This week has been devastating, not only for those who have had their businesses destroyed, been injured, or even killed, but for all of us who love our country. We support the call for justice, we want a world where all are free and equal, we support and end to racism and prejudice, so why do we feel sick? Why, if we are honest, does terror lurk in our heart?
I have spent all morning writing about this and I’m still not done. I realize now that what I think needs to be said cannot fit on a newsletter page. So I will be addressing this crisis in tomorrows’ sermon. I will strive, as I always do, to be faithful to the Gospel and to open my mind and heart to the wisdom of the Spirit, but I am not the Christ, merely a priest who stands as a placeholder. I will do my best to “open the scriptures,” but like all those on the road, it will be left to each of you to continue the conversation. Satan is indeed the great deceiver and it is in times like these that we must be vigilant in our pursuit of truth. Lies are like dirt in the mortar. They weaken the most brilliantly designed structures and bring them down. It is not our good intensions that will heal our divisions. It is only truth and the courage to face it that will make reconciliation possible. So we must, if we are to find God’s path forward, call upon the Spirit to empower us as we search for the truth together so that we can meet the formidable challenge that lies before us.
We will be worshipping in the parish hall as we found last Sunday that it is a good, workable space for worship and it will accommodate all who want to attend with healthy distancing. The bishop has asked that we wear masks and we have some available for those who need them. We will also be live streaming the service at 10:30. We had a delay last Sunday, but that problem has been addressed. I will also make a copy of the sermon available on our website.
So, until Sunday, when, as we always do, we will gather to pray for a just and peaceful world, where all are equal and valued and live freely as the beloved of God!
Book Study Group: Rev. Mia reports that a good number of people have signed up to read and discuss the book “Inspire”. She hopes to have this books to distribute this Sunday. The group will begin soon, meeting on Wednesday evenings. There is still time to sign up!
Adventure Club: We had a great hike last Wednesday (pictures on our Facebook page!) Twenty kids and five adults hiked up on a Wilson Creek trail ( that crosses the creek twenty or thirty times!) It was a great day for a hike with a cool breeze that seemed to spring up every time you were too hot and sweaty! We will be going out again, Wednesday, June 17. We will be announcing our destination next week. Just a reminder that everyone is welcome. We are taking the precaution of wearing masks while we are in the car together and we have plenty of hand sanitizer in use as well.
Worship in the Parish Hall: In order to safely worship together at the same time, we will be worshipping in the parish hall for the next few weeks. I had hoped that we were free of rentals during that time, but it turns out we are not. This is good and bad news. The good news is that it supplements our income which is important. The bad news is that it might make it a little more challenging for will all be patient and supportive in this effort just as you have been with our live streaming. I cannot tell you what a gift it has been that you have quietly told us what needed to be corrected as we worked to share worship online, while expressing your support and gratitude for everyone’s effort. I know we will continue in this same spirit.
The Rev. Mia Crosthwaite: As you know we have now officially welcomed Rev. Mia as a minister among us. She received permission from her Lutheran bishop to take on the responsibilities and privileges of a Lutheran pastor, which means, because we have an agreement with the Lutherans to honor one another’s sacraments; that she can now function as a priest in the Episcopal Church. This, however, it has transpired, does not include the wearing of a stole. Here we have a conflict of traditions and expectations (exacerbated by the coronavirus). It is just what happens when you seek to do ministry with “people not like you”. You uncover differences and unspoken assumptions. It is at these times that discernment is necessary. We must pause and consider. “How important is this difference? Can we just let it go? Can we find a way around it or through it? Is it such an important difference that we can no longer be in relationship?”
These are the questions we find ourselves continually asking when we venture to minister with “people not like us”, in this case, Lutherans! So, after discussion and reflection, it has been decided that Rev. Mia will not wear her stole, but will carry it and place it on the altar when she celebrates communion (as she will do this Sunday). We hope this is a compromise which honors both our tradition and hers. At the very least it will remind us of the need for constant repentance (doing it differently or at least thinking about doing it differently) as we endeavor to continually follow Jesus and live into his challenge of serving the world with “people not like us”.