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Community in the time of Covid-19

Posted by on August 4, 2020 in Featured, News, TEC_News | Comments Off on Community in the time of Covid-19

Community in the time of Covid-19

Community in the Time of COVID-19 by Nancy Young, National President, The Episcopal Community How can we be there when we can’t be there? This is a question that religious groups throughout the church are having to answer during this COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when we must practice social distancing, a time we cannot travel, a time of isolation, we face two primary challenges: How do we support each other in this time of separation, turmoil, and grief?How do we carry on the mission and business of our group? This is not a new question for The Episcopal Community. The group was formed in 2010 during a time of change and turmoil within the national church—the ordination of women, the consecration of a gay bishop, disputes over church property and the formation of breakaway congregations. In 2010, as snow fell softly outside the large glass windows of St. Mary’s Chapel of St. Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta, Ga., a group of women pledged to form a new women’s organization within the Episcopal Church—a vowed community anchored in the Baptismal Covenant and Rule of St. Benedict, a community that would support its members in deepening their spiritual lives as they gave prayerful support to their Episcopal clergy, parishes, dioceses, and the national church. The 40-plus women gathered that day were from all over the country. Although united by a common desire to live a life “Marked as Christ’s Own for Ever,” how could a group so geographically separated live as a community? The first step was to select a common foundational study and to create connections by assigning each prospective member a one-on-one mentor for the study. Mentors were selected from women who were recognized as having gifts in education and/or spiritual formation. The book “St. Benedict’s Toolbox” by Jane Tomaine was selected for the study. Mentors interacted individually and in small groups with prospective members through phone calls, email, snail mail, shared journals and Skype. The use of common study and devotional materials, the provision of mentors and discussion leaders, and the use of electronic communications have been building blocks for The Episcopal Community in being there when you can’t be there. The lessons learned early in the life of The Community have served us well through the years but have become especially important during this time of social distancing and travel restrictions. How do we ensure the health and safety of our members while simultaneously meeting their needs for community and communal worship? As members deal with loneliness, anger, fear, grief, economic insecurity and a loss of normalcy, how do we maintain connections, continue our ministry and meet the needs of our members? Newsletter emails, phone calls and Zoom meetings have been an important way for members to stay connected. A member shared, “the fact you all are there is a comfort.” We have offered Zoom online book discussions so that members can see and hear each other as they share ideas and insights. Our most recent study was “The Gift of Wonder: Creative Practices for Delighting in God” by Christine Aroney-Sine. Aroney-Sine’s book teaches how through childlike creative play with nature we can delight in God as He delights in us. Although not written with this pandemic time in mind, she suggests activities that can be done...

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Bishop Duncan’s Message Advent 2020

Posted by on November 23, 2020 in News | 0 comments

Bishop Duncan’s Message Advent 2020

Each year I come to the season of Advent with mixed emotions.  I like Advent, and I like Christmas better.  Advent is the getting ready for Christmas and how we accomplish that matters.  If all of our focus is on Christmas, we miss the opportunity to be ready and refreshed for Christmas. If we rush through the preparations, we might miss the real joy that is promised.  “Come thou long expected Jesus” is our expectation that God has already fulfilled!  It is ours to claim!  Yes, there may be things we want to do before our family celebrations or hopes that cannot or will not happen in this time of Pandemic.  But our hopes and fears join with those who have come before us, and they and we are all embraced in His grace!  May all of us share in the newness of life in the grace of God’s call to us this Advent.In His Holy Name,Bishop...

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A Message from Chris Butterworth

Posted by on November 23, 2020 in Book Study, Meditations, News | 0 comments

A Message from Chris Butterworth

Dear Sisters in Christ,Well here we are again. Advent 2020.  We have spent most of the year waiting – waiting for Covid to end, waiting for a vaccine; waiting for the election (no matter where you stand.) Now, we are approaching Advent – a season of waiting.  Oh boy – more waiting.I was asked to lead a book study at our friend’s church over at the next town.  I picked a book called “Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting” by Holly Whitcomb; it is an Advent study.  The seven spiritual gifts of waiting are: Patience, Living in the Present, Compassion, Gratitude, Humility and Trust in God.I have read a couple of chapters and it is MADE for a time like this.  Normally I would offer to lead a study of this book, but our past response for book studies has been low.  If we can get 6 people who are interested in participating on a Zoom call, I and Patti Joy will be there as leaders.. if you are interested please let me know.  You may order the book on Amazon.Other resources for Advent are available on the National church’s website where you can and download the Way of Love for Advent and the accompanying calendar.  It is of course free and looks fabulous also!My best to you in this much different time that we are in.  I pray that this season of waiting will help all of us moving forward trusting in God.Blessings, Chris ButterworthFormation...

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Advent and the Great Pumpkin

Posted by on November 23, 2020 in News | 0 comments

Advent and the Great Pumpkin

Watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin”, Charlie Brown with my grandchildren on Halloween, the movie seemed a strange story for children on what is for most a candy filled, fun holiday. Linus waits and waits and waits, accompanied only by the somewhat reluctant Sally, for the coming of the Great Pumpkin whom he assures his friends will come bringing gifts to all sincere believers.  In spite of the ridicule of his friends, he waits. He is certain the Great Pumpkin is coming.  But the Great Pumpkin doesn’t come, and Linus’ friends, finally even Sally, leave him alone and shivering in the pumpkin patch while they trick-or-treat and party. Linus’ faithful, expectant waiting seems to be a story of disappointment and unfulfilled hopes.  The Great Pumpkin doesn’t come. There are no gifts. What does the Great Pumpkin represent?  Does it represent God?  Is there another layer to this story that is easily overlooked?  I believe so.  Just as Charlie Brown gets a rock while the other children get candy and other sweets, there is a rock of truth in this story for us.  God promises that He is our rock.  He is ever with us.  So where is God in this story? To me, this is a story of advent—of waiting for the coming and of incarnation.  It is not that God (the Great Pumpkin) does not come into the world, but that Linus does not recognize His coming.  Lucy is the Christ figure in this story.  At each house, she asks for extra candy to share with Linus.  When she realizes he is not home at 4 a.m., she goes in search of him.  When she finds him, alone, shivering from cold in the pumpkin patch, she embraces him and carries him home.  She removes his shoes (Christ removing the sandals and washing the feet of his disciples) and tucks him gently in bed, Christ is here.  Christ is incarnate in Lucy.  He is incarnate within each of us as we are Christ to each other, bringing the gift of love.  The Great Pumpkin is here. Nancy YoungNational President, The Episcopal...

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Miller’s Moths

Posted by on June 1, 2020 in Archives | Comments Off on Miller’s Moths

Miller’s Moths

All these [the Disciples] were constantly devoting themselves to prayer,Together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus,As well as his brothers.When the day of Pentecost had come,they were all together in one place.And suddenly from heaven there came a soundLike the rush of a violent wind and it filledthe entire house where they were sitting.Divided tongues appeared among them,And a tongue rested on each of them.All of them were filled with the Holy SpiritAnd begin to speak in other languages,As the Spirit gave them ability.I opened the door early this morning, and Miller Moths were everywhere. Not exactly tongues of fire, but they reminded me that because of Pentecost, the Spirit is with us everywhere–in life, in death, in this time of COVID-19, in this time of racial turmoil.Miller Moths are named for the tiny dusty white flakes they shed from their wings-like the flour permeating the air from a baker’s apron as he goes about his sacred body sustaining service of making bread.Miller Moths and tongues of fire, the bread of life-God’s assurance that he never leaves us.In...

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Pentecost 2020 Bishop Duncan

Posted by on June 1, 2020 in Archives | Comments Off on Pentecost 2020 Bishop Duncan

Pentecost 2020 Bishop Duncan

Dear Sisters of The Episcopal Community, As Christians we are always on a holy journey. That journey is sometimes glorious and sometimes not! In that journey we are always traveling on the road of faith and trust in God. For the past 50 days we have followed with the apostles and saints throughout history. We have traveled with them in their desert times and their waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus. Those in that community were first left speechless and then they all spoke so they understood each other.For us, we believe that we are called by God to share that message (Gospel) with each other and the world. That message is for us to be a witness of the Good News that we are loved by God and that we are not alone. Jesus died for each of us so we might have the fullness of life now and finally into the Kingdom of God.May God in Christ bless us in the work we do in sharing God’s love and grace. Smile: God loves us all!PaxBishop Philip...

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Easter Message, Nancy Young

Posted by on April 15, 2020 in Archives | Comments Off on Easter Message, Nancy Young

Easter Message, Nancy Young

A lot can happen in three days . . .Low in the grave He lay low in the graveJesus my saviorWaiting the coming dayJesus my LordThe days after Jesus’s death were a dark time for the disciples. They most likely hid in fear for their lives, not knowing if they might be arrested next. It was a time of uncertainty about the future, a time when they were afraid to leave their lodgings not knowing who or what might pose a danger to them, a time of anxiety. In short, it was a time much like the one we are living in now.Every day we hear new numbers of how many positive test results, how many in hospital, how many dead. We adjust to new restrictions on where we can go, who we can see. We inventory our pantry, stand in line to purchase our two packs of toilet paper, and sanitize our hands as we leave the store and again as we return home. We stay six feet away from any person we encounter, learn to use ZOOM to “attend” church, and postpone weddings and birthday celebrations. We live in fear that things will get worse.A lot can happen in three days . . .Suddenly and unexpectedly, for the disciples, Resurrection happened.Up from the grave He aroseHe arose the victorWe know the promise of Easter. We know resurrection happens. We know God is with us.The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Isaiah 9:2He was raised on the third day. I Cor. 15:4“Be not afraid,” Jesus says. The three days end. Resurrection happens. Our lives will be changed for ever, but these “three days” can unify us, can bring out goodness, kindness, compassion, can bring us closer to God and to each other. Perfect love casts out fear.All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well . . . for there is a force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and never lets us go.     -Julian of NorwichIn Christ,Nancy Young, National President  Easter...

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Bishop Duncan’s Easter Message

Posted by on April 15, 2020 in Archives | Comments Off on Bishop Duncan’s Easter Message

Bishop Duncan’s Easter Message

Easter Sunday this year is the 12th of April.  Lent will be behind us and for most of the world the Coronavirus, COVID-19 has taken center stage.  We are all likely to feel afraid and vulnerable.  Kathy and I have moved into the mode of staying home and going out as little as possible.  A form of “self-isolation.”  We have tried to keep a “Good Lent” and by our usual standards we could not do it.  Churches closed for worship, no special Lenten events and hospitals not open for visitations to the sick.  In most Dioceses churches went online and that was an “anchor” and blessing for many of us.   Most of us will be unable to attend church worship in our traditional way.  It is a blessing that there will be some broadcast services and that is how Kathy and I will offer our worship.  Each of us can also use the Book of Common Prayer using the service of Morning Prayer with the readings for Easter Day.This is a “scary” time for many of us. We can feel out of control.  The Easter Message is that in the end our God loves us and that Jesus is the Christ who rose from the tomb and nothing can separate us from that love and life!May God bless us and keep us in the love of Jesus Christ our Lord!Alleluia: Christ is Risen!The Lord is Risen indeed!  Alleluia!In His grace and love,+ Bishop...

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Lent 2020

Posted by on February 26, 2020 in Archives | Comments Off on Lent 2020

Lent 2020

Greetings Sisters in Christ, We are approaching another Lent which begins on February 26. Lent is such a conflicted time for me. Growing up Catholic, we always “Gave Up” something for that period of time. It wasn’t really a learning experience as much as a “have to” experience. These days you can still give something up – chocolate, or whatever your favorite thing is; also people are giving up behaviors that no longer suit them. There is giving away 40 items for the 40 days of Lent – decluttering if you will. Some people take on things….practicing more kindness, compassion, volunteering, etc. Whatever it is that speaks to you this Lent, do it with love, conviction and happiness. Yes happiness. Although Lent is a time of solemn reflection, I don’t believe God wants us to go around literally in ‘sack cloth and ashes’. I believe anything we choose to do during Lent as a practice should be done because of our love and thankfulness for the fact that Jesus died for us and our belief in the Trinity. As a Community we are using the Lenten Meditations for 2020 from Episcopal Relief & Development. You may want to use this to help you in your Lenten journey. Whatever you decide to do for your Lenten practice, I wish you a rich experience that you will benefit from long after Lent ends. Blessings,Chris ButterworthNational TreasurerSpiritual Formation...

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Lent 2020 – Following the Way

Posted by on February 25, 2020 in Archives | Comments Off on Lent 2020 – Following the Way

Lent 2020 – Following the Way

Lent, like Advent, is a time of reflection and preparation. It mirrors the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for His ministry. For Jesus, the question was, “What does it mean to be the Christ?” For us, the question is, “What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?” In the early days of the church, Lent was a time of preparation for Baptism, a time to learn how to be a follower of The Way of Jesus—The Way of Love. Presiding Bishop Curry has said, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” He has given us a seven step process to live more deeply into The Way of Love. This Lent, may we all strive to follow this path. TURN (toward Jesus) and choose His Way LEARN from Scripture, from the life and words of Jesus PRAY intentionally dwelling in God’s presence WORSHIP in community with others BLESS by sharing faith and serving others GO across boundaries, living like Jesus REST in God’s grace and peace and be restored This Lent, let this become your Rule of Life—the foundation and support of living into your Baptismal Covenant, for we are “Marked as Christ’s own for ever.” In Christ’s love,Nancy YoungNational...

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