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The Clergy Corner
Last week when I was away in North Carolina and Ohio, I kept thinking of our context in Belmont and northern Kent County.
At Wake Forest's Summer Institute, a diversity of churches and backgrounds were represented. Our keynote speaker was the Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter, whose research is on the "philosophical and theological ethics, Black and Womanist theological ethics, environmental ethics, and animals and religion." He teaches now in California, but his B.A. is from Cornerstone University right here in Grand Rapids, and he's originally from Battle Creek. I also learned from the Rev. Heber Brown, who leads the Black Church Food Security Network which started in Baltimore from the church where he pastors. My workshop on ecological entrepreneurial ministry (connected to Plainsong Farm) was part of a rich fabric of work shared at this gathering. I was honored to be there!
In Cincinnati I was part of an Episcopal Church gathering to reflect on the meaning and importance of baptismal ministry: the ministry of all the baptized. I spoke there on "how does the community we call church embody relationship with God?" I am very glad it was a casual-dress conference because I didn't know how many bishops were there until it was over!
Both these gatherings are part of larger cultural changes in the life of the church. A couple of generations ago it would have been revolutionary to have black and white church leaders learning with and from each other as we did in North Carolina. The gathering in Cincinnati was created in response to the ongoing "What does it mean to be the church today?" dialogue that is taking place throughout our denomination.
At Holy Spirit we house a food pantry and a reading club and we baptize people, welcoming them into life in Christ. We are part of these bigger conversations about how to shape an ethical future in a diverse world, and what it means to be disciples of Jesus. In 2018 there aren't easy answers to these questions. We are finding our way forward guided by the grace of God in Christ Jesus.
God is working out a new chapter in the life of the church and the world, and we are part of that new chapter. Every day is a new page. And all of us are called to pray and to learn and to grow together, so that God might use us for the new thing he is doing. For me, this summer, this looks like more travel than I honestly enjoy. I ask your prayers for me. Please know that wherever I am, you are in mine.
Thoughts to Ponder
"The church is essentially a community in mission and movement. It
is because of who God is as Trinity and how he is manifesting himself in the world... The church is the community called into existence by the mission of God."
Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace, by Howard Snyder with Joel Scandrett
World Refugee Day
Earlier this week our Presiding Bishop released a video message about World Refugee Day, which is today, June 20. It can be found here:
General Convention - Getting Ready
The Episcopal Church's General Convention will be held from July 3-13 in Austin Texas. Mother Nurya is a deputy (one of eight elected to represent our diocese) and Claire Parish is a member of the General Convention Official Youth Presence (one of two appointed from our province). As they prepare by reading hundreds of proposed resolutions and submitted reports, please keep them in your prayers. If you want to learn more about the General Convention, go to
For 2018, Holy Eucharist will be available on the 1st, 3rd & 4th Sundays of each month. All other Sundays will be Morning Prayer service.
For JULY only, Holy Eucharist will be available on the
st, 3rd & 5th Sundays of each month. All other Sundays will be Morning Prayer service.
Opening your Spiritual Gifts Workshop: after worship this Sunday, June 24, Michael Hirt will be facilitating a discussion about the different Spiritual Gifts that were identified on the individual assessment. Questionnaires are available in the office, or you can complete online by clicking
HERE. The discussion will be about how we can use these gifts, clustering with others that have the same gifts, and how do we see ourselves as a community. If you cannot attend, please complete your own assessment and share the results.
Children's Ministry: Parents, grandparents & potential children's ministry volunteers are invited to gather with Mother Nurya this Sunday, June 24 after worship to begin to ponder how we can begin a children's program this fall. This meeting will focus on preschool through elementary school aged children. We'll hear about options for curriculum and consider the best schedule to try for our fall 2018 program.
We want your stuff! The ECW is accepting donations for its annual Second Best Sale, one of two major annual fundraisers. The sale is in late August, but please drop off items now on the table in the Reading Club classroom (aka upper classroom). Please, no TVs or large furniture (furniture that takes more than one person to move it), and please make sure your donation is clean and in working order. Clothing will be accepted beginning in July. Questions? See the co-chairs of the event, Linda G. or Mary M.
Plainsong Farm, Mother Nurya's other ministry, has a lot going on this summer! Click
HERE to read the latest newsletter.
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