The Messenger October 2014
Blessed to be a Blessing “For all that has been, ‘Thanks.’ For all that will be, ‘Yes!'” Dag Hammarskjold
In 2008 when my family and I were leaving one church and waiting to be called to another one, we found a church community in Portland that was a great match for us. One of the inspirational things about this parish was the sign that was planted in the grass next to the exit of the parish hall, it read: You are now entering the mission field!
That sentiment happened to coincide with my introduction to Reggie McNeal, a pastor who offered example after example of what it meant to be “Blessed to be a Blessing.” His understanding of the church community was simple: it is one of the few communities or institutions that exists for the sake of those who are NOT members. In his books and in speaking engagements, he encourages churches to focus on all those outside their walls, literally to go out into the “Mission field” that begins right outside our doors.
He had a process for doing so and it is genius in its simplicity: He would ask people with whom he came in contact, “How might I ask God to bless you today?” He tells story after story of people’s responses and suggests that God is in the business of offering blessings, and when we go into the world whether it be at our place of work, the grocery store, school, the Food Cupboard, the gas station, or church, we can partner with God in God’s vision of blessing the world. “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you … and you will be a blessing to others.” (Genesis 12:2 NLT)
Traditionally, October is Stewardship month at Emmanuel and I am excited to share that journey with you. I love stewardship and believe that it is an integral part of our spiritual journey, and in my experience, it always seems to offer the promise of a deeper relationship with God for us as individuals and as a community of faith.
We have chosen “Blessed to be a Blessing” as our theme this year since it seems to reflect where we are as a community. Emmanuel has been richly blessed throughout its history and it is an incredible joy for me to join you at this particular time. I love being here and feel blessed by you, the members of this community each and every day! I have experienced dedicated ministers on all of our ministry teams, strong and caring leaders and staff, and warm worship. We are blessed to have passionate care-takers of our grounds, of our members and of all the details that go into being a church. You offer your gifts with competence and joy and encourage others to do the same. That is an incredible blessing for which I am grateful!
It is important to look back and give thanks for all of our blessings. At the same time, we stand together at this particular point in time, looking to the future and asking how are we called to partner with God and with each other? There is a quote from Dag Hammarskjold that seems to summarize this well: “For all that has been, ‘Thanks.’ For all that will be, ‘Yes!'”
It’s a busy month at Emmanuel, a month where we are blessed to be a blessing in many ways. There are many activities that are meant to bless us and our loved ones (including our pets). There are also opportunities to enter into dialogue about priorities for our future as we continue to do the work God has given us to do. As we participate in these activities and continue to integrate stewardship into our lives, let us ponder this question: “How might God be blessing me to be a blessing to others?” Please save the dates below and plan to join in the celebrations and conversations.
October 5th: Celebration of St Francis at both of the services and blessing of animals who can’t make it to the park later in the day.
1:00: Blessing of the animals at Mingus Park with our sisters and brothers from Gloria Dei.
October 12th: 4:30-6:30: Stewardship Dinner and Fellowship
October 19th: Discussion with your Vestry after each service: Mutual Ministry-What’s My Part? Growing the Church by Building Relationships, Offering Hospitality and Including All
October 28th: 7:00PM: Celebration of New Ministry and Christy’s Institution as Our New Rector by Bishop Hanley
November 2nd – Celebration of All Saints and Renewal of Baptismal Vows
We are indeed so blessed and I look forward to seeing how God is calling each of us to bless others in the months and years to come!
Blessings to you and yours!
Celebration of New Ministry
Tuesday, October 28th at 7:00PM
Mark your calendars and plan to attend the institution of our new rector Christy and the Celebration of New Ministry for Emmanuel. Bishop Michael will be here to preside over this festive service that includes the giving and receiving of symbolic gifts related to our ministry together. If you would like to help plan this celebration and liturgy please let Christy or a member of the Vestry know.
Youth Group to Meet 1st and 3rd Wednesdays from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Six of Emmanuel’s youth and friends met with Christy and Annie on Wednesday, Sept. 24th for pizza, conversation and to make “dog bones” to be given out to our furry friends when they are blessed on St. Francis Day, Oct. 5th. Those attending said that they would like a combination of activities that include service to others, learning, and fun and decided it would be best to meet every other week. We will start with dinner while we gather, followed by the evenings activities. Come and bring a friend on October 8th. Talk to Christy or Annie with any questions.
FOOD CUPBOARD NEWS
Coos Cupboard will be the name for the Ecumenical Emergency Food Cupboard as of September 15.
Notes from the Vestry Retreat
Emmanuel’s vestry and Pastor Christy took time away in September to explore our new life together! First, we took a look at what we’ve done well this past year. We’re still here! With everyone’s help, we’ve taken good care of the buildings and grounds. The Preschool is in session and thriving. We managed to have services every Sunday and a lot of Wednesdays. We filled Christmas baskets, visited shut-ins, provided hospitality at coffee hours and receptions. We’ve had interesting guest preachers and welcomed our interim rectors Fr. Jim Young, Fr. Jim Boston, and the Rev. Wendy Smith, for whose ministry we are grateful. I think I speak for all the vestry and pastor when I say we came to the retreat with great hopes, a measure of enthusiasm, and a bit of fear to discover what comes next for Emmanuel.
Our call to ministry comes at baptism. We know this, but what does it mean? We each have gifts and talents, things we are passionate about and experiences like no one else’s. Because we are baptized, God calls us to use these in partnership with God and each other to be Christ to the world.
Christy first led us to talk about some why questions: Why are we here? Why does faith matter? Why Emmanuel? Why are we doing the things we already do? Then there were the what questions: what should we focus on? What needs to happen in the next 3 months? If we accomplish our goals, what does Emmanuel look like in a year? Finally there were the how questions: How will we work to meet our goals? Who has the gifts, passion and joy to be on the team? What are the steps? Who are the helpers?
By the end of the morning, three overarching goals had emerged for the next 12 months:
Goal # 1: Reaching out (our part) to establish spiritual relationships (God’s part.)
“Getting to know you…..”
Goal #2: Ensuring that we are inclusive in all that we do.
“There’s a place for us, a time and place for us…..”
Goal #3: Hospitality
We offer our best, God transforms.
These goals will provide structure for a Mutual Ministry Agreement for priest, vestry and people. A Mutual Ministry Agreement puts us all on the same page and helps us design our parish life, laying out the why, what and how of the things we do as Emmanuel.
As a vestry, we are excited to learn what comes next. We also want to share more about the goals with you and hear what you think. Please join us Sunday October 19th for town hall meetings after both services for more conversation.
Women of Emmanuel September Meeting Notes:
A gathering of The Women of Emmanuel was held 9/21/2014 and blessed with prayer by Pastor Christy Close Erskine. Eleven members were gathered.
The next ECW Diocesen meeting will be October 11, 2014 at St. Andrews in Florence. It is titled “Let’s Stir It Up: A New Spirit”. The flyer and registration form will be on the bulletin board at the entry to the undercroft. Any who would like to carpool can put their name on the bottom of the flyer.
Susan Forman would like to schedule a steering committee meeting for the outreach Christmas baskets. Any who are interested are welcome to attend. Please look for a date to be announced.
Kerry Oxford, Emmanuel’s Parish Nurse, shared that there is a new health seminar scheduled. Saturday Nov. 1 Megan Ridel will speak about “Depression and Coping with Loss”. We welcome the news that Kerry has renewed her membership in the Parish Nurse Organization for the next 2 years.
Christy started our discussion of the holiday bazaar by talking about the Bible story of hospitality ie. offering your best, as exampled by the 3 holy visitors who visited Sarah and Abraham (Genesis 18). “Offer your best with joy with no expectation of return”
A lively discussion ensued with a review of surveys, identification of weak areas and alternatives.
At the conclusion of the discussion it was agreed that there is support for a bazaar. On Saturday Nov 7 Emmanuel will hold its 2014 “Holiday Blessings” bazaar. All who responded to surveys are given thanks, the Vestry’s support and enthusiasm is acknowledged and we hope to move forward with a blessed bazaar as a united church community of Emmanuel.
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, 11/2: immediately following both services;
Monday 11/3 : 8:30am – 9:15am & 11:30am to 12:30pm;
Wednesday 11/5 : 8:30am – 9:15am & 11:30am to 12:30pm;
Friday, 11/7/14: 9am to 2pm during Emmanuel’s Bazaar.
Sunday, 11/9/14: immediately following both services; last Chance!
This is a great opportunity to buy books for children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. Emmanuel’s Preschool will also have a “wish list” for anyone who wants to purchase books for them.
If you wish, you can also do online shopping from 10/29 through 11/18/14 for these great books. Online shopping is only available during the above listed dates.
In Other News:
Disposable Razors Needed!
As part of our Diocesan Convention this year, we have been asked to help support a non-profit in the Salem area called Interfaith Hospitality. They help those in need find food, clothing and shelter. They are in desperate need of personal items so Canon Neysa has given each of the convocations one item to focus on and our item is disposable razors. Next time you’re at the store please get some disposable razors and place them in the basket in the entryway. They will be taken to convention on Nov. 13th for the Thursday hospitality night where we will hear more about Interfaith Hospitality while we join our items with the other convocations’ items into packs to be given out to those in need.
Holiday Blessings” Friday, Nov 7th 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Emmanuel will hold its 2014 “Holiday Blessings” bazaar. Stay tuned for more information on how you can be a part…
Christmas Bazaar Crafts and Fellowship
Love working on crafts in the company of others and want to help support Emmanuel’s Christmas Bazaar? Then join Christy in the Undercroft on all
Thursdays in October from 2:30-4:30 and/or 6:30-8:30.
Emmanuel’s tradition of helping families at Christmas is an important ministry for our congregation. Everyone interested in participating in this ministry is invited to a planning meeting on
Thursday October 23rd at 7:00 PM.
If you cannot attend but want to be involved please contact Susan Foreman.
by email- email@example.com, or by phone 541 404-3886.
Ghosts, Goblins and Saints
The Origins of Halloween and All Saint’s Day
As the days grow shorter and gardens are put away for yet another year, the church turns its attention to the annual celebration of All Saint’s Day on November 1st which we will celebrate this year on November 2nd. What many people don’t realize is that All Saint’s Day is integrally connected to the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. But why are these such important events in the life of the church?
All Saint’s Day is the celebration of those who have contributed successfully to the creation of the kingdom. The saints were not perfect people, but they were whole and holy men and women who in one way or another dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ. All Saint’s Day is a time to reflect on their lives as we recommit ourselves to Jesus Christ, remembering the line of a favorite hymn, “I sing a song of the saints of God… and I mean to be one too!” It is also a time when we remember the communion of saints and the vast body of the faithful who have already died. We read the names of our loved ones who have died reminding us of our continuing connection to them through our faith in God. Finally, on All Saints it is our tradition to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Baptism offering individuals an opportunity to commit their lives to Jesus Christ and allowing us all to renew our own baptismal vows.
In the church year, it is very common for such a great feast to be preceded by an “eve” or vigil like the celebration of Christmas Eve prior to Christmas and the celebration of the Great Easter Vigil before Easter. In a similar way at sunset on October 31st we launch our celebration of all that is “holy” with a consideration of all that is “unholy”.
All Hallows Eve, or Halloween dates back to the pagan festivals of the dead which celebrated both good and evil souls. The church placed the feasts of All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints right on top of these ancient rituals and practices. Originally, it was thought that witches and the souls of the dead hovered unseen in the sky. They went wild and played tricks on All Hallows Eve and, therefore, they needed to be placated with food and sweets. These ancient practices still color the way people enter into Halloween festivities today, as we don our costumes to go from door to door and beg for treats, saying, “Trick, or treat!”
There are some Christian bodies and Christian families that will not allow their children to participate in Halloween at all, because of its ancient connection to paganism and its continuing association with devils, witches, monsters and all the things that “go bump in the night.” Another way of looking at this festival is to truly connect All Hallow’s Eve with All Saint’s Day and use it as an opportunity to show our children and ourselves that we are not afraid to name our adversaries and dress up as the scary enemy, for then, when we take off the costume, we are proving that we can resist evil and reclaim our selfhood, all in the name of Jesus Christ.
Feast of All Saints and Sacrament of Baptism Celebrated on Sunday, Nov. 2nd!
This year the Feast of All Saints will be celebrated on Nov. 2nd at both of our services. It is one of the major feasts of the Christian year and a time for us to give thanks for the Communion of Saints and the example they have set for all of us. We remember the lives of our loved ones who have died before us, and we also celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. If you would like the Sacrament of Baptism for you or your child, please talk to Christy. If you would like your loved ones who have died to be named in the necrology that will be read at the beginning of the Great Thanksgiving as a reminder of the Communion of Saints that surround us, please let Julianna know by October 29th.
FOR THE HEALTH OF IT By Kerry Oxford, Parish Nurse “Staying Healthy Emotionally”
We have a new health seminar coming to Emmanuel. On Saturday, November 1st from 11:00- 12:00 PM, Megan Ridel, Licensed Professional Counselor with Coos County Mental Health will join us to present a seminar on “Staying Healthy Emotionally.”
The seminar will focus on Depression and Coping with Loss. We will discuss how stress, life’s changes and challenges and illness and loss can leave us feeling sad and depressed. Megan will help “normalize these feelings and teach us how to help ourselves and others with life’s challenges.
A lunch and time for fellowship will follow the seminar. The lunch and seminar are FREE! Please plan to come, participate, and have fun while we learn together.
RSVP: Kerry Oxford, RN Parish Nurse at 541-269-5829.
FROM THE DESK OF ANNE ABDY September 2014
Well, we are about four weeks into the semester and I’ve crashed. I took a 4 hour nap at noon today. I cancelled my appointments and went to bed. I couldn’t go one step further. Now I am refreshing my body at the weekly picnic here in the seminarian housing area where the kids have a playground, open grill, tonight’s treat–a movie for the kids. It’s a time for fellowship. Sewanee does a good job creating opportunities for community fellowship. I think I recognized that when I chose this sacred place for study.
But community at Sewanee is not just school functions like the Thursday fire-pit night, and gathering at the local tavern or eatery. There are opportunities to explore the mountain with planned bike rides and hiking trails. But community development takes place off the college campus too. Seminarians are encouraged to form relationships with the numerous parishes on and around the Cumberland Plateau. St. James is my home parish for now till I start my field education. Here’s a picture of your friend and mine, The Rev. Dr. Linda Hutton at a recent outdoor service hosted at their ranch with Eeyore, the Donkey. St. James has welcomed me with open arms. They have game night, picnics, Bible studies, opportunities for working with the community, and much more. It has been an oasis for me and a little bit of Oregon too!