This Week: October 26, 2016

Dear Friends~

Are you a baseball fan? How about a supporter of Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)? Either way, have we got a deal for you!

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Bishop Jeff Lee of the Diocese of Chicago and Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of the Diocese of Ohio have a bet on the World Series, but it has nothing to do with what happens on the field.

Lee thinks the number of generous Chicago Cubs fans is greater than the number of generous Cleveland Indians fans, and he has a pound of Chicago-style hot dogs that says so.

Hollingsworth and a pound of comb honey collected from the hive at Bellwether Farm, the diocesan camp and retreat center, say Lee is wrong.

The prize goes to the bishop who rallies the greatest number of supporters. But whichever bishop is right, Episcopal Relief & Development and its partners around the world will be the real winners. So place your support now…

Make your donation to Episcopal Relief & Development HERE if you support the team that hasn’t won the World Series since Harry Truman was in the White House (that’s the Indians or Team Hollingsworth).

Or, HERE if you support the team that hasn’t won since Moses was playing T-ball (that would be the Cubs or Team Lee).

Whomever you support, both bishops and ERD thank you!

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Our Fifth Sunday Child-friendly Eucharist is this Sunday, October 30th. Given the date, you might expect that the theme will be All Hallows Eve. And we’re inviting the children (and adults, if you wish!) to come in costumes. Bring your little ones to hear more about how Halloween fits with the church.
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This Week: October 5, 2016

Dear Friends~

I suspect you have seen this beautiful and terrifying picture on the news.

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Hurricane Matthew, said to be about the size of Arizona, is currently approaching the US mainland, even as it has left devastation in its wake in Haiti. According to Reuters News Service at this hour:

“Hurricane Matthew churned toward the Bahamas and Florida’s east coast on Wednesday after killing at least 21 people in Haiti and prompting the hard-hit country to postpone a long-awaited presidential election.

Episcopal Relief & Development urges prayers for communities in the Caribbean and along the US East Coast that are preparing for or dealing with the impact of Hurricane Matthew.

O God, our times are in your hand.  

In the midst of uncertainty lead us by your never-failing grace

as we seek to be agents of healing and hope.  

Walk with us through difficult times;

watch over us in danger;

and give to us a spirit of love and compassion for those who suffer and mourn.  

And finally remind us that you have promised never to leave us

so that even in the valley of the shadow of death

your love may be felt, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

AMEN.

And if you are able to provide monetary assistance, click here to donate to the ERD Hurricane Matthew Response Fund.

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We had a great time celebrating St. Michael’s Day last Sunday.

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Watch out! Oliver’s toss is coming right at you!

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This Week: September 29, 2016

Dear Friends~

Today is St. Michael’s Day.

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I suspect at least some of us have a mixed relationship with angels. We are intrigued, hopeful, sometimes even sensing they are present, yet confused by an existence beyond our limits of time and space. And the image of St. Michael as an avenging angel may be troubling when we live in violent times and yearn for peace. Is there a place for St. Michael and All Angels (for indeed that is the full name of today’s Feast Day) in our lives? We’ll deal with just that question on Sunday as we celebrate our patronal feast. Come join us!

Here is the collect for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels:

Everlasting God,

you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order

the ministries of angels and mortals:

Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven,

so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. 

Amen.

BCP p. 244

Click here to read the lessons for St. Michael’s Day. These are the readings we will use for Sunday.

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This Week, September 9 2016

Dear Friends~

News Flash! In case you haven’t heard, the candidates for the next bishop of Los Angeles have been announced! 

Our neighbor, the Rev. Dr. Rachel Nyback, rector of St. Cross, is among the nominees. Woohoo! I think she is an outstanding candidate. My prayer is for the best person to lead us in this time of change and challenge—and I admit that I think Rachel is well equipped to do just that. Our delegates to convention, Julie Bergeron and Blaisdell Shaw, and I will have the opportunity to meet all the candidates, ask them questions and hear their vision for our diocese on Friday, October 7th at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Laguna Hills. This is one of four meetings with the candidates that will be held throughout the diocese that weekend. If you have a question you’d like answered, please let Julie, Blaisdell or me know before we go. Read more about the candidates and the process in this week’s issue of The Episcopal News Update. The election of our new bishop will take place during Diocesan Convention in December.

The Book of Common Prayer offers this prayer for the election of a bishop.

Almighty God, giver of every good gift:
Look graciously on
your Church,

and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese

that we may receive a faithful pastor,

who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Amen.

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Welcome, Adam! Our new choir director/keyboardist, Adam Behlen, begins work with us this Sunday. His first day is today, September 8th, meeting with the choir. We are very happy to welcome Adam to be with us. He has excellent credentials and is a talented musician. He will be starting a PhD program in music as USC’s Thornton School of Music in January. Come and meet him on Sunday!

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This Week: July 28, 2016

Dear Friends~

With the nominations of candidates for president of the United States by the two major parties completed this week, we are officially in election season. And so it seems appropriate to pray for our nation and our elections. I invite this prayer for elections from our Book of Common Prayer. You may want to bookmark it for future use.

Almighty God,
to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges:
Guide the people of the United States
in the election of officials and representatives;
that, by faithful administration and wise laws,
the rights of all may be protected
and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

BCP, page 822

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This Week: July 21, 2016

Dear Friends~

In these days when the heaviness of the world can feel burdensome, I was delighted to find the absurdity of the Feast of the Pokemon Go player,

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“a feast that recalls a miracle whereby unwitting adult players of a children’s mobile-phone game were tricked into boosting attendance stats for the Church of England.”  This feast comes complete with a collect, which I dare to share:

Almighty God,

who has gotta ‘catch us all’,

within the great Pokeball of your love.

Give us the power that’s inside,

so that we might not divert our eyes from the game map that you have set,

but instead, with Clefairy, Charmander and that electrocuted yellow rat thing,

come to the great PokeGym in the sky, where prestige points are infinite.
Amen.

Lifted, with grateful thanks and praise, from the Exciting Weariness blogspot.

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This Week: July 14,2016

Dear Friends~

It looked like it could be a tense standoff or worse when “Black Lives Matter” marchers confronted an “All Lives Matter” counter-demonstration in Dallas earlier this week. The police warned the groups to stay on their sides of the street… but something else happened.

Watch the video by clicking here.
(After it loads, you’ll have to click the arrow to play the video. And I’m sorry for the preceding ad… but stick with it; it’s worth it!)

It looks to me like an example of an answer to prayer. Let us pray…

Grant, O God,
that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart
and especially the hearts of the people of this land,
that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease;
that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

BCP p. 823

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This Week: July 6, 2016

Dear Friends~

One of my first understandings why the Church of England broke from Rome (to counter the line that it was because Henry wanted a divorce) was that we believe people should be able to hear the scriptures and worship in their own language. And, of course, that language is English!

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I am thankful for John Wycliffe, who first suggested this, and began the work of translating scriptures into modern languages (although to be sure, his translation is considered “middle English”). But honestly, it never occurred to me that other people in other countries were busy doing this same work in their languages. Who knew?!

Today on the church calendar we remember John (Jan) Hus, a follower of Wycliffe’s revolutionary thought and a church leader in Prague during the 14thcentury. So he was speaking to his people about God in Czech. Yes, apparently God speaks Czech, too! In Holy Women, Holy Men John Hus is identified as a “prophetic witness and martyr.” “Prophetic” since his work preceded the Reformation (which took place in the 15th century) and “martyr” because he was burned at the stake for it. The prayer for today is striking to me not for the usual reasons – i.e., that Hus was faithful to his understanding of God even to accepting burning for those ideas – but because of this line:

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This Week: June 30, 2016

Dear Friends~

I can hardly believe I need to contemplate yet another terrorist attack so soon. This time in Turkey.

Even before this latest event, the Episcopal Café posted this poem by Roger Hutchison about the importance of prayer.

I have seen so many social media posts calling for more “action” and less prayer.
“Prayer is empty”, they say.
“Prayer is safe.”
“Prayer is easy.”
“Prayer is not the answer.”
“Prayer doesn’t work.”
Jesus went to the garden to pray. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly,
and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
Jesus knew he was going to die – and he went to the garden to pray.
Friends. We must never stop praying.
I wish I could remember who told me to “Live your life as prayer.”
LIVE YOUR LIFE AS A PRAYER.
Pray in church, at table, and at your bedside.
Pray in color and with song.
Pray with your hands and with your heart.
Pray by looking into the eyes of a stranger.
That stranger may even be the face looking back at you from the mirror.
Pray at sunrise. Pray at sunset.
Pray in the darkness of night and in the shining light of day.
Pray with your hands raised.
Pray with your head bowed.
Pray with your feet. Walk with someone who is alone.
Pray with your voice. Speak the Truth. Be an advocate.
Pray in silence.
Pray out LOUD.
In his anguish he prayed more earnestly,
and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
There IS blood on the ground.
We must never stop praying.

And so, today I invite you to pray for the people of Turkey…and for all of us.

God of peace,

we lift up the people of Istanbul.

Comfort the weary,

bring healing to those who are wounded,

and receive those who have died into your loving arms.

Be present, O merciful God, and protect all your children through the hours of this night,

so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

From the Anglican Church in Canada

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This Week: May 12, 2016

Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost—often called the “birthday of the church.”

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 Painting by Ed de Guzman © 2014

It’s the day when the Holy Spirit came on the believers in wind and fire and they were able to share the Good News of Jesus to all the people in Jerusalem—in their own languages! In church we will hear the story from Acts 2. My favorite part is where all the people who hear the word come from.

“Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene,
and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—
in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

Come to church on Sunday and wear red… the color for the Holy Spirit. It’s one of the only red Sundays of the church year—the other one is Palm Sunday. (We see red on the church calendar on other days for martyrs of the faith.)

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