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The Clergy Corner
A while ago I was asked, "Where do you go on Sundays when you are not at Holy Spirit?" Our default has been to worship at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on the weekends when we aren't at Holy Spirit. That's where we raised our kids, and sometimes St. Andrew's Saturday evening liturgy is the perfect place to take teenagers (to whom you can then promise a relaxed Sunday morning).
But this last weekend I had a bright idea: why not explore a new community? Then I remembered that our Advisory Council had discussed creating a partnership for youth ministry with Peace Lutheran Church in Sparta. And
then I remembered that Peace Lutheran has a youth ministry cooperative with two other Lutheran churches. One is in Rockford and another in Comstock Park. (The Episcopal Church is in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to which all three churches belong).
I looked up all three worship times and selected Zion Lutheran Church in Comstock Park as our congregation to visit, mostly because it was closest to our house. This church is pastored by the Rev. Julie Schneider-Thomas, who is married to the pastor of Peace Lutheran in Sparta.
When our family parked at Zion Lutheran we noticed something familiar: the number of cars in the parking lot. The church is about the same size as Holy Spirit. The worship was musical and reverent. Pastor Julie preached a wonderful sermon. I noticed during worship that the acolyte was Katie Schneider-Thomas, and I remembered hearing that Bryan and Julie had a teenage daughter.
At coffee hour, I introduced myself and my two kids to Katie. We discovered that she is a high school sophomore who spends time at all three churches her parents serve. It was wonderful to watch my kids register the fact that they are not the only teenagers who have weird lives with a pastor-parent! Katie also warmly invited my kids and the youth of Holy Spirit to be part of future youth ministry events.
In Advent, we look forward with hopeful expectation. We now have two opportunities for youth ministry: the Grand Rapids Episcopal Youth, which welcomes our teenagers to all events, and also a cooperative ministry with the Lutheran churches that have a home in Sparta, Rockford, and Comstock Park, who also welcome our teens. Suddenly we have gone from "not really sure what to do with our youth" to "wow, so many possibilities!"
I ask your prayers as the year turns and next steps are discerned. I especially ask your prayers for the teenagers in our midst. May we know what is right to help them discover, love, and serve Christ with all their lives.
Christian joy doesn’t mean that we are sticking our heads in the sand and saying, “
it’s fine, we’re fine, everything’s fine” while running past the gutter of broken dreams, eyes averted.
Joy isn’t denial of grief or pretending happiness.
Now, now I know this: joy is the affirmation of the
truest thing in this life.
Joy is born, not from pretending everything is fine, but from holding both hope and truth together. The Christian can stand in that liminal space, the place of grief, even there
with joy. Why? Because joy is the affirmation of the thing that is truer than any trouble, any affliction: the affirmation that Love wins. Jesus is as good as we hope, it’s all worth it, and all will be redeemed.
- Sarah Bessey, "An Advent Series: Joy."
Read the rest here.
Eucharist will be available on the 1st, 3rd & 5th Sundays of each month.
All other Sundays will be Morning Prayer service.
In order to pay the quoted cost and to gather funds to cover additional costs that become apparent after the project has started, the Advisory Council voted to launch immediately a campaign to raise an additional $5,000. If more than $5,000 is contributed, the additional funds will be dedicated for future building projects. We welcome donations in any amount, by check payable and mailable to the church (address below), or by credit card or PayPal through the button at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
Our Christmas Eve/Day services:
Sunday, December 24: 10 am Morning Prayer (4th Sunday in Advent)
Sunday, December 24: 7 pm Holy Eucharist (Christmas Eve)
Monday, December 24: 10 am Morning Prayer (Christmas Day)
Rockford Christmas Celebration and Live Nativity will begin on Friday, December 15 at 6:45 pm, with a Christmas carol walk starting from Rockford Baptist Church, 221 Courtland St., Rockford. The walk will travel on Dayton and E. Bridge Street to the "live nativity scene" located at Speed Merchants Bike Shop, 106 E. Bridge St. (corner of Bridge and Main sts). There, the Christmas story of Jesus' birth will be told, with more carols. Refreshments will be available for all attendees at the United Methodist Church, 159 Maple St. NE. If you go, please bring an electric candle, flashlight, or cell phone to carry during the caroling walk.
A service of Advent Lessons and Carols will be presented by the St. Mark's Choir on Sunday, December 17 at 5 pm at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 134 Division Ave. North, Grand Rapids. Free will offering.
Trinity Institute streaming in three EDWM locations: the Healing Racism Task Force is arranging for the
Trinity Institute to be presented in three locations around the diocese February 2-3, 2018. The locations will be Grace Church, Traverse City; St. Mark's, Grand Rapids; and St. Martin of Tours, Kalamazoo.
Trinity Institute is an annual conference that equips clergy and laypersons for imaginative and catalytic leadership. Trinity Institute conferences present emerging and inclusive theological and social perspectives and engage participants in inquiry, dialogue, and reflection.
This year's conference is designed to foster a sense of connection and shared values, and features leading activists, theologians, authors, and experts on how to integrate core values into strategic and effective action, including the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Michelle Alexander, author of
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness; and Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet, theologian, and mediator.
Attending both days of the streaming event will qualify as a healing racism credit required by diocesan policy for leadership. Registration forms, information about cost and meals will be available soon.
Click here to see the Trinity Institute schedule.