Standing at a Cross Roads… Be the Change You Want to See! Part I
On Sunday, October 8th, 56 of us gathered for potluck brunch and a congregational meeting in the context of our worship. The purpose was to identify where we are at this particular time in our history and to ask for God’s guidance as we move forward to do the work that God has given us to do. What did we discover? First we once again discovered that we enjoy coming together around food and worship and prayer. There was great energy as people who usually attend different services were able to spend time catching up. We began with the opening sentences and a hymn and then we feasted and shared with one another.
• Bob Huggins, our long-time Treasurer explained a graph of our expenses and income over the last three years, 2015, 2016 and 2017. This graph indicates a trend: we have consistently had a short- fall of about $12,000 each year.
• Pat Cross, our long-time pledge secretary, explained a graph representing the number of pledgers (regular financial contributors) and the level at which they have given for 2016 and 2017.
We then moved into the Ministry of the Word where we heard the lessons from scripture and Christy shared a homily celebrating the ministry that we have done at Emmanuel over the same three years.
• The Food Cupboard has given out 67,000 boxes of food to hungry people in our community. This has been accomplished with over 14,000 volunteer hours.
• The preschool has touched the lives of 67 children and their families, providing them with early childhood education and a solid foundation for the rest of their lives.
We’ve done all of this and much more while running a deficit budget. She told a story of a woodcutter who was an expert at cutting down trees. He would move into the forest and start whacking tree after tree. He got so caught up in what he was doing he didn’t notice that he was beginning to go slower and slower. He had forgotten to take time out to sharpen his axe. It’s time for us to sharpen our axe as we note that we are at a crossroads where we give thanks for all of our blessings and trust God to lead us forward into a future of abundance.
• We then discussed two possible roads forward and how they both might be abundant
– Christy at 3⁄4 time which would allow us to balance our budget
– Christy continuing at fulltime, which means we need to figure out where the additional $12,000 would come from.
• Christy shared an outline of how her time is currently spent and the potential changes if she were to work 3⁄4 time.
• We had a time of general questions about the specifics of everything that had been presented, then had table conversations to discuss our thoughts and feelings about the possible ideas as well as sharing additional ideas. How might both possibilities lead to more abundance?
Small group gatherings-a time to ponder and reflect with others: All of us have been asked to attend a one- time small group gathering to continue the conversation. In case you haven’t been able to attend one, the primary questions to ponder and embrace are:
• As we consider the 3⁄4 time option, how might less be more for Emmanuel?
• If we are convinced that Fulltime is the way we need to continue, then what might we learn from the 3⁄4 option and “less is more” conversation that might inform how we move forward?
• How are we each called to be the change we want to see?
Our Time of Stewardship: A Fall Harvest of Abundance! Part II
With the present realities of where we stand and the hopes for our future ministry fresh in our minds, we move into our annual focus on stewardship. This is a personal time of reflection where we each ponder where we are in our lives, the blessings that God has given us, and how we will respond with our money, our time, and our gifts. How will we be stewards of all that God has blessed us with?
Annual Stewardship Dinner, Nov. 5th, 4:00: This is the culmination of our stewardship season and one of our most fun events of the year. It’s a time to gather and be treated to a wonderful dinner, great fellowship and good stewardship teaching. This year our guest speaker will be The Rev. Frank Moss of Eugene. He most recently served in Pendleton and the Diocese of Eastern Oregon before retiring in Eugene. Everyone is invited and you only need to bring yourself!
Our Response: Each family or individual is asked to fill out a pledge card where we offer what we feel called to give to Emmanuel financially for the ministry of Jesus Christ in this place over the next year. We are also asked what gifts we would like to offer and if we are willing to commit to praying for Emmanuel’s ministry. Sunday, Nov. 12th is our ingathering, where we will bless all of the pledges and commitments that we have received for 2018 and offer them back to God.
Crossroads, Stewardship, Pledges: Where do we go from there? Part III
Your Vestry will take the responses they have heard from the small group gatherings and the pledges we have
received. We will work together to discern the best course forward for Emmanuel, how God is calling us to move into the future? A budget for 2018 will be put together by the Finance Committee and Vestry, approved, and brought to the Annual Meeting of the Parish in January to be affirmed by the congregation. This brings us full circle where we begin another year of ministry at Emmanuel continuing to do the work that God has given us to do and giving thanks for the abundant blessings in our lives! Your presence and participation matters. Be the change you want to see at Emmanuel!
Blessings! ~ Your Vestry and Christy
Vestry Visibility: THE SQUARE BLOCK AND THE CROSSROADS
I served as a Eucharistic minister at the 7:30 AM service last Sunday. During announcements, I reminded the congregation of the symbolism of the large gold offering plate that we use to collect the offering from the ushers. As an acolyte, you are taught that initially you are to hold it vertically so that it is clear to everyone, that it is empty. That is done as a reminder to each of us that part of our responsibility is to fill it with our offerings. I’d like each of us to reflect on that as we think about our pledges for 2018.
Emmanuel has owned the same square city block and our collection of buildings and grounds for years and as our laity numbers have diminished through the years so have our resources. So we have reached the crossroads, we have to make some choices and the choice we make is determined by the stewardship response of the parishioners. At the crossroads the choices are:
• We can plod along the way we have with a deficit budget until we run out of funds.
• We can trim back our major expenses, of a full time priest, to 3⁄4 time.
• We can keep everything and grow.
IT ALL DEPENDS ON OUR STEWARDSHIP—Think about what you want to do at this crossroad. Do you want to keep the block? Be the change you want to see!
Gratuitous, Pat Cross
EMMANUEL’S WILD WEST BOOK FAIR: Saddle Up & Read!
It’s Book Fair time again! Reading is vital to every child’s success. Literacy starts early – with seeing and handling books, being read to by others, seeing others take time to read, etc. You can help a child to gain important skills.
Emmanuel’s Book Fair will be open the following times:
Sunday, 12/3: immediately following both services;
Monday, 12/4 through Friday, 12/8: 8:45am – 9:30am; 11:45 – 12:15pm;
Sunday, 12/10: immediately following both services; last Chance!
If you wish, you can also do online shopping from 11/28 through 12/11/17 for these great books. Online shopping is only available during the above listed dates.
Godly Play Training at Emmanuel
We are so grateful to Caryl Menkhus Creswell, our Godly Play Instructor who led a spirit filled training. We gathered in the Godly Play Room upstairs to hear and to tell the foundational stories of our faith. Those who participated discovered great joy and great fellowship while we learned how to offer impactful Godly play lessons. We hope to begin offering them again soon at Emmanuel to the preschool during chapel and on Sunday mornings. Interested in helping? Let Christy know.
Undies for Rahab’s
We wanted to share! We had 110 pairs of undies and other assorted sundries for the Rahab’s Sisters ministry in Portland. The contingent from Emmanuel who attended the Convention in Salem took them up to hand off. Emmanuel’s generosity is outstanding.
Community Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving comes early this year and so it is no surprise that the organizers for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner have approach Emmanuel for a contribution. Would we please supply 30 pies? The county has stipulations on the pie, store bought and store cooked (think bakery). The sign up sheet will be in the Narthex 11/5. How to make this manageable? If 15 people sign up for 2 pies then we have it covered. What if we bring more? GREAT! Gloria Dei is the venue this year and the pies can be dropped off Wednesday 11/22 at the church between 10:00 and 3:30.
Bless you ever generous hearts for helping to feed the community many of which will be shut-ins, the poor, the hungry and those alone. ~ Terrye Laird
Just a thought! You can always purchase the pies from the preschool fundraiser and have it be a double outreach benefit. Thank you for all your support of these important community outreaches.
Our Thanksgiving service will be held on Sunday, November 19 with special music and prayers of the season.
Diocese of Oregon Convention 2017
On Oct. 26-28th Judy Jennings, Nancylee Stewart, Carla Courtney, Shannon Durkee, as an alternate, and Christy attended our Diocesan Convention in Salem. The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori was our keynote speaker. The main work of convention was to pass the budget, vote on resolutions to change our Diocesan Constitution and Canons and to consider 2 other resolutions that were brought before convention. The following are brief reports from your convention delegates.
Pre-convention Dinner: Thursday evening began with a dinner and presentation at St. Paul’s in Salem. We learned about the Prince of Peace Resettlement Program for refugees and Salem for Refugees, a new non- profit that is helping to meet the needs of refugees in the Salem area. They described their ministry as a connecting point between people and resources so that refugees can thrive. The statistics they described were staggering. There are 65.6 million displaced people and 28,000 are displaced every day. 22.5 million of these are refugees who are displaced and have crossed a physical border. They have been forced to flee their country due to violence and fear. About 80% of the refugees worldwide are women and 50% are children. Next year in the US, 45,000 will be allowed to resettle in the US and 400 of those will come to Oregon. Most of our refugees have been in the Portland area, but that has now expanded to the Salem area. One of the ways we can help to support this effort is by providing resettlement kits. Salem for Refugees has put together a pamphlet of various kits that they use: welcome kit, personal kit, bedding kit, kitchen kit, etc. They don’t usually resettle refugees in places as remote as Coos Bay but one way we could help at Emmanuel is by providing the various kits which they store so they are available when needed. Several people have talked to me ab out how we might help with the refugee crisis, maybe this might be a beginning. The evening ended with a beautiful sung evening prayer led by the choir of St. Pauls.
Report from Committee on Constitution & Canons, by Nancylee Stewart
The Committee on Constitution & Canons reminded us that Constitutional changes require passage by two successive conventions. The Constitutional changes were approved at last year’s convention, and were approved at this year’s convention as well. Also passed was the motion that the Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, 2013 revision, be repealed in its entirety and replaced by the 2017 canonical repeal and revision.
The changes in the Canons were aimed at placing items that changed more frequently from the Constitution into the Canons, updating archaic language and outdated information, as well as ensuring alignment with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. There was one amendment made to Canon 2.1, section 3(b), replacing “or” with “and” to ensure General Convention Deputies and Alternates are elected at the same time.
These documents are available on the Diocesan website. https://www.diocese-oregon.org/convention/
The 2013 Constitution & Canons are in a process of revision, addressed at the 129th Annual Convention. The updated documents are below.
The revised Constitution, as approved by the 128th Annual Convention.
The proposed Canonical revision, with redline edits
The proposed Canonical revisions, master copy
Summary and Explanation of Constitutional and Canonical Change Proposals
Submission by Judy Jennings
The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Retired Presiding Bishop-Keynote Address
She started by telling us that the times now are similar to the times when the prophet Micah lived. There is
war and destruction, predatory treatment of the poor, selfishness and greed. Micah left us with these words of encouragement, “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” We are meant to do what is fair and just. She also quoted Teresa of Avila who reminded us that Christ has no body in the world but ours. We are sent out into the world to GO, GO, GO– out into the world to engage in conversations. Get up, get out, and get lost in our neighborhoods in order to love God and our neighbors!
Submission by Carla Courtney, Delegate
At the 129th Convention of the Diocese of Oregon, two Diocesan Resolutions were presented, discussed and passed.
Resolution #1 urged the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon to endorse passage of Universal Health Care in Oregon that would provide health care for all people working or residing in Oregon. The Diocese will join the organization Health Care for All Oregon to continue to study, review, educate and receive feedback from the people and congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. A report will be provided annually to the conventions of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon until Universal Health Care is passed.
Resolution #2 declared that the Diocese of Oregon stand firmly in confronting hate, racism and poverty in this Diocese. Two of the discussion points included:
• Having leaders of the churches in the diocese complete Diocesan anti-racism workshops.
• That the Diocese direct the convening of a task force to develop best practices for feeding the hungry. Copies of these Resolutions in their entirety will be displayed in the undercroft.
At the beginning of the 129th Convention of the Diocese of Oregon, a statement was delivered by several diocesan leaders in response to the allegations of a lawsuit by a former diocesan employee, filed on Tuesday, October 24 and publicized in various news media. The full text of the statement is available in the church office, or entryway of Emmanuel or on the Diocesan website, www.diocese-oregon.org. Talk to Christy if you have any additional questions.
Fall is one of the key times when people seek out and look for new church communities. Maybe it’s the beginning of a more structured time following the summer that have people looking for a church home. They may have moved to our community over the summer, gotten settled, and are seeking out a spiritual home. Or perhaps it’s the impending holidays where despite the festivities all around us it can be a time of great loneliness and sadness for many. The reasons are varied, but we need to be prepared to greet and warmly welcome our visitors with our best hospitality.
When we are part of a church community and have that sense of belonging, it’s very easy to take it for granted. Yet we have the amazing gift and joy of coming together to worship, to be fed and renewed before being sent back out into the world. Isn’t there an incredible peace of knowing there are people who care for you and about you and your family, who pray for you and miss you when you aren’t there? But sometimes I think we take all of that for granted. It’s easy to get out of the habit of coming to church on Sundays and sometimes we even forget the importance of it. Your presence matters. With our 7:30 AM service, it’s different worshipping with a congregation of ten then it is a congregation of thirty, and at 10:00 AM it’s different with thirty than with fifty. When visitors join us, it has a different feeling as well.
Recently I was remembering a time in my 20’s when I got up on my day off and went to church when there were MANY other opportunities that also had presented themselves to me for that same morning. The hymns were so, so, the sermon wasn’t great and as I left I thought, “Well, that didn’t do much for me this morning!” As I drove away, it was like I was hit over the head with a lightning bolt…(imagine a cartoon with a talking bubble slamming into my head in the shape of lightning bolt!) “Christy, maybe that’s not the point! Maybe it is pleasing to ME that you are there to worship me. Maybe your presence, or smile, or greeting, or prayer or… is just what the person sitting across from you that morning needs to get through the next day of their life! Maybe…”
Ummh…point made! I’m not the center of the universe and just maybe it’s not all about me! That “lightning strike” changed my thinking in many ways. So in the midst of the fall season with the holidays right around the corner, I offer you two things to reflect on.
1.) Research shows that the number one reason people visit a church is because they have been invited by someone. Who do you know that you might invite to come to church with you? How might you help them to become part of our church community and to understand how the liturgy and our morning worship works? How might you introduce them to others in our church community so that they begin to feel like they belong?
2.) If you attend church regularly, look around and notice who you don’t see around as much anymore. Commit to writing them a note, or giving them a call to let them know that you miss them…it can mean a lot, and remind them that they do belong. On the other hand, if you have gotten out of the habit of going to church, and going to breakfast or sleeping in, or hiking, fishing or kayaking have become your preferred mode of worshipping God, perhaps you might ponder what it means to others and to God for you to be at church on Sundays. No guilt…just an invitation and an acknowledgement that when you aren’t there you are missed!
Blessings and gratitude for our church community! ~Christy