Category Archives: Newsletter
Dear Friends in Christ,
Lent is a season of reflection. It comes from an old English word meaning “a lengthening.” And as the days become longer, we watch for signs of spring when nature sings a song of renewed life, energy and growth.
During lent we are called upon to reflect together as a community of faith on the final weeks of Christ’s ministry. We remember His betrayal, arrest, and suffering upon the cross. And we look to Easter Sunday with hope.
Lent is a time for us to reflect individually on our own discipleship. Perhaps you have taken on a new devotion or discipline for this time. You may have chosen to give up something.
Whatever your Lenten practice is this year I pray that it will deepen your relationship with Christ. With Christ as our compass on this Lenten journey may we pick up our crosses and follow Him and walk these 40 days with the assurance of Christ’s love and with the hope of renewal.
With my deepest gratitude for all that you do and all that you are,
I am… Yours in Christ Rev. Carol+
Arthur Lichtenberger, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church from 1958-1964:
Fast from criticism, and Feast on praise;
Fast from self-pity, and Feast on joy;
Fast from ill temper, and Feast on peace;
Fast from resentment, and Feast on contentment;
Fast from jealousy, and Feast on humility;
Fast from pride, and Feast on love;
Fast from selfishness, and Feast on service;
Fast from fear, and Feast on faith.
The Blessing of the Animals at LoveWay Inc. was a great day. Yes it was hectic. Yes it was different. The people at LoveWay were so appreciative of our coming. St. John of the Cross was paid the highest compliment by the Cadets of Howe as they requested to do this again next year. They appreciated the hospitality of our hosts and of the parish. Thank you! I heard from many of you how impressed you were with the Cadets. Let’s continue to explore ways to be a part of the lives of these cadets.
Our next opportunity to worship together is December 19th at The Chapel of St. James for the annual Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols. The time for this is 11:40 am. Our choir has been asked to sing and we will also have the choir from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sturgis. I hope that you all will come.
Our latest offering for study will begin Wednesday evenings this month. We will be offering Part I in Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus. The meeting dates/times will be Nov 7, 14, 28 and Dec 5 beginning at 6:30 – 7:30 pm. We will resume with Part II of the study during Lent. Steve Streeter and Cyd Sunday will be our leaders. The books are in and the cost is $13.50. We will not have the Wednesday Morning Bible during this time.
The colors of the season have just about run their course. The leaves have been spectacular: Bold splashes of color on the landscape. I never tire of the colors of autumn. The changing of the seasons marks another season for us. May we be that bold splash of color in our communities serving those around us. May we be thankful for work we do together and may we be bold to explore new ways of reaching out.
For all that you do and all that you are,
Yours in Christ,
Dear Friends in Christ,
Is it just me or does the end of the month seem to come earlier and earlier each month? It has been a busy September. Howe School is in full swing and our Wednesday Bible study has resumed. We had a great ladies luncheon at Olive Garden. We received new members, Michael and Cyd Sunday this past month. Thank you for those who helped with the reception for Bishop Little and our new members. It is always a good time to be with our Bishop.
Bishop Little and I were colleagues in California. He was part of my discernment process in the Diocese of San Joaquin. It was by Bishop Little’s invitation that I came to the Diocese to Northern Indiana. So I am always inspired by his message and his witness to Christ in his life and grateful for his friendship.
October looks like an even busier month. I will be traveling to The National Cathedral for the Acolyte Festival October 6th. The Archdeacon George Douglass will be our presider. We will celebrate St. Francis – The blessings of the animals on Sunday October 14th at LoveWay Therapeutic Riding Stables. We will hold a joint service with the Cadets from Howe. Bring your pets for a blessing. And the cadets will lead the service that day… as readers and choir. I have asked the Cadets to split and leave a few seats at each table for ‘parish folks’. We have students from all over the world. Enjoy some lively conversation!
Thank you for all those who traveled to Donaldson, for the Art Show. I hope you enjoyed the colors of fall along the way. I hope you enjoyed the exhibit.
Having an art exhibit has been an interesting learning experience. I arrived at the Gallery Tuesday evening and unpacked the van. After a light supper, Sr. Mary took me to the studio and I began to lay out the carvings. I had envisioned where I thought things might go. She told me, that Wednesday Sr. Nancy would help me with the layout. Once everything was laid out I went over to the residence and went to bed. In the morning, Nancy had already been hard at work arranging. She met me with… “now don’t be upset we moved a few things”. A few things…they moved everything! I told her all was fine… as I have never set up an art show. By mid-afternoon I was beginning to see her vision. I really could see how… the pieces were coming together. And that sometimes …less is more and more …well it is just more. We didn’t use all the pieces and that really did make sense.
At three o’clock we stopped. In fact the community stops for 30 minutes. Sr. Nancy leads centering prayer at the residence. Though we still had a lot left to do and I only had that day to set up, I stopped. I will tell you I was torn between continuing to set up and taking time to be still.
Centering prayer is 30 minutes of silence. We let our minds empty out and be still. It takes practice as the mind tends to bounce from thought to thought but eventually you can get into the silence and feel God’s presence. My first thoughts were mostly anxious about getting everything done (and hopefully before midnight). The 30 minutes felt like eternity. Eventually I relaxed and became enveloped in the prayer of silence.
It was amazing how energized we were when we finished. The rest of the pieces came together; I had my videotaped interview, the labels posted on the wall. Everything came together just as it was supposed to and I was driving home as evening fell.There’s a lesson in all that. Just when we think we don’t have time to stop and pray… stop and pray! We all have experienced those times when we don’t think we have time—not even time to pray. Yet it was just the respite this priest needed in the course of a hectic day. May we find time to be still and know…,
Grateful for all that you are and all that you do,
Yours in Christ,
Dear friends in Christ,
Summer time… the Church calls this Ordinary Time.You know, ordinary doesn’t seem so ordinary when you see God in the ordinary.
How will you spend this summer of ordinary time? For some people, summer is a busy time. For others it’s a time to slow down and recharge the batteries. I suppose I am still on the school schedule especially now that I also serve The Howe School. When I was a teacher I appreciated the time off. I still do. My clock winds down in summer. I will try to recharge my batteries. I will spend the time reading, writing, playing guitar, carving, and turning. I will reflect on our past year together at St. John of the Cross and dream, wonder, and explore ways to renew our life of ministry together.
During this Ordinary Time stop, look, but also listen. Listen to and reflect on what Jesus asks of You. Where does He call you to go? As part of our baptismal covenant we are called to be ministers in His Name. What is your ministry? What are your spiritual gifts? Where do you see yourself in the life of St. John of the Cross? You are an essential part of the church. Where you are, young or not so young, new member or longstanding member – you are essential to life and mission of this parish.
Each of us has been given gifts. How will you use your gifts in this parish this fall? Lead a Bible or a book study, sing in the choir, serve on the Altar Guild, serve as a Eucharistic Minister, an acolyte, usher or Lector. These are just a few of the many opportunities to serve your parish. I look forward to seeing where the Lord will take us.
There is a collect in Morning Prayer that touched my heart for this ordinary of times. It is the collect for the Renewal of Life. It reads: O God, the King eternal, who divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep Your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done Your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give You thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What struck me were the words: having done Your will with cheerfulness. It caused me to take stock. Do I always do His will with cheerfulness? There is such a joy that comes with serving our Lord, Jesus. I pray that His joy is always evident. Now as we enter into the season of Ordinary Time may we too experience the renewal of life in Jesus Christ. May we share His joy with others as we do His will with cheerfulness.
With my deepest gratitude for all that you do and all that you are, I am…
Yours in Christ
Dear friends in Christ,
There’s been a wrapped gift in the sanctuary. I’m sure you have all seen it at some point. I didn’t plan the end of my sermon on Pentecost but trusted the Holy Spirit to finish. Here are excerpts of that sermon:
In the readings for Pentecost we hear of wind and of fire. These two words evoke very powerful images. These two words evoke for the disciples powerful memories. Images and memories from the stories they have heard and told time and time again throughout their lives as told in the scriptures The Torah. They knew the Old Testament like the back of their hands. When Jesus promised that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, they would remember the stories of God’s Spirit in their scriptures –– in their history.
Fire: What stories do we remember that deal with fire…
• The burning bush
• Pillar of fire by night to give light
• Fiery furnace
• I think of the story of the road to Emmaus… when the two men said.. “And were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us.”
• In today’s world we see the image of fire…we see its destructive power…the fires that ravage a forest or building.
I think of the one who tends the fire. Or the one who carried the fire… before the matches… the one who carried the embers as the group traveled from one place to another. An ember that stands alone will soon go out… but when embers are gathered together… they build off one another and flames begin.
How would you use the image of fire to describe your faith? I think there are times I am an ember… burning quiet even struggling to stay lit. At times I am that slow steady burning log… like the duraflame logs. Sometimes I am the fire starter…a match…my purpose is to get things started. And perhaps times when my fire is out of control… but I hope in a good way… where my heart burns as Christ opens the scriptures and sends me on my mission.
As you examine your life… your fire… If your fire is blazing…then spread the good news with others. Share the gift.
However, if you feel that your fire is barely burning – if the ruach-the Spirit has gone out of you… Come to the well and be renewed. Feast on His word. Soak yourself in prayer and praise. Open the gift that is waiting for you.
Come, Holy Spirit, and renew in us the fire of your love.
Fill us with holy expectancy as we gather in the name of Jesus.
Give us a passion for the Gospel, a heart for the lost, a willingness to do whatever it takes, and a commitment to one another.Stir up Your power within us, encourage us, empower us as disciples who make disciples for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Well, I went over and sat down. I asked if someone would please let the Spirit out of the box. And sure enough the Spirit moved in Josh to come up to the altar and open the gift. We watched in suspense as he worked on unwrapping the box. Finally he opened it and pulled out the red paper… and looked quite shocked at its contents. Or should I say lack of contents. I explained the box was empty because the Holy Spirit was given to us through our baptism. All we had to do is open our hearts.
That’s the message of Eastertide. How can we take that message to the streets of our community? What might I say? What needs to be said in order that the Easter message – the Resurrection story might transform someone into an Easter person? As I ponder the Eastertide lessons and grapple with this question, I am struck by the fact that Jesus often just appears. Suddenly he is standing there — in the locked room, on the road, on the shore. In the resurrection accounts Jesus suddenly just shows up, uninvited. We get the impression he materializes out of thin air. He bids them peace and then offers some proof, his hands and feet or eats a piece of fish as proof that He is the one who was crucified.
That’s the typical scene and it seems like an absolute impossibility. It seems unbelievable. It seems unrealistic. The Scripture often describes the emotional state of the disciples in realistic terms. It says, “They did not believe it because of joy and amazement.” It is not a lack of faith… it is an overwhelming sense of joy and bewilderment! In other words it is just too good to be true.
What amazes you about the resurrection of Jesus? What impossible aspects of the resurrection of Jesus Christ fills you with joy? What parts of it are just too good to be true?
There’s a story of a man named Luigi Tarisio who, was found dead one morning with hardly any creature comforts in his home, except the presence of 246 exquisite violins. He had been collecting them all his life. They were all stored in the attic. The best violins were found in the bottom drawer of an old rickety bureau.The greatest of his collection, a Stradivarius, when it was finally played, had had 147 speechless years. In his very devotion to the violin, he had robbed the world of all that superb and beautiful music.
How many of Christ’s people are like old Tarisio? In our very love of the church we fail to give the glad tidings to the world; in our zeal for the truth we forget to publish it. When shall we all learn that the Good News needs not just to be cherished, but needs to be told? Don’t bury God’s Good News of Easter at the bottom of a rickety old bureau. Let the people hear the great sound of the music: Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!
It is so amazing that the story of the resurrection is now left in our hands. It’s ours to use, to reach out with, to pass on to our children, our neighbors and our friends. Jesus told His followers NOT to confine the Good News to the walls of Jerusalem. That charge still rings true today.
Don’t confine the Good News to the walls of your home. Don’t confine the Good News to the walls of your heart. The resurrection of Jesus is a message to the nations, an amazing, joyful, incredible story that we as Christians know as reality. It’s a simple story. It’s a great story. It is a story of forgiveness, renewal and new life and that’s precisely why we need to talk about it. It is a story for all nations; that’s how far we are to take it.
Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Amen.
With my deepest gratitude for all that you do and all that you are, I am…
Yours in Christ,