Participate more in everything we are doing.
– Change the focus from “being too old and too tired” to do the things we used to do, to offering what we
have energy and passion for now.
2016 Goals: Are they still relevant for us as a congregation and how God seems to be leading us? Anything to add, drop or modify?
1.) Continue to learn how to follow Jesus.
2.) Offer opportunities to serve God and our neighbor.
3.) Continue to develop a plan for ongoing sustainability (financial resources, people, facilities).
4.) Fund a youth pastor/intern pastor for 24 months, and develop a sustainable system of support.
Overall it was felt that we need to work on our specific action plan for these goals including how we will measure the outcomes especially for the sustainability goal.
Asking the reflection question in the Vestry meetings and other groups, “Share a Jesus moment in your life or a moment when you felt closest to God/Jesus/Holy Spirit since we last met” has helped with goal #1.
As you read this article and reflect on our ministry together at Emmanuel over the last year do you have thoughts you’d like to add to any of these categories? If you do please send them to Christy or any Vestry member so they can be included in this MMR. It takes all of us offering our best gifts and stepping into God’s promises to be able to continue to do the work that God is giving us to do.
Submitted in Gratitude ~ Your Vestry
Advent Wreath Making at Coffee Hour Nov. 27th
Advent wreaths are a wonderful way to celebrate the season of Advent while preparing for the birth of our Lord. You can plan on making an Advent wreath for you and your family while enjoying the fellowship of coffee hour on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27th.
The Episcopal Church: Helping People Around the World
In these last several months the weather has been a threat for many, not only in the U.S. but worldwide. If you want to see how the Episcopal Church responds, visit the web site Episcopal Relief and Development. www.episcopalrelief.org
Christmas Baskets are coming!
Are you interested in helping our Christmas Outreach this year? We need:
– Shoppers – Each child will receive a toy and a blanket or sweatshirt
– Every family will need a laundry basket.
– Each basket will need toilet paper, laundry soap, dish soap, and other household items.
– A person or people to gather supplies from the church- toothbrushes and toothpaste, wrapping paper, laundry baskets from last year, and other items.
– Any monetary donations
– Organizers to help arrange baskets and supplies
– Wrapping party captains (Sunday, Dec. 11th)
– Volunteers to be available to hand out baskets the week of Dec. 12-16.
Please contact Julianna by calling 541-297-7766 or email: email@example.com to offer your help or to get more information. Also look for sign-ups at church. Thank you everyone in advance for your help!
It’s Book Fair time again! Reading is vital to every child’s success. Our Book Fair starts on Sunday 12/4 and continues through Sunday 12/11. Funds earned from our book fair are used to purchase books for our Preschool and our church library, as well as to provide books for our Outreach Christmas Baskets to families.
Book Fair Hours:
Sundays 12/4 & 12/11: Immediately following both services each Sunday
Monday, 12/5; Wednesday 12/7; Thursday, 12/8; Friday, 12/9: 9-9:30am and 11:30am – 12:30pm
Tuesday, 12/6: 9-9:30am only.
Note that Sunday, 12/11, is the last chance to buy books. This is a great opportunity to buy books for children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. If you wish, you can also shop online for these great books. The site is available from 11/22 through 12/11 only. Go to: http://www.scholastic.com/bf/emmanuelepscplchrchsch
Standing in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Community
In response to a statement of support from the Diocesan Council and an invitation from the Rev. John Floberg, presiding priest of the Episcopal Churches of Standing Rock, several of our clergy went to Standing Rock November 2nd-4th to stand in solidarity and witness to the ongoing conflict of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Our clergy who represented us were the Rev. James Joiner, St. Michael and All Angels, Portland, The Rev. Jeremy Lucas, Christ Church, Lake Oswego, the Rev. Dn Meredith Ayer Pech, Trinity, Ashland and the Rev. Dn. Ken Powell, Grace, Portland. As convention was meeting we continued to offer our prayers and support by sending this picture.
Jeremy and James drove 20 hours to be able to report to convention on Saturday morning about their experience (and Jeremy was also giving the report for the Board of Trustees.) There were clergy from every state in our country and many denominations and world religions were represented. They were told that the people of Standing Rock have been praying for months that the clergy would come and stand with them and they are so grateful. Please continue to offer your prayers for a peaceful resolution to this conflict that honors all people.
A huge thank you to all who helped make the stewardship dinner a great success!
To our chefs: Barb and Dave Kronsteiner, Melissa Cribbins, Joe Benetti, Judy Knutson, and Xandra McKeown, to John Knutson and Troy Cribbins for support in the kitchen, to Carla Courtney and Norm Frost for help cleaning up and to Jack Erskine for being our speaker! To many others who helped in many different ways to make it a wonderful celebration. We are grateful!
To date we have about 40 pledge cards turned in with commitments for 2017. If you have turned in your pledge card, thank you! If you haven’t done that yet, please take the time to reflect on how you will offer your best gifts of money, time and talents for the work and ministry of Jesus Christ at Emmanuel! The Vestry will be making follow-up calls on Sunday Nov. 20th so help us out and save us a phone call by turning in your pledge card as soon as possible.
At our Nov. 1st meeting, Bob Huggins, our Treasurer noted that for the second month in a row pledge payments are well below what was budgeted. In September pledge payments were down $4,228 from our budget projection. Our budget is solely dependent on your pledges so please do everything you can to remain current. If for some reason your situation has changed, please let Christy know so that your pledge can be adjusted. Also know that there are many in our community who are struggling financially so if you are able to give more than your pledge that will also help our budgeting process. We are grateful for each one of you and all the ways you contribute to our faith community.
Please watch for Thanksgiving Opportunities. Coos Food Cupboard will again host a community Thanksgiving meal. They have asked Emmanuel to bring pies to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, located at 2250 16th Street in North Bend, on Wednesday, Nov. 23. We are committed to 12 and please sign up on the sheet found in the back of the sanctuary. They will also accept servers and you will need to notify the office there if you are interested. The Community Thanksgiving meal is set for November 24, from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM. There is transportation and home delivery available for the meal. For more information, please call Holy Redeemer Catholic Church: 541-756-0633, ext. 22.
Benetti’s Restaurant also will provide a community Thanksgiving dinner and is accepting your store-bought pies and helping hands. Please see the sign-up sheets for that ministry in the back of the sanctuary. No one should go hungry on Thanksgiving Day. Praise God!
128th Convention of the Diocese of Oregon – Every Blessings
Convention Highlights 2016: Christy’s Impression on the Bishop’s Address and Sermon
As I reflect on my time at convention I feel connected, inspired and proud to be an Episcopalian. Connected because of the work and ministry that is being done on our behalf in communities all over our diocese, our nation and our world. Inspired by the courage individuals have had to act out of their passion and belief and the amazing ministries that are the result. Proud because our theology and spirituality as Anglicans allows, encourages and inspires us to be engaged in our world in so many different ways.
Our chancellor is stepping down after serving since 2008 and he addressed convention. He is leaving the diocese in much better shape than when he took over thanks to the hard work, commitment and prayers of many. He encouraged us all to treat the Diocese of Oregon as precious as it is! He also reminded us of a quote by our former presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, “If your church disappeared tomorrow who would notice?” Use that question to focus on how to be a blessing to the world.
The Bishop’s Address
Bishop Michael talked about the challenge of our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to be the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement. Jesus was loving, liberating and life giving and we are called to do the same. He sees us living that out by focusing on evangelism, reconciliation and by being good stewards of our environment. He then asks, “Can we see ourselves and our congregation in that vision?” In the politically charged atmosphere in the US today we see a very different world and it’s up to each of us to preach the word of God. The politics of hate and exclusion must not be allowed to win the day.
Bishop Michael went on to ask, “How does that impact our diocese?” He had put together a Blessing Basket, which would also be raffled, representing our blessings as a diocese that help to sustain us so we can represent the loving, liberating and life-giving nature of Jesus. A bottle of wine representing the Eucharist and how it sustains us week after week; music CD from the cathedral for all our musicians who help us see joy and rejoice in the Lord; a book on the Benedictine life representing the importance of how we teach the faith and having a rule of life; picture of our companion Diocese of Cuernavaca representing the liberating ministry of care and compassion; a bread board for all of the feeding ministries and programs throughout our diocese; a prison ministry candle representing ministry in all its fullness shining a light in very dark places; an amaryllis bulb representing the stewardship of creation and our environmental commission; and finally an icon of the Holy Trinity a symbol of God and God’s presence among us always.
His sermon during the Convention Eucharist and Ordination of Joyce Atchley, St. Stephen, Newport continued the same theme. He emphasized the ministry of the baptized. He walked through each question of our baptismal covenant and encouraged us to see how that covenant has a claim on each of us in terms of our ministry, whether lay person, deacon, priest or bishop. He concluded by saying what a privilege it is for all of us to be part of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.
Notes from the Episcopal Church Women luncheon Speaker: The Rev. Dcn. Marla McGarry-Lawrence “And who is my neighbor? Lessons from Latino Ministry”
For more than 40 years, starting in Boring, Oregon, we have had a Latino Ministry. In 1980, Father Hoyt was the first Latino Missioner. Rev. Dcn. Marla shared with us her journey and work with the Latino Ministry. She spoke affectionately about ‘sneaky Jesus’ – “He is so great. He gets us to do these things that we would never thought we could.” She also shared five lessons learned, mentioned below.
1. Spanish speakers come from 22 countries (where Spanish is the official language). Most Episcopal parishioners in OR come from Mexico. The USA is the 2nd largest Spanish speaking country in the world, second only to Mexico.
2. Not all Latinos are immigrants. 41% of all Americans who identify as Latino are NOT immigrants. The number of Latinos in Oregon is up 72% since 2000 (Nationwide, up 50%). Our Diocese has 10 congregations with Latino Ministries.
3. Not all Latinos are Roman Catholic!
4. The Latino community has strong values around family, hard work and religious faith.
5. Always be open to surprise and unexpected joy. Where is the Holy Spirit moving you next?
ECW officers were elected for 2017-2019. Jo Martin from St. Thomas in Dallas was elected President. Kay Marino from St. John in Bandon was elected Vice President.
2016 Proposed Amendment to the Constitution & Canons
An informative introduction was provided. Highlights from this are included below:
The foundational document of The Episcopal Church (TEC) is its Constitution approved at its third Convention in 1789, and drafted by some of the same men involved in drafting the U.S. Constitution. Next within that hierarchy of Church authority are the Canons of TEC. Below these are the Constitutions of various dioceses and their Canons, all of which must be consistent with the governance documents above them in hierarchy. The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon were drafted and ratified more than a century ago, and the last revision to our Constitution was in 1981.
The Constitution of the Diocese transmits our culture and the traditions of our church as well as forming the foundation the foundation for organizational governance. Under the Constitution, the Canons establish the mechanics of how we are going to accomplish what we said we would do in the Constitution. Canons include more Articles, are longer, more detailed, and easier to change as the need to do so arises.
The goal for amending our Constitution is to make it consistent what we actually do, edit for clarity, add what is needed and ensure we keep what is cannot be changed without loss. As two conventions must approve any constitutional change, they began this year with the Constitution. As the Convention approved carrying this proposal forward for consideration at next year’s (2017) convention, the committee will also submit a complementary set of canonical changes for consideration at that time (2017 Convention).
The Committee working on this did an excellent job of keeping the “big picture” items in the Constitution, and combining related areas. The Proposed Constitution now has 15 Articles instead of the current 22 Articles. Some have been combined, and the general content of others is felt to be better suited to be in the Canons. There were only a few minor changes at the Convention to what was proposed by the Committee.
I invite you to read our new proposed Constitution which can be found on the Diocesan website, or ask one of the Delegates, and we’ll make you a copy! Delegates: Pastor Christy, David & Terrye Laird, Nancylee Stewart