E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mutual Renewal Workshop, Concert this Sunday, Migrant Quilt Project and more in the E-Newsletter for July 22, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/8b408f04983e/ey7eu7o5mr-1385341

A Message from Alicia Hager, Aspirant to the Priesthood

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Our Senior Warden Cathryn Marshall asked me if I would be willing to share with you some of my own journey toward ordained ministry. For me, and for many others who have felt so called, it begins with a tugging feeling. I obeyed my tug and through the process of parish discernment was moved to discernment at a diocesan level as a Nominee to the Order of Deacons. 

I enrolled in the Academy for Vocational Leadership, which is a collaboration with the Seminary of the Southwest and also the three lower Michigan dioceses. I spent 3 years attending the Academy in Clarkston, Mi, one weekend per month. We studied the Bible, Church History and Theology & Ethics. We also had practical courses and spirituality courses. I graduated just last month with my Certificate in Theological Studies. 

It was through my time at the Academy that I felt that my own call to ministry was shifting, I felt that tug again, but I tried my best to ignore it for a lot of reasons. Two priests in one family?! But I have kids! But I have to work a regular job and pay bills, how will I find time for this? But I don’t want to give up who I think I am and my own plans…. What I was doing was throwing up barriers to God and where I heard God speaking in my life. The process of tearing down those barriers, being willing to listen with a spirit of true openness, and finally saying out loud what I was hearing, was the better part of 18 months and was very difficult. 

I wonder what you are hearing, beloved family. I wonder where God is speaking in your life and where you too have put up barriers. Not everyone is called to a life of ordained ministry, but we are all called at our baptism to ministry. My own call takes its shape from my deep love of the church and her people. Your own ministry may take the shape of telling Godly Play stories, singing in the choir, becoming a Eucharistic Visitor or feeding the hungry at Loving Spoonfuls. Whatever your own tug is, I hope you will obey. There is great joy to be found in service to God and community, wondrous freedom in a call to ministry that is obeyed even though it seems impossible or difficult; even though it requires sacrifice. 

I believe that it is only through each of us obeying our distinct call to minister that the kingdom of God can be ushered in. I am in prayer for you, SJE, as you are in prayer for me. 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 22  https://mailchi.mp/8b408f04983e/ey7eu7o5mr-1385341

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 15, 2018

Mutual Renewal, Women’s Group, Choir Opportunities and more in the E-Newsletter for July 15, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/4f0aa9d580f9/ey7eu7o5mr-1383417

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Well, we’ve made it more than halfway through our Mutual Renewal time together!  How has this time affected you?  Sunday services are just a bit different with a variety of supply priests celebrating with us. Our Latino members have begun to join us at the 10:00 service while Fr John takes a break.  We’ve all noticed that people are absent from week to week as families take their annual vacations.  Many have joined in at the Mutual Renewal workshops where we have explored how God is calling us to live into our spirituality, and our life of prayer. We’ve learned about the power of healing and God’s grace.  Our next workshop will be led by our own Alicia Hager on Saturday, July 21st.  Alicia will be sharing her thoughts on lay leadership.   Have you stepped into a different leadership role during this time of renewal?  Have you noticed others who have?  Many of you have taken time to thank me for the work I’m doing as your Senior Warden. I want you to know that I really appreciate your support!

I’d like to invite you all to dig deeper during this second half of our Mutual Renewal time.  Click here to explore your Rule of Life.  This document came from the Diocesan Church Development Institute (DCDI), a two-year program I’ve been attending since last year. Beginning in 2019, this program is going to be restructured and presented as twelve one-day seminars instead of the current eight two-day sessions.  The new DCDI will be held at a church in Midland on twelve Saturdays spread out over two years.  I highly recommend it!

I hope you all continue to enjoy the warm weather, the beach, the picnics, and everything else that makes summer great.  Be sure to join us in welcoming Fr Jared, Bethany, and Lucy back to St John’s on Sunday, August 26th!
In God’s Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 15  https://mailchi.mp/4f0aa9d580f9/ey7eu7o5mr-1383417

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 8, 2018

Clothes & Shoes Needed, Soft Spaces Open, Loving Spoonfuls, and more in the E-Newsletter for July 8, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/cb5700cf4f73/ey7eu7o5mr-1380801

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

It’s challenging to feel patriotic during this season of political unrest. Facebook is filled with hateful messages these days, and people are feeling unsettled. No matter what side of the coin you are on, I think you will agree that the country feels divided. How do we respond to all of this as Christians? How do we maintain loving relationships with people who hold different viewpoints? That’s not a new challenge, it’s just more apparent given the scope of social media. I think the answer lies in trying to see people with whom we disagree as real people. It’s too easy to look at a picture of someone we don’t know on a Facebook post and see only what the headline proclaims, or what the camera happened to capture in that millisecond. But we are called to see Christ in all persons, and to be Christ to all persons.  I think it’s important to remember that Christ died for ALL, not just for us. It’s important to remember that God longs for a relationship with ALL people, not just with us. It’s hard to set our judgements aside. Some would even say it’s human nature for us to judge others.  But that’s not our job. The Book of Common Prayer tells us that the duty of all Christians is to love our neighbors as ourselves, to work and pray for peace; to bear no malice, prejudice, or hatred in our hearts, and to be kind to all the creatures of God. 

As we continue our journey of Mutual Renewal, my prayer is that each of us can find it in our hearts to see Christ in all of our fellow human beings. And maybe to give Facebook a rest!
In God’s Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 8  https://mailchi.mp/cb5700cf4f73/ey7eu7o5mr-1380801

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Special Message from the Sr. Warden about General Convention

General Convention Message, July 2, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/fc2cb578ab5d/ey7eu7o5mr-1382341

A Special Message from Cathryn Marshall, Sr. Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Today and tomorrow Episcopalians all around the church are making their way to Austin, TX, for the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church—including our rector, Fr. Jared Cramer!
In the Episcopal Church, governance and ministry is always shared between laity and clergy. This is true on the parish level, where the elected lay Sr. Warden (me!) works together with the Rector (Fr. Jared) in the leadership of the church, in particular through the duly elected Vestry of the parish. Rector, Sr. Warden, and Vestry all have distinct responsibilities and areas of authority, but in a healthy church we all work together and always take counsel with important matters.
At the highest level of authority in the Episcopal Church, there doesn't stand an Archbishop or even our Presiding Bishop. Instead, the highest authority in our church is General Convention. This is a bi-cameral legislature which meets every three years and is composed of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies is comprised for four lay people and four clergy from each diocese in the Episcopal Church. The House of Bishops is comprised of all bishops of the church. Nothing happens in General Convention—and, thus, nothing significant in our church—without a majority of both Houses agreeing on it. 

And so, over 1,000 Deputies and Bishops will be gathering for the next twelve days in Austin, TX, to worship, take counsel, and pass legislation that will shape the life or the Episcopal Church. This year's Convention is expected to touch on several important questions, including:

  • Possible Prayer Book Revision
  • Marriage Equality
  • Response to the #MeToo Movement and a review of our church's sexual misconduct policies along with nearly 30 other related resolutions
  • Increased work for Evangelism & Church Planting (like our own El Corazón Latino ministry, currently 80% funded by a grant created by the last General Convention!)
  • Work on Racial Reconciliation
  • A report on the future of provinces
  • Reports on studies of the Episcopate and the Election of the Presiding Bishop
You can find out more details about many of these issues online here. You'll even be able to watch a live-stream of Convention online here! Daily coverage will also be provided by the Episcopal News Service. Our diocese's Canon for Evangelism & Networking also sent out a special newsletter filled with great information about convention. If you didn't get it, click here and ask Canon Forsyth to add your e-mail to the list!
Fr. Jared was elected as the first clergy alternate from our diocese, so the diocese is sending him along with the rest of the deputation so that he can substitute in for sessions as needed. The schedule for Convention is grueling and it is helpful to have that extra hand. He'll also be participating actively in the legislative hearings for several issues. You can follow him at Twitter during convention online here.
In advance of Convention, he has been blogging through the "Blue Book" of reports and resolutions. He made almost half-way through, nearly completing volume 1—which for a book that comes in at over 1,000 pages, is not bad! You can read the whole series online here, including posts on a new proposed Book of Occasional Services and a new proposed church calendar called Lesser Feasts and Fasts—both of which took up over another 1,000 pages of supplemental material!
No matter how closely you are able to follow General Convention over these next two weeks, take a moment and say a prayer for the clergy and lay leaders who are gathering in Austin. And stay tuned, once General Convention wraps up (and Fr. Jared returns from Sabbatical), he will likely have some opportunities for you to learn all about what happened and how it will impact our own congregation of St. John's.

In Christ,

Read more in the Message about General Convention, July 2, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/fc2cb578ab5d/ey7eu7o5mr-1382341

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 1, 2018

Migrant Resource Fiesta, Adaptive Leadership, Independence Day and more in the E-Newsletter for July 1, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/70ac754993c3/ey7eu7o5mr-1378461

A Message from Cathryn Marshall, Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Several months ago, I attended the Bishop’s Workshop. This is a “town hall” type gathering that takes place each year. Three or four workshops are held, all with the same agenda, but in different locations throughout the state.  First, the Bishop summarized last year’s topic, which was all about adaptive leadership. This concept says that one must adapt to the times, and come up with ways to do things today, rather than continuing to wish for ‘the good old days’. It’s also about the realization that issues that come up for churches generally require more than a “quick fix”. Adaptive leadership is proactive, not reactive. Adaptive leadership changes build on the past rather than jettisoning it or getting lost in reminiscences.  Adaptation requires a willingness to experiment, and a willingness to fail.  Most importantly, adaptation takes time.
The Bishop then began to talk about his concerns about church consumerism. “I’m shopping for a church” is a phrase that makes him uncomfortable. We are not offering a product!  He reminded us of what the BCP says about the mission of the church: “…to restore all people to unity with God and each other through Christ.”  (p855)
This theme also arose in one of the breakout sessions. A task force has been working for the past year on coming up with ways to measure a parish in terms of vitality and viability. One of the stories that was shared was about a church making a huge difference in their community even though they don’t have a lot of resources – because they are mission-focused.  
Some of the questions that Bishop Whayne asked the group to ponder were:
What is Church to you?
Why do you belong? Why do you participate?
What is the Gospel’s good news?
The first three are personal, and the answers can vary widely. For me, the answer to the final question is that God’s love is a gift offered to all people.   The important part of that sentence is the word gift. We can’t earn it; we are broken, we are flawed, but God loves us anyway.
As we continue our Mutual Renewal journey this summer, I would invite you to ponder the Bishop’s questions. I hope the answers will motivate you to share God’s gift with others.
In God’s Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 1  https://mailchi.mp/70ac754993c3/ey7eu7o5mr-1378461

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 24, 2018

Latino Ministry, Migrant Resource Council Fiesta, St. John the Baptist and more in the E-Newsletter for June 24, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/84715da126d6/ey7eu7o5mr-1375957

A Message from Your Rector and Senior Warden

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Dear Parish Family,
During this time of Renewal Leave, as we have all been exploring how to return to the sources that nourish us in our lives as Christians, a new opportunity has arisen that we want to tell you about.
when Father Jared returns this fall, we will have time as a parish discerning a new mission, vision, and five-year plan for our ministry together. Our hope is that this Renewal Leave will have brought clarity and a renewed sense of what God is calling all of us to as a parish family.
This fall will also see the approach of the conclusion of the second year of our grant for Latino Ministry, with 2019 being the third and final year of this grant cycle. When General Convention meets this next month, they will determine whether or not to extend these grants for new ministries in the church. So, we will know this fall whether or not we will likely see our own grant extended for another three years. Either way, our Latino ministry and you will be invited to discern together how best to move forward in our shared ministry.
As we approach this new time of discernment of mission and vision in the Latino ministry, Cathryn, Father Jared, and Father John have decided that it would be nourishing to do a few things differently over these next couple of months.
Our Associate Rector, Father John, did not take his full vacation last year and still has not taken any this year. He has worked tremendously hard for us all and time away for rest is essential to a healthy and vibrant ministry. So, he will begin a time away this Sunday. This is not a Sabbatical like Father Jared is currently taking. Rather, he is simply taking his accrued vacation time along with his continuing education.
Our Latino ministry also has a desire to use these next couple of months to grow in relationship with the rest of their parish family. Thus, they have asked to worship with you at the 10:00am English liturgy during these months. Cathryn will secure a professional interpreter who will interpret the liturgy through our existing interpretation devices for our members. So, the liturgy will not be bilingual, but will still be understood by our Spanish-speaking members. I know you will warmly welcome them to the 10:00am liturgy.
The Latino ministry will still continue the rest of their activities they do. They would invite you to join them at the Migrant Resource Council “Fiesta” on Friday, June 29, to thank the migrant workers who come to our community each summer. If you are interested in helping with the St. John’s table at that event, please contact Reyna Masko at rmasko@sjegh.com. They are also very much looking forward to your help with the Second Annual Taco Sale at the Coast Guard Parade on Saturday, August 4.
If you have any questions, or want to know how you can help during our continued time of Renewal Leave and discernment this summer, please contact Cathryn at seniorwarden@stjohnsepiscopal.com.
Yours in Christ,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 24  https://mailchi.mp/84715da126d6/ey7eu7o5mr-1375957

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