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“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” BCP p. 265

Posted by on February 16, 2021 in Featured, News | 0 comments

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” BCP p. 265

Lent begins with the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday and with a reminder of our mortality. This year we need no reminder of our mortality. Over 465,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and every night when we click on the news, we learn of more deaths, more hospitalizations, and more variants of the coronavirus. Probably everyone has at least one friend or family member who has died from COVID-19 and its complications. Lent is traditionally a time of serious reflection on the life and death of Christ and on our personal spiritual journeys, The social isolation and fears for our safety and the safety of those we love during this pandemic have greatly increased the solemnity of this time. But in the midst of our somber reflections, we can find hope, for we know that Lent culminates with Easter. The forty-six days from Ash Wednesday to Easter include six Sundays, and all Sundays are feast days – celebrations of Christ’s redemption and resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25) Even in the darkest and loneliest times, we have this assurance, this hope. We know how the story ends. Much of our time this Lent will be spent alone as we safely distance to prevent the spread of coronavirus. May this time apart give us a renewed appreciation and gratitude for the gift of other people and the blessing they are to our lives. Even those who may have seemed like sandpaper in our lives have been a gift to our spiritual growth. A year ago we did not realize what a gift ordinary human interactions are This Lent, through prayer and the Word, may we find God’s peace, strength, and healing in our times alone, and may we savor every moment of our lives and times with others. May we discover how precious every day is. And may we reach out in love to others who are searching for comfort and healing in these challenging times. May God enfold you in His peace, and may you have a blessed Lent. Nancy Nancy Young,National President, The Episcopal...

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Lenten Message from Bishop Duncan

Posted by on February 16, 2021 in Chaplain, Featured, News | 0 comments

Lenten Message from Bishop Duncan

The 40 Days of Lent     Dear Sisters in Christ,       We are about to enter the Season of Lent. We prepare not only for Holy Week and the Easter celebration, but also for deepening our personal spirituality. I have over many years observed this time with prayer, fasting and good works in their many forms and outcomes. In my journey I have found this helpful in the physicality of focusing on not just “good works” but also deepening the areas of where I need to grow. It is not always easy. I am an extrovert. The Pandemic forces all of us to isolate for appropriate reasons.      Yet, how I safely reach out to and with others is important. I have watched committed people spend hours trying to get Covid vaccine appointments for others and themselves without success.       That time is not wasted or uselessly spent; it is worth the time and effort when the appointment is made and the “jab” is given! They are acts of love.       As we come to Ash Wednesday we might ask ourselves “How can I observe a Holy Lent and spread the Gospel with acts of kindness?”     May God bless all in the work we do and the lives we live.      In His Holy Name,  Bishop Duncan...

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Epiphany

Posted by on January 5, 2021 in Archives | Comments Off on Epiphany

Epiphany

Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him. Matthew 2:2 The Feast of Epiphany commemorates the journey of a group of wise men from the East who realized that something unusual was happening in the night sky and began a pilgrimage to find where and to whom the star would lead them. What they found was the Christ, and when they did, they worshipped him. The word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word “epiphaneia” which means “manifestation.” The Feast of Epiphany commemorates the manifestation to the wise men of the divinity of the baby Jesus. Because the Magi came from afar, were led by God, and were not Jewish this event also manifests that Christ came for all, not just for the Jews.Epiphany observances originally also included commemoration of the manifestation of Jesus’ divinity when he was baptized in the River Jordan (“This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”) and manifestation of Jesus’ divinity when he performed the miracle of turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana. The Eastern Orthodox churches still include all three. The western church now celebrates the baptism of Jesus separately on the Sunday after Epiphany.Whether the commemoration service centers primarily on one event, or on all three, the primary message is the same. God has manifested himself in our lives through Jesus Christ. The Epiphany message is a message of faith, hope, and love— a message that God loves us and that God comes to all. “. . .we have seen his star. . . and have come to worship him.”How has God manifested himself in your life? How will you manifest him to others?In Christ,NancyNancy YoungNational PresidentThe Episcopal...

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Epiphany 2021

Posted by on January 5, 2021 in Archives, Chaplain | Comments Off on Epiphany 2021

Epiphany 2021

Dear Sisters in Christ, During this Pandemic I “feel” that time is moving very quickly which is odd; I would have thought I would be experiencing time dragging out and painfully slow. It seem to me that even with time on my hands it is moving rapidly. In an interesting way time to just sit and be and think is appealing to me. In short doses of course! (I am an extrovert!)We are all on a journey and like the “Wise Men” we move forward in different ways; sometime by returning from where we began. Just as we are told they returned home, but by another way. How do we see our lives changed by this Pandemic? Can we offer to God our time and talents reimagined and renewed? The Wisemen returned home but by a different way.I believe that it is in life’s journeys of our moving forward and being closer to others that we are also moving closer to God in Jesus. May this Season be for each of us a blessing; Epiphanies through those encounters with others. In His Holy Name,Bishop DuncanNational...

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Darkness Shall Not Prevail

Posted by on December 29, 2020 in Featured, News, TEC_News | Comments Off on Darkness Shall Not Prevail

Darkness Shall Not Prevail

From Nancy Young, National President Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, a time when we look forward to Christmas Day and the celebration of Christ’s birth—a time when we anticipate being with family and celebrating with friends, of gathering in a beautifully decorated church, of enjoying glorious music, and of sharing Eucharist. This year, however, for many of us, the Christmas season has been a dark time, a time of struggle, of loss, of loneliness, and of grief. Daily we hear the names of nurses, doctors, teachers, celebrities, friends who have died from COVID-19 or its complications. Some of us have lost family members. Television news shows us adult children pressed against assisted living windows straining for connection with their aged parents, and nurses in ICU units holding iPads so patients do not die without hearing a final goodbye from their families. Christmas Day this year will be very different. Many churches are closed or open for only very limited worshipers. Most people will participate in church services through ZOOM or You Tube. The CDC has recommended that the holiday be celebrated only with those family members that live together every day. The first Christmas was also a dark and turbulent time, but through the darkness Mary and Joseph were led to a safe place for Jesus to be born, the frightened shepherds were encouraged by singing angels, “ Do not be afraid for behold I bring you tidings of great joy,” and the Magi were led through the dark along an unknown path to find the Messiah. Fear not. Trust in the Lord. Draw near and. . . How do we do that? It is in times like these that we most need to hold on to God’s promises, to remember that we are not going through this alone. Spending more time with scripture helps to quiet the fears. I find Isaiah’s descriptions of God’s loving care for us and of the savior to come particularly comforting. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shown. . .For to us a child is born, to us a son is given . . .His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6) “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) God also speaks to us through nature. The psalmist assures us, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands, day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19) Observing the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (forming the “Christmas Star”) in the December sky this year fills me with wonder and awe. Outdoor walks with my little dog Harley fill me with gratitude for the beauty of God’s creation and remind me of His care, for he cares even for “ the birds of the sky” who “ neither sow nor reap.” Time in prayer, time listening to Christmas carols, and time reaching out to others through notes, emails, and phone calls also give...

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Bishop Duncan’s Christmas Letter

Posted by on December 29, 2020 in Archives, Chaplain | Comments Off on Bishop Duncan’s Christmas Letter

Bishop Duncan’s Christmas Letter

From The Rt. Rev. Philip Duncan, National Chaplain December 25, 2020 Each year I prepare for Christmas, and each year I try to think back to the Advents before in hoping to make my process more complete and fruitful in the getting ready. Soon that preparation will be in the past, and Christmas will be here, and I know I will have done my best and that is what is important. None of us is perfect, and Christmas is about God sending all of us His own perfection through The Word Made Flesh: His Son Jesus! I believe we each need to “relax” into the real sense of the Christmas message that God loves us and we are called to love all of God’s creation. Rushing about and trying to get all our expectations fulfilled perfectly is a form of idolatry. It doesn’t work. God is perfect, and I am (we are) not! This is what the Pandemic continues to show us! It shows the good when many people go out of their way to help others in life giving and life changing ways—people opening their homes and hearts to others and caring for each other, the sacrifices made by hospital staff from cooks and cleaners to the nurses and doctors—ministry that we in the church can learn from and hold up as icons for ourselves and the world. It is that service and self giving for others that is living into “the way, the truth and the life!”  Many of us carry heavy burdens. This Christmas season we need to acknowledge what that means for ourselves and others. My prayer is to see in this Christmas the way we each go deeper into our faith that others may see the fruits of our labors. May God bless each of us along that Path.  Faithfully in His Name,Bishop Philip M....

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Bishop Duncan’s Message Advent 2020

Posted by on November 23, 2020 in Archives | Comments Off on Bishop Duncan’s Message Advent 2020

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 Archives | Comments Off on A Message from Chris Butterworth

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 Archives | Comments Off on Advent and the Great Pumpkin

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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Community in the time of Covid-19

Posted by on August 4, 2020 in Archives, 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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