As Jack’s and my mission trip draws nearer, that’s a question that many people have asked me. Of all of the places you could go, or the things you could do for your annual continuing education, why are you going to Africa? I was grateful to be asked this question because it led to much reflection about what I am hoping to experience and learn.
Africa has always been on my bucket list. One day about a year ago, my husband Jack who works as a hospital chaplain was calling on a patient. In the course of their visit he discovered that she and her husband were both Methodist pastors and they attended Church of the Transfiguration in Sisters, the same church that our family attends there. This couple goes to the early ecumenical service so they had never met. After talking for a while she said, “You and your wife should come to Africa with us?” Turns out they have been leading mission trips to Africa through the Volunteers in Mission program with the Methodist Church for the last 12 years and actually lived there for three years while Jim served as the hospital administrator. Jack came home that night and said, “I think we should go to Africa!” Never one to say no to an adventure, the rest is history.
So why do I consider this continuing education and not vacation? Sometimes continuing education is spent learning intellectual things and sometimes it is more experiential. For me a mission trip is where you offer yourself, mind, body and spirit to help others in need. It can be in the place we live or far away, but in the experience of offering ourselves to help our neighbors, we are the ones who are ultimately transformed. The way that this trip evolved…an invitation in the midst of Jack doing his ministry of chaplaincy, to a place we’ve both always wanted to go…to serve others in hospitals, schools, an orphanage and churches…those are some of the reasons we “know” our names are on the list, and God has called us to be part of this team. Hard work, transformational ministry and the experience of a lifetime? You bet! Vacation? Not so much!
When I experienced my call to ordained ministry I was on retreat in Cuernavaca, Mexico. My spiritual director at the time said to me, “I think God needed to get you out of the country where you don’t speak the language in order to hear God’s call!” I’ve thought a lot about that over the last couple of months. Is there something that I will be more open to because I’m in a very different culture where I don’t speak the language? What is it Lord, that you want me to learn and experience and reflect on?” I don’t know the answer, but I’m working to prepare my heart to truly be open and to let go of any expectations.
My hopes are that by immersing myself in a different culture I will be able to experience time and abundance in a different way. We have so much in our country and yet how many times do we end up complaining that there isn’t enough time or money? I’m looking forward to having that sense of scarcity challenged. I’m also hoping and praying that by being a minority in a predominately black country I will be able to go deeper into the understanding of my own racism and my part in the institutional racism of my country. Perhaps going back to the continent where many of the slaves in our country were born and then captured will inform my understanding of the work I still need to do, help me heal and bring increased healing to others. I’m looking forward to serving alongside my husband for three weeks and to speaking the universal language of love to those we come alongside. I’m looking forward to truly offering myself to God, “Here I am Lord, send me!” At the end of our trip we get to stay in a very nice hotel and go on a three day safari…I am also truly looking forward to that!
For those of you who are also travelling this summer, “Journey well!”
Summer blessings and my prayers to you and yours! Christy
Happy 4th of July
The Preschool and Kerri are on vacation this week to enjoy some much deserved vacation time! As a result, the office will be closed until Tuesday, July 10th.
General Convention of the Episcopal Church and The ECW Triennial Gathering July 5th -13th in Austin, Texas!
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. The Rt. Reverend Michael Curry is our Presiding Bishop and the head of the Episcopal
Church. He’s the one who likes to remind us that we are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement encouraging us to get up and get going to spread the love and joy to those who don’t know about it! He has inspired many and will continue to lead our church for the next 6 years. The ECW Triennial meets at the same time to carry on their work and ministry on behalf of the Church.
There are many highlights of this year’s convention including The Episcopal Church Conversations (TEConversations), three engaging and informative sessions each focused on one of the three priorities of General Convention – Racial Reconciliation, Evangelism and Care of Creation.
Additional items for discussion at this General Convention include:
* whether to ever publish another Book of Common Prayer or continue to use supplements * a listening session to hear people’s stories of how they have been marginalized by the
church. This will help inform how we can ensure that our church is welcoming to all. * how we call and screen our bishops and much, much more!
Consider offering yourself as an “intercessor or pray-er” from now until July 13th praying for the work and ministry of General Convention, the governing body of the church gathered together, for all of the delegates and for our ministry and mission.
“Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be
present with those who take counsel at General Convention in Austin, Texas for
the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Book of Common Prayer, pg. 818
“God is listening to us. Listen for him to be a part of the conversation.”
…Finley, Connie, Cathy, Linda, Robert, Cameron, Megan, Joe, Carol, Jeff, Fritz, Jasmine, Thom, Ruth, Joe, Mackenzie, Sharon, Randy, Oliver, Josh, Jill, Robert, Susan, Charles, Ralph, Jim, Betty – What do I do With This Long List of Names?
-submitted by Fran Whitaker
Each Sunday morning as I opened the bulletin this question confronted me. There was a time when I knew most of them. It was lengthy but manageable. As the list grew, it became more practical to leave off the last name providing for more space and anonymity. Now what do I do if I consciously want to pray for these people? I tried offering them to God each morning by reading each name. That didn’t feel right. I tried ignoring the list. That felt even less right. I know God knows each one but I think he wants me to know them too. After much trial and error I found a way that usually works for me. Because my prayers are a conversation with God I can trust he will tell me what works and what doesn’t.
Monday morning I pray the entire list with pen in hand. I may not know the specific person named but I do know folks who have that name. I underline the ones I think I can identify. The next morning I may pray only the underlined names thinking of the ones I know personally. God knows. The third morning I often pray only my personal list. Those who know I am praying for them. I try to be direct by letting people know I’m praying for them. The rest of the week I do a variation of the above. It is comforting to know that the entire list is prayed at each Wednesday healing service. This works for me. You may have another “system.” God is listening to us. Listen for him to be a part of the conversation.
Please welcome our bookkeeper, Diana Hunter, to our staff team!
She shares with us, “Hi my name is Diana Hunter, I moved to Reedsport a year ago from Colorado. I fell in love with the Oregon Coast and am excited to make it my home! I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be the bookkeeper for the Church, and to be part of an outstanding Christian team. I’m very delighted to have been chosen for this position in my field and look forward to meeting everyone.”
Diana is currently training with Tammy in the evenings during the month of July. We are incredibly grateful to Tammy for agreeing to stay on to provide this training. We will be looking for a way to celebrate and thank Tammy for her expertise and all that she has done as our bookkeeper over the last 6 years. Fortunately as a church member, she will continue to be around so we don’t need to say goodbye, just thank you!
Who’s covering what while Christy is on mission July 2nd – 25th?
Sunday Worship: The Rev. Rich Landrith, will cover Sunday services and preach. Tom has some wonderful music planned and Rich is a lot of fun so we will be in good hands on Sunday morning!
Please extend a warm welcome and help him find his way around as this is only the second time he’s been here. He will be staying at Shepherd’s House during the weekends.
Emergency Pastoral Care will be provided by The Rev. Eileen Hedon while Christy is gone. Eileen is retired from St. John’s in Bandon and her phone number is 316-833-8213. Last time Christy was away she supplied and she very much enjoys our congregation. She also has a heart for pastoral care so if needed she will serve us well.
Wednesday services in July: There will be no Wednesday services in July. We will look forward to resuming our midweek service schedule on August 1st with eucharist at 6:30 AM and 12:00 PM.
Leadership Team: Dave Laird, Senior Warden will also be out of town for much of July. Pat Cross and our Junior Warden, Josh Payne will fill in for any urgent needs.
Pastoral Care: This will be provided the same way it always is, by each of us caring for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. A ride here and there, a meal, flowers an unexpected visit or phone call. This is the body of Christ at work. Let’s be mindful to find ways to stay connected this summer.
Hospitality: We have many visitors in July with the music festival and many other activities. Continue to pray for those who will come through our doors. When you are in town, be at church to welcome them to our community whether, it’s for one day or for the next 20 years!
A note from Christy and her team:
Thanks to all of you who have supported this mission with your prayers, financial donations, school supplies, preemie baby hats, blankets, and books. Your generosity, prayers and love have truly joyed our hearts. We’ll look forward to sharing our experiences and reflections with you when we return.
Please continue to keep our team in your prayers and know that I’m holding you close to my heart and in my prayers while I’m away!
SAVE THE DATES!
European Street Fair 9 – 9 – 17
Food & Drink! Games! Music! Dancing! Surprises! Let’s get the whole parish to join in and have fun while we make it happen! This event also gives Emmanuel the opportunity to reach the wider community to share what we love about Emmanuel! Don’t miss out on the fun, please contact Teri Whitty to find the best place for you to offer your gifts and get involved.
Godly Play Training in September
Save the afternoon of Sept 14th and the 15th for an awesome retreat experience and training in Godly Play. Caryl Creswell will once again return to help us build the team of trained storytellers and door keepers so that we can offer Sunday School during our 10:00 AM service. We will attempt to have teams who serve a month at a time so you’re not committed every Sunday. More info available in August. Don’t miss this great opportunity to help our youngest members learn the foundational stories of our faith while you brush up as well. Call the church office with questions or to reserve your spot!
Dear Emmanuel Members,
On the Vestry, I work alongside Terri Whitty on hospitality, to welcome new community members into our church with hospitality, information and by September 9, 2018 an event open to the public that we are billing the first European Street Fair. While the Street Fair is Terri Whitty’s brain child, I have been working on a different project reaching out to people new to Coos Bay/North Bend via snail mail style letters, hand addressed, signed by Pastor Christy and Senior Warden David Laird, then stamped and posted.
The letter isn’t “boiler plate”. Instead I make a good effort to personalize each one. Where possible, I like to acknowledge in the opening paragraph, the training, educational foundations and expertise the recipients of our welcome letter bring to our community. I describe us as one of the founding churches of our area. I name our community wide ministries: food cupboard and pre-school with infant and daycare. The letter includes al of our contact information and I invite all faith traditions to pay us a visit as a place that values community service. To date I have mailed about two dozen letters to new professors at SOCC as well as to new medical professionals. I plan to identify additional sources through work related web pages, prepare letters and send them as often as the vestry meets.
I need your help to continue to reach out and welcome new members to our beautiful area by passing along by phone or email (530-217-9183 or email@example.com) your personal knowledge of new faces — names with an address and some general background information are sufficient. Newcomers need not be just arrived and unpacking. They may have lived in the area for a few years, but they may not know about us.
If you can help me find out where they’ve moved from, perhaps what they do, where they went to school and/or why they moved here and pass it on to me, I’ll take care of the rest. Including just those bits of knowledge, to my eye, makes a personal and friendly but not intrusive letter.
Enjoy the beautiful summer weather while we have it!
Yours in Christ, Sheryl Gerety, Emmanuel Vestry/Welcome Committee