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The Clergy Corner
Does it seem these days like disaster lies around every corner? I read the news each morning. These days, it is almost never good. Our fellow citizens suffer in Puerto Rico. The status of American health care is constantly changing. There is talk of changing our agreement in Iran and the potential for war with North Korea. These are difficult days.
When times are difficult, people who believe in God have a number of ways we think about what is going on. Some believe that God is causing hardship as a form of judgement, a test or a lesson. "Everything happens for a reason" and "God doesn't send anything you can't handle" are common expressions of this concept. Others assert that God would never cause harm; the pain is due to the presence of sin and evil in the world. "A good God would never do this!" they respond. Still others say that it is beyond human capacity to understand the mind of God.
I tend to fall into that last section. I have seen too much unfairness in life to believe that God sends suffering as a test or lesson. But I also know that sometimes, pain comes as a consequence of our own choices - a form of God's judgment. What I try to remember is to keep my eyes focused on my own work: to let God use me to bring healing where there is brokenness, hope where there is hardship, and help where help is needed.
Scripture teaches that human life began in a garden of abundance (Genesis 2) and will reach fulfillment in a garden of healing (Revelation 22). My hope is to live in a way that reflects the desires of God for the world. I don't always know why bad things happen. I do know that my response is to be a witness to the God of love and truth. Most days, that's hard enough, without also trying to figure out the mind of God.
“God is the light shining in the midst of darkness, not to deny that there is darkness in the world but to reassure us that we do not have to be afraid of the darkness because darkness will always yield to light. As theologian David Griffin puts in, God is all-powerful, His power enables people to deal with events beyond their control and He gives us the strength to do those things because He is with us.”
Harold S. Kushner,
Overcoming Life's Disappointments
Eucharist will be available on the 1st, 3rd & 5th Sundays of each month.
All other Sundays will be Morning Prayer service.
Thanks to all who donated to the roof fund on Sunday: we collected over $100! We hope to hear from the Bishop Whittemore Foundation soon.
Looking for a volunteer to take responsibility for decorating the grapevine wreath by the sanctuary entrance, as needed. Please see Mother Nurya.
Invitation to Invite: Did you know that one of the most effective tools for growth in congregations is the simple invitation by a member to another person, whether that other be family, friend, colleague, or someone we meet in passing. You are therefore invited to invite!
Bible Study begins meeting TODAY, Wednesday, October 18 at 1 pm in the Parish Hall. We will be deciding the area of study. All invited!
Advisory Council meeting tomorrow, Thursday, October 19 at 6 pm.
Apple butter production will happen for Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27 at Pat M.'s house, beginning 8:30-9 am both days. All women invited to help. Please see her for info.
Christmas Choir: we are putting together a choir to sing on Christmas Eve at our 7 pm service. No experience necessary! You just need to be able to carry a tune. First rehearsal will be after church on Sunday, October 29. Please see Betty for more info.
Christmas Delites, one of the ECW's annual fundraising events, is just around the corner. We need donations of crafts, baked goods, silent auction items, and of course, cookies! We sell out of cookies almost every year--and we could sell more if we had them. Please help. We do have freezer space to store baked goods and cookies prepared now. Want to donate? Please see these people:
Hobo Dinner at St. Philip's: On Saturday, October 21, St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids will host a Hobo Dinner from 5 to 7 pm. Cost is $5. St. Philip's is located at 558 Henry Ave. SE, Grand Rapids. Speak with Ruth if you would like to carpool.
Gospel choir at St. Philip's: On Saturday, October 28, St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids will host Father Dan Scheid of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Flint to speak about the Flint water crisis. A gospel choir will also perform. The program starts at 3 pm.
Episcopal Relief and Development's motto is
Healing a hurting world. Please donate to any of their disaster relief funds by clicking