E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mutual Renewal Workshop, Digital Team, Garden Bricks and more in the E-Newsletter for June 17, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/807ce86d95bf/ey7eu7o5mr-1374029

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

This is Father’s Day weekend. Always a little tough for me, since my father
 

died when I was just 12. For many years, I had time-travel fantasies where I somehow found my dad when he was just a kid and convinced him to not start smoking. The tricky part was always wondering how different my life would be if he hadn’t died…would I still have my children? Probably not.  Would my life be better? Maybe. I’m guessing at the very least, I would have finished college. Actually, if my little time-travel fantasy had come true, I probably wouldn’t recognize my life when I came back to the present.  During some stages of my life, perhaps I wouldn’t have minded that so much. Today, however, I am so very grateful for everything (and everyone!) I have in my life, that I wouldn’t trade anything, even though I will always regret not knowing my dad as an adult.  

So I salute all the fathers out there. I hope you know how lucky you are. I hope you cherish every moment with your babies, your toddlers, your little ones, your teenagers, and your young adults. I hope you find a way to make time for your grown children, and to let them know how much you love them, and how proud you are to be their dad. And to everyone, I hope you know how lucky you are to have your dad. Cherish the time you have with him, seek his wisdom and guidance while you can, enjoy his funny stories and bad jokes. Tell him how much you appreciate the sacrifices he made for you. Tell him how much you love him.

And if some of you didn’t have such a good relationship with your dad, or maybe didn’t even know him, I hope you had a teacher, a friend’s dad, or a clergy person in your life that you can remember or thank this Sunday. I had Jack, my friend’s dad. Hats off to you, Jack. Thanks for being my substitute dad.


 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 17  https://mailchi.mp/807ce86d95bf/ey7eu7o5mr-1374029

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

A couple months ago, a handful of parishioners went to Kalamazoo to take part in training sessions for Safeguarding God’s Children and Safeguarding God’s People. The information shared was interspersed with videos and personal anecdotes from Fr. Randall’s experiences in a previous position in the Diocese of Chicago where he investigated clergy misconduct cases.  

A major take away for me as your Senior Warden was to look at policies and procedures at St. John’s to be sure we are fully protecting our precious young people. I would like to remind all of you about these policies and procedures, some of which are new.
 

  •  All clergy, Vestry members, Godly Play volunteers, J2A volunteers, and nursery volunteers are required to be certified in Safeguarding God’s Children at least once every three years. Training sessions are held in the area at various times, but an online session is also available here. If you take the online session, be sure to print out the certificate and turn it in to the parish office.
  • Young Children should not be left alone anywhere in our building. Our parish ethos is to be welcoming of children! If your child is having trouble occasionally sitting through the church service (no matter their age), they may move to the designated Soft-Space where they will find coloring books and quiet activities. We value their presence with us during worship and would like them to stay in the Nave if at all possible. The nursery downstairs is also available and staffed with our volunteers. However, our volunteers return to the Nave at 10:15am, If no children have arrived. If you find yourself in need of the nursery after 10:15am, you are welcome to stay in the nursery with your child and see the service on the TV live-stream. 
  • All activities for children shall be conducted with at least two unrelated adults, and will have an “open-door” policy, allowing parents to drop in at any time.
We are committed to protecting our children and want to provide safe spaces so they may be part of the church at all times. Over the next few weeks, we will be creating safe spaces throughout the building. That way whenever adults are gathered for meetings or fellowship, children can be nearby. If you have gently used child size tables and chairs, or if you would like to make a monetary donation for this project, please contact the parish office.

These policies not only protect our children, they also protect St. John’s from any liability or allegation. 
 

Thank you all for doing your part in creating a loving safe environment for all people at St. John’s.

 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 10  https://mailchi.mp/2222b32edc6f/ey7eu7o5mr-1371821

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 3, 2018

Chancel Service Tonight, Meet St. John, Columbarium News and more in the E-Newsletter for June 3, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/bfb4bdcdae72/ey7eu7o5mr-1369593

A Message from Chuck & Betty Wibert

Dear *|FNAME|*,

We have no way of knowing precisely why the founders of our church chose St. John as our patron saint. Whatever the reasons, they were good ones. 

Tradition tells us that St. John, the youngest disciple, was also the disciple Christ loved. He was with Jesus at the raising of Jairus’ daughter and was present at the Transfiguration. We can only think he was in the boat when the sea was calmed and when Jesus walked on it. 

But he also stood in the shadow of the cross when Jesus said to Mary, “behold your son”. 

St. John was persecuted and exiled yet still proclaimed clearly the message of Jesus and His love for all people. He wrote five books of the New Testament and clearly declared, “In the beginning was the Word (Christ) and the Word was with God”. 

That’s a powerful mantra for our parish. In spite of challenges we proclaim Christ and His love for all people. After several years of searching, we finally found a statue to gift to the parish which we felt would offer a visual reminder of St. John’s message and the unfailing love of Christ every time we come to worship. 

Our statue is historic. It was made in Paris in 1875, spent time both there and Belgium and was finally purchased by a company in the Netherlands. Welcome to St. John’s St. John!

A committee is being formed to arrange a permanent and safe display. Suggestions are welcome—after all, he’s one of us!
 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 3  https://mailchi.mp/bfb4bdcdae72/ey7eu7o5mr-1369593

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trinity Sunday, Youth Group Workshop, The Visitation and more in the E-Newsletter for May 27, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/f111dbba336f/ey7eu7o5mr-1366977

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

After an extra-long and lingering winter, we are finally coming up to Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer.  According to the calendar, summer doesn’t actually begin until mid-June, but many look at Memorial Day as the real marker.
 
It’s too easy to think of this as just a nice 3-day weekend. A chance to get out the camping gear for the first time this year.  An extra day to sleep in. The day we christen our grills for the season, inviting friends over to enjoy some barbeque, and to relive our childhoods with a messy, delicious S’More.
 
But let’s not ignore the true purpose of this day. 
 
The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, and in early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America’s need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers’ graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.
 
After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars, and states observed the holiday on different dates. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of Congress; it is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.
 
So enjoy your day off, your family gatherings, your picnics, and your camping. But let us never forget the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.

In God’s Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 27  https://mailchi.mp/f111dbba336f/ey7eu7o5mr-1366977

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 20, 2018

Movie Group, Pentecost, Newcomer’s Brunch and more in the E-Newsletter for May 20, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/8ff1f67f961d/ey7eu7o5mr-1361285

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Over the past year and a half, I have been immersed in the Diocesan Church Development Institute, or DCDI. This is a fancy name for a series of workshops conducted at a beautiful retreat center about three hours north of Grand Haven. During the workshops, Debbie Wakerley, Joanne Lemieux, Brent Zimmerman, and I have learned about trust development, adaptive leadership, conflict resolution, and much more. Beginning in 2019, the program will be restructured so that the workshops will take place on Saturdays, instead of eight two-day sessions over two years. The new structure will be twelve one-day sessions.  The 2019-2020 course will take place at a church in Midland. Please prayerfully consider taking part in this valuable series.  If you are curious, ask one of us to share our experience with you.
 
This Saturday is our first Mutual Renewal Workshop. We still have plenty of room to welcome you, so please do come even if you didn’t sign up!  We will gather in the Guild Room beginning at 9:30am for refreshments and fellowship, then Dr. Daniel Snyder will lead us in a discussion about Spirituality and Prayer, and how they enrich and refresh us. We will end this workshop with a powerful interactive Stations of the Cross. Don’t miss it!
 
Now that Spring has at last graced us with her presence, I am off to get some gardening done!  May God bless each of you with a beautiful restorative Spring!

In God’s Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 20  https://mailchi.mp/8ff1f67f961d/ey7eu7o5mr-1361285

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 13, 2018

Ascension Day, Mutual Renewal, May Baskets and more in the E-Newsletter for May 13, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/07bbfec43094/ey7eu7o5mr-1361281

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Our time of Mutual Renewal is finally here. Last Sunday, Mtr. Valerie Ambrose preached a wonderful message about love. This coming Sunday, Mtr. Katie Johnson will preach at 8:30am and at 10am. Please join me in welcoming all of our supply priests.
 
Over the next four months, I hope that each of us will take the time to discover our own source of renewal. As Jared enjoys family time and writing, let’s work together to find our individual sources, as well as our parish community renewal.
 
The Mutual Renewal Team has worked together to create workshops to guide us. Please sign up to participate in the May workshop, led by Dr. Daniel Snyder. On Saturday, May 19th, Daniel will share with us how Spirituality and Prayer have enriched his own life, and we will be invited to explore how they can enrich and strengthen our lives. This workshop includes a powerful interactive Stations of the Cross. Mark your calendars now for workshops to be held on the third Saturday of June, July, and August.
 
Keep checking the bulletin boards in the Rotunda for updates and information about our Mutual Renewal.  My prayer during this time is that we will learn and grow as a parish family, Jared will rest and be refreshed, and when we come together again at the end of August, we will be ready to look ahead to a new and revitalized future!

In God’s Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, May 13  https://mailchi.mp/07bbfec43094/ey7eu7o5mr-1361281

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 29, 2018

Chamber Ensemble Choir Concert, Our Mutual Renewal, Choral Evensong and more in the E-Newsletter for April 29, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/449bac460d4a/ey7eu7o5mr-1353897

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

There are two different stories behind the command for Sabbath rest in the Ten Commandments. 

In the book of Exodus, we are called to observe the Sabbath by being reminded of the story of creation. Even the Almighty God, after creating the entire world, took a day to rest. In this part of the Bible (often called the "priestly source"), the focus is on the mystical and sacred. Thus, our rest is a sacred re-enactment of the rest God practiced. Surely, we do not believe we are more powerful than God? God rested and so we also should allow ourselves to rest.

In the book of Deuteronomy, the call to Sabbath is different. In this part of Scripture (often called the "Deuteronomist"), the author is keenly focused on justice. So, in Deuteronomy, the text reminds the people of their time as slaves in the land of Egypt. The commandment in Deuteronomy also includes an injunction that the people should ensure even their slaves have this day of rest. The Sabbath, in Deuteronomy, is an act of justice, something all people should be able to experience. 

Though our modern culture tends to invite people to choose what they like best, or agree with the most, the Judeo-Christian tradition would invite us to hold both of these understandings of the Sabbath together.

We are all called to rest—both as a sacred participation in the life of God and as an act of justice that is aware of the need all people have to stop… breathe… and recover.

The vestries of this parish, from the one who called me to the one currently serving, have affirmed the importance of a sabbatical time for me as your priest. The first vestry I worked with included it in my first Letter of Agreement. Starting a few years ago, I began working with the vestry to come up with a time-line and plan for taking a Sabbatical that would not just be restorative to me but that also would offer times of restoration and renewal to the members of the parish.

And now, after all the work and preparation, here we are. On Sunday evening, right after the 5:00pm Choral Evensong (and wine & cheese reception after) will be my final moment with you before I leave, something else will happen. 

My e-mail address will turn off. Any e-mails that go to it will be returned with a message letting them know that their e-mail has been deleted and they should instead write to either the Sr. Warden or the Parish Administrator, depending on their need.

The Pastoral Emergency line will change-over. Messages left on that line will now page Cindi's phone instead of mine.

And as I walk out of the building, I will leave an empty desk, one ready to be taken over by Cindi the next morning—even as our volunteer receptionists then take over her desk. The Sr. Warden, Cathryn Marshall, will assume added responsibilities—as will our Associate Rector, Father John, our Director of Music, Nick Palmer, and many of you. 

Bethany and I have a babysitter for Sunday night because we decided we'd begin this time of Renewal Leave by going out for dinner after the Evensong & reception. Just the two of us. 

And then we'll go home, we'll look on the monitor at that beautiful baby sleeping. Together, as a family, we will enter into the gift of four months of Renewal.

Thank you. Thank you for this time. Thank you to the many of you who contributed to the fundraiser that sought to restore the Renewal Leave money I gave back to the church several years ago. You wound up raising a tremendous amount, close to how much I gave back. Those resources will enable Bethany, Lucy, and I to take advantage of experiences that otherwise would have been beyond us.

But, in addition to my gratitude, there is one more thing I want to say to you—take these next four months of Renewal as your own sacred commandment as well. Let these times without me here, as you work and worship and grow, be times when you consider what renews you in your own daily life. Attend the Mutual Renewal Workshops once a month on Saturdays. Spend time slowing down. Ask what it is that lies at the source of who we are as a parish community.

Together, as priest and parishioner, we will enter into this Mutual Renewal as a sacred participation in the life of God alongside of an act of mercy and justice.

When I come back on the last Sunday in August, I expect to come back renewed and invigorated to tackle the next season in our life together. I expect you will come back renewed and invigorated as well.

Then together we will figure out what God has for this parish in the years to come. Together we will seek to discern God's will for a brand new Mission, Vision, and Five-Year Plan.

And together, with the help of God, we will carry that mission out.

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 29  https://mailchi.mp/449bac460d4a/ey7eu7o5mr-1353897

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spring Fling, Special Parish Meeting, Upcoming Chamber Choir Concert and more in the E-Newsletter for April 22, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/4352374b2c54/ey7eu7o5mr-1353893

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Tomorrow night is the night! 

For several years now we have set aside a Friday night in the Spring time to celebrate St. John's. Known as the "Spring Fling," we traditionally have music, dancing, a silent auction, gaming tables, and a chance to dress up and raise some money for ministry.

For five years, Alicia Hager and Cindi Sanders led this event. This year they stepped back and an amazing team of parishioners has stepped forward to put on the 6th Annual Spring Fling. Mistelle Gilbert and Allen Serio have led the work on organizing the catering and the cash bar. Cathryn Marshall has pulled together some AMAZING items for the Silent Auction (with the help of many of you!). Kelly Kelley and Mary Harberts have created a decorating scheme that will even further transform our beautiful Parish Hall. And, given the amazing contractors we're working with for the event, the clean-up team of Tia Rymal and Mike Bonevelle are now off the hook!

The Vestry has also once more raised funds to provide a blackjack table and a poker table, adding a level of fun and excitement to the night. At the end of the night, the highest chip winner will be presented with the Dick Swain Memorial Gaming Trophy. Everyone who plays at the gaming table will get a raffle ticket for each time they buy in, with the end of the night raffle prize being a $100 gift card to Ruth's Chris Steak House in Grand Rapids!

And, most importantly, the funds we raise will go into our Capital Campaign fund, providing a pad to cover construction overages that may occur as the year continues. As we celebrate that Campaign, we will also be renaming and dedicating our Parish Hall to the George & Eleanor Timberlake Parish Hall—hereafter to be lovingly referred to as the Timberlake Hall. 

Fr. Timberlake was rector at St. John's when the church experienced its first major expansion, building up the parish hall, offices, and downstairs class room complex. His time here is fondly remembered and this will be a fitting tribute to his memory, as we honor the sacrifices he made—and the sacrifices his wife, Eleanor made—to the life of this congregation. We will have two of his children, Leah and Sarah, here with us to celebrate and say a few words. We will also unveil a portrait of George and Eleanor that their son, James, had restored, enlarged, and framed in Philadelphia. 

If you are reading this and wishing you had bought tickets, you can still join us. The caterer count has been turned in, but we planned for a bit extra knowing we'd likely have a few people join at the last minute. You can click here to reserve one of the last tickets. 

I hope you'll join the party tomorrow night. It will be a great celebration of the heritage of this parish even as we continue to work towards a stronger future.

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 22  https://mailchi.mp/4352374b2c54/ey7eu7o5mr-1353893

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 15, 2018

Understanding the Sanctuary Proposal, Movie Group, SAVVY and more in the E-Newsletter for April 15, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/dd8e80fb8c58/ey7eu7o5mr-1353609

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Sanctuary.

This word carries with it many and varied meanings—not only in the church but also in the world. Sometimes sanctuary is used to refer to a church building, or the worship space within a church building. In the Anglican tradition, our "sanctuary" is the space beyond the altar rail, where Christ becomes present to us. (The other parts of our worship space are then the chancel—where the choir sits—and the nave—where the People sit.) 

The report from the 2017 Immigration  & Sanctuary Team builds upon this understanding, as they write,

Sanctuary for refugees has its roots in Judaism. The ancient Hebrew people allowed temples and even whole cities to declare themselves places of refuge for people accused of a crime they may not have committed.

Prior to the War Between the States, slaves fled bondage and oppression through the Underground Railroad – a form of sanctuary.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, when thousands of Central Americans were fleeing civil war and death squads in their home countries, the Sanctuary Movement was founded in Tucson, Arizona as many of these refugees found their way to the United States. More than 500 congregations aided Central American refugees and immigrants with immediate support and moved them to safer places.

Beginning in 2007, a New Sanctuary Movement took shape among congregations throughout the United States. As immigration raids escalated in neighborhoods and work places, congregations opened their doors to provide refuge to those facing deportation.

In many ways, it is unhelpful that the concept of sanctuary has been politicized in a partisan manner. After all, though the New Sanctuary Movement began in the second term of Republican President George W. Bush, it was during the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama that deportations increased drastically. As one article notes, while Obama was in office, "He deported 3 million people, more than any president in United States history. The Obama administration spent $154 million on federal immigration enforcement, over $50 million more than the Bush administration did during its eight years."

The questions surrounding immigration and sanctuary hit closer to home for us here at St. John's now, as we have increased our diversity with a Spanish-language worship service (one that often comprises between one-sixth to one-fifth of our total Sunday attendance!). Having built relationships with new members who have experienced the difficulty of the current immigration system turns these from theoretical to very personal questions.

So, as you know, we are preparing for a Special Parish Meeting on Sunday, April 22, at 11:30am. Last year, an Immigration & Sanctuary Team met for nearly the entire year, working to develop a recommendation for what we might say and do—as a congregation—when it comes to immigration and sanctuary. The Vestry considered their proposal in December, decided to spend more time studying and praying, and then decided earlier this year to affirm it and send it to you as a parish. You can read the full proposal online here

It's very important that we come to that meeting clear on what is (and what is not) currently being proposed. So please read the proposal. Note that the recommendation itself is only the material in the box on the first page. The second page is a broader statement they would like our church to sign on to. And the remaining pages are filled with background information and other ideas for possible work moving forward.

The current proposal is NOT recommending SJE become a Sanctuary Church in its fullest sense—one that would house someone under threat of deportation. That would be a tremendous step and neither the Team nor the Vestry would recommend it at this point. That said, there are things they feel like we could say and do. That's what is in the report and that is what will be decided on the 22nd.

If you missed last Sunday's "Why Don't They Get Legal?" presentation, which shed light on the current legal realities of our immigration system, do not worry! You can still learn more in a few ways:

  • Click here to download a video of the presentation itself. You'll find it very helpful.
  • Click here to find out the official position of The Episcopal Church on many of these questions through the work of the Episcopal Public Policy Network and the Episcopal Church Office of Governmental Relations. 
  • Click here for an easy one-page graphic that explains how legal immigration currently functions if someone seeks citizenship (and to understand why illegal immigration has become a problem). 
  • You can also click here for another chart of our immigration system, this one providing the process to get a "Green Card" or lawful resident status. 

Most importantly, I would encourage you to come to the Guild Room this Sunday, April 15, at 11:30am. Members of the Team will explain some of why they are recommending what they are recommending. You will be able to ask questions to understand more fully. And, just as important, you will be able to offer your own ideas for changes that would make the final decision more faithful to God's call to our parish. 

These are important questions and I cannot tell you how proud I am to serve a church who wants to wrestle with these difficult issues, who recognizes that lives are at stake. And I have the utmost faith that with your active participation (and our openness to the Holy Spirit), the decision made on the 22nd will be one that is faithful.

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 15  https://mailchi.mp/dd8e80fb8c58/ey7eu7o5mr-1353609

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 8, 2018

From the Presiding Bishop
The Most Rev. Michael Curry
You can see the video of the Presiding Bishop's Easter Message for 2018 online here.

Dear *|FNAME|*,

There is a passage in the 27th Chapter of Matthew’s gospel where religious leaders, political leaders come together once again after Jesus has been crucified and executed, after he had been buried in the tomb. Once again they come together to seal the tomb, to make sure not even a rumor of his resurrection will happen.  And this is what some of them say:

Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may go and steal him away and tell the people he has been raised from the dead. And the last deception will be the worse than the first.

It is easy to overlook, and sometimes convenient to forget, that Jesus was executed, Jesus was crucified by an unholy alliance of religion, politics, and economic self-interest.

Politics represented in Pontius Pilate, governor of the Roman Empire, representative of that very empire and all of its power.

King Herod, who heard Jesus at one of the trials, representative of the Herodian and economic self-interest at the time.

The Chief Priest, representative of religious aristocracies who had a vested interest in the status quo.

These three powers came together – economic, religious and political – to crucify the one who taught love the lord your God, love your neighbor, and actually live that way.

The truth is the message of Jesus was unsettling to the world then as it is unsettling to the world now.  And yet that very message is the only source of hope in life for the way of the cross, the way of unselfish living, the way of sacrificial living, seeking the good, the welfare of the other before one’s own unenlightened self-interest. That way of the cross is the way of love. That is the nature of love.  And that way is the only hope for the entire human family.

The reality is the way of Jesus was a threat to the way that the world is, and hope for the way the world can and will be.

But on that third day after the crucifixion, when by the titanic power of God, by the power of the love of God, Jesus was raised from the dead.  God sent a message and declared that death does not have the last word. Hatred does not have the last word. Violence does not have the last word. Bigotry does not have the last word. Sin, evil do not have the last word. The last word is God, and God is love.

On our pilgrimage here, we stopped and spent two days in Jordan. In Amman, Jordan, we were able to spend some sacred and blessed and painful time with Iraqi Christians. These are Christians, many of whom are Anglican, who have fled their country in Iraq because of war and violence and hatred and desecration. They have given up everything, refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. And there in Jordan, with the help of the Anglican Church there and many other relief agencies, they are at least safe, hoping to find safe and permanent homes in other countries.

In the course of our conversations, and listening to them, at one point I found myself quoting a hymn, a song that many folk have heard around Easter, certainly in our country.  And I didn’t expect a response. You probably know how it goes – it says,“because he lives,” referring to Jesus and his resurrection, “because he lives, I can face tomorrow.” When I quoted that song, those who have lost their homes, people who have lost everything except life itself, those who have lost loved ones, actually responded to the words of that song. When I said,“Because He lives I can face tomorrow.” When I said Jesus is alive, He’s been raised from the dead, I saw them lift up their heads and respond with the words amen, hallelujah.

My brothers and sisters, evil could not stop him. Death could not stop him. Violence could not stop him.  For the love of God, the heart of God, the reality of God is stronger than anything else.  And Jesus really rose from the dead on that first resurrection morning.

God love you.  God bless you. And, may this Easter season be the first day of the rest of our lives.

Amen.

Your brother,

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate        
The Episcopal Church

PS~ Don't forget that this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter at 4:00pm we will have our Second Annual MESSIAH Sing-In. Find out more about the event online here. This is the last week to sign up to be a concert patron and have your name listed in the bulletin. We are very close to our concert patron goal of $1,500, so click here to join those supporting this joyous event. 
 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, April 8  https://mailchi.mp/fe0c479ba97f/ey7eu7o5mr-1347341

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