E-Newsletter For Sunday, August 25, 2019

Subject: Commemoration of the First Slaves, SJE Crisis Meals, Acolyte Trip, Parish Picnic… https://mailchi.mp/fe792c0b3620/ey7eu7o5mr-1499241

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

Dear Parishioners,

Four hundred years ago this Sunday, the first enslaved Africans landed in English Norther America. 

Our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, has invited every Episcopal Church to join in a moment commemorating this event by tolling the bells of our churches at 3:00pm on Sunday afternoon.

As Bishop Curry says in his video call to action,

I’m inviting us as The Episcopal Church to join in this commemoration as part of our continued work of racial healing and reconciliation. At 3:00 pm we can join together with people of other Christian faiths and people of all faiths to remember those who came as enslaved, who came to a country that one day would proclaim liberty. And so we remember them and pray for a new future for us all.

I would encourage to watch the entirety of the video that the Presiding Bishop has put out. His call is an important one for us to hear.

Other bishops have also spoken out calling for solidarity in our church at the anniversary of this day when the sin of slavery began in English North America. For example, the Bishop of Southern Virginia, the Rt. Rev James Magness, wrote, saying, 

The 2019 commemoration of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to North America is for me a highly personal occasion,” said Magness. “As a descendent of slaveholders, and as a white male who came of age in the racially polarized south during the 1950s and 1960s, I am painfully aware of my own complicity in furthering and perpetuating the subjugation of my African American brothers and sisters.  At a time when the racial divide in this country seems to be growing rather than diminishing, we are in dire need of a moment, an event when we can stop and take stock of our responsibilities to bring the races together, perhaps in a new manner that truly is an embrace of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

This call to action was called for by the National Parks Service and is one that we will be participating in at St. John’s on Sunday. You are invited to join us in the All Souls’ Chapel at 3:00pm on Sunday, where we will toll our church bell for one minute. I will then lead those gathered in a Litany of Penitence.

There are other important things happening this Sunday, of course. We will have the “dunk the rector” tank after the 10am liturgy to raise funds for the Acolyte Trip to Washington, DC. That evening, at 5:00pm, we’ll be gathering at the Elks Campground on Lake Michigan in Muskegon for a special end-of-summer parish picnic, also to benefit the Acolyte trip. And, this Sunday will mark the end of our Silent Auction—currently open for bids on items with a value of over $3,000 in the Timberlake Hall!

All of those events on Sunday are good and worthy. But I would encourage you to join me for this moment in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, so that we might remember the ways in which our church has failed in the past, be renewed in our commitments to greater faithfulness in the world, and be reminded why we are investing so much time and energy in our Acolytes going to DC in the first place—so that they may be a force for love and justice in this world.

I’ll see you on Sunday.

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 25, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/fe792c0b3620/ey7eu7o5mr-1499241

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, August 18, 2019

Subject: SJE Library Renovation, This Weekend’s Conference, Back to School Supply Drive… https://mailchi.mp/f748659698e6/ey7eu7o5mr-1497653

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

Dear Parishioners,

Do you love a good book? Do you ever have trouble wading through the variety of religious options—and not knowing what’s good? Want to learn more about the Episcopal Church or the Bible… or just want to kick back and enjoy some good fiction.

The SJE Parish Library is your friend!

For several years, the library has not been used as frequently as it could be. Our catalog system was designed by a parishioner (and lacks an actual catalog to look items up!). Many of the books are outdated and accumulating dust. Newer books that would be relevant to the life of Christians at SJE aren’t purchased because there is no dedicated system to do so.

That’s all been changing this summer! Our amazing team of Cathryn Marshall and Susan Morriss have been hard at work this summer purging our library of out-dated books and adding in newer ones. They’ve also created a DVD/Blu-Ray section for movies. This past week, they’ve been entering books into our own online cloud-based catalog, all now organized according to the standards of the Library of Congress Catalog System—meaning that now you can go online and view the SJE library at any time!

The address is: https://sjegh.libib.com

When they are done, you”ll be able to view the entire Parish Library online or from an app and check out books with a kiosk right in the Guild Room! After entering all the books, the next step will be tagging the spines with the Library of Congress Catalog Numbers. 

We’re currently hosting a Facebook Fundraiser to help us purchase the needed materials to finish out this project—and also create a new Library Fund that we will use to buy new books each year in order to keep our library up to date and helpful! Click here to see the library fundraiser and contribute! Or, if you prefer, you can send a check to St. John’s with “Library Fund” in the memo line.

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 18, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/f748659698e6/ey7eu7o5mr-1497653

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, August 11, 2019

Subject: Back to School Supply Drive, Acolyte Fundraiser, Hospice Volunteers, and more… https://mailchi.mp/00311ae041d4/ey7eu7o5mr-1494733

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

Dear Parishioners,

For a while now, our congregation has partnered with and supported a meal program at Greater Anointing Church in Muskegon, MI. 

If you remember, our Parish Administrator, Cindi Sanders, is the one who first got into contact with them when they were looking for help in being more effective in their feeding work. She went to visit with them and find out more about their ministry. 

At the Greater Anointing Apostolic Faith Church in Muskegon Heights, Cindi walked the building as Mrs. Jones told her about their situation. They are located across the street from the projects and they knew there were hungry kids there with no place to go after school. Mrs. Jones told Cindi how the kids who live there often go to sleep hearing gun shots and sirens. So they decided it was God’s call to feed those children, giving them a good meal after school before they went home.

With very little resources as a small congregation, they started offering a meal to the kids after school. Now they are feeding 80 to 120 people (mostly children) three times a week. E

Last year, during Advent, we worked together with First Presbyterian here in Grand Haven to raise the funds to get them a proper stove hood and ventilation fan so they could become a fully licensed kitchen. 

As we enter into the last month of summer, we want to bless the kids who go to the meal at Greater Anointing once more. We are doing a school supplies drive from now until August 26. Anything brought into the office, or on a Sunday, during that time will be brought to Greater Anointing for them to distribute to the kids who come to their meals. Some of the items on the back to school list at Muskegon schools include:

  • Box of 12 Ticonderoga plain yellow #2 pencils
  • Glue Sticks
  • 1 box of colored pencils
  • 1 box of washable felt markers
  • 24 Count Crayola Crayons
  • 1 payer of scissors
  • 2 pkg lined notebook paper
  • Closable Pencil Box
  • Closable Pencil Pouch
  • Band-Aids
  • Clorox / Lysol Wipes
  • Kleenex
  • Snack size Ziploc baggies

Feel free to drop off your items anytime during the week, or to bring them on Sunday and set them on the pew outside the Parish Office. And if you’d like to volunteer to be on the crew that will bring everything over to Greater Anointing the week of August 26, please click here to let me know.

In a time when hatred and division are so high, let’s extend our hands across the bridge and continue in love and fellowship with our sisters and brothers at Greater Anointing. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 11, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/00311ae041d4/ey7eu7o5mr-1494733

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, August 4, 2019

Subject: Coast Guard Morning Prayer, Taco Sale, Parade, and more in the E-Newsletter… https://mailchi.mp/63daa15a9a3f/ey7eu7o5mr-1494009

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

Dear Parishioners,

The United States Coast Guard was created by Congress in August of 1790.

It was originally known as the “Revenue Marine” or “Revenue Cutter Service” and focused on the collecting of customs duties at our nation’s seaports. In 1915, it merged with the US Life-Saving Service and became the modern Coast Guard. 

During times of war, the Coast Guard can be transferred to the US Department of the Navy, something that has happened twice, once during World War I and then again during World War II. That said, the Coast Guard has actually been involved in every US war from 1790 through the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Indeed, on its own, the Coast Guard is the world’s 12th largest naval force. 

The brave women and men who serve in the Coast Guard focus on maritime homeland security, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, and the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). It functions differently than other parts of the armed forces. It has a maritime law enforcement role in domestic and international waters but it also has a federal regulatory agency as a part of its mission. 

The Coast Guard is comprised of 42,000 active duty personnel, with an additional nearly 49,000 in reserve, auxiliary, or other roles. They serve bravely in their tasks, with an organizational structure that enables quick response to crisis and emergency. During this week, as we do every year in Grand Haven, we have been honoring the Coast Guard.

This Saturday, I invite you to join us for the Grand Parade. Come early at 10:00am for Morning Prayer with hymns, led by  the St. Cecilia Choir. Come early for a special prelude at 9:50am and sing along to the patriotic hymns of our hymnal. Then, enjoy the luncheon fundraiser served by our El Corazón Latino Ministry, and the parade itself. 

As you sing the opening hymn on Saturday, remember these brave women and men in their service—and perhaps pray the prayer in the extra verse to the hymn written specifically in their honor:

Eternal Father, Lord of hosts,
Watch o’er the ones who guard our coasts.
Protect them from the raging seas
And give them light and life and peace.
Grant them from thy great throne above
The shield and shelter of thy love. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 4, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/63daa15a9a3f/ey7eu7o5mr-1494009

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, July 28, 2019

Subject: Conference coming to SJE, Hospice Volunteers, Acolytes Trip Update and more… https://mailchi.mp/48adfbda94df/ey7eu7o5mr-1491305

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

Dear Parishioners,

Next month our congregation will be holding a special small conference—and you are invited.

We will be hosting the Second Great Lakes Conference on Anglican Catholicity. The conference is being presented by the Great Lakes Chapter of the Society of Catholic Priests in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. I was part of the inception and founding of this society over a decade ago and I currently serve as the Convener for the Great Lakes Chapter, whose members include Episcopal and Anglican priests from both the midwest area and Canada. 

The theme of the Conference is “Anglo-Catholicism and the Common Good.” Our keynote speaker is Dr. Elisabeth Kincaid, a scholar who holds a Ph.D. in Moral Theology from the University of Notre Dame and who previously practiced law and worked in private equity. She will be exploring the intersection of the Anglo-Catholic movement and social justice concerns in society. 

There will also be a variety of workshops for you to attend. The worship will be the high standards we have at St. John’s, but ratcheted up a bit to lean more into the Anglo-Catholic tradition and give Conference attendees a taste of a style of worship hard to come by here in the Midwest. Meals will also be provided.

You can find out more and register to attend online here. Note that if you would just like to come to dinner and the keynote, there is a reduced registration fee for that. And, of course, all worship events are open to everyone, free of charge. 

If any aspect of the conference cost would be prohibitive for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I do have scholarships available to those who would like to attend. 

Through Grace,

PS ~ It’s not too late to join us for Misa en el Campo tonight. You can come to the church at 5:30pm to help Yolanda with the cooking, come at 6:00pm to help Alicia with preparing the items we will donate, or meet us here to carpool when we leave at 6:45pm to head to the camp where we will be serving a meal and celebrating Holy Eucharist. 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 28, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/48adfbda94df/ey7eu7o5mr-1491305

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, July 21, 2019

Subject: Misa en el Campo, Stephen Ministry, Silent Auction for Acolytes2DC and more… https://mailchi.mp/1decc73b0f6f/ey7eu7o5mr-1490441

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

Dear Parishioners,

Last week, as I was nearing the end of my vacation in Nashville, I was blessed to join you in prayer.

Along with churches, communities, and organizations across our country, we all participated in Lights for Liberty. There were nearly 600 vigils all across our country, lighting candles in silent vigil for all those held in US detention camps.

The opposition to this practice has been remarkably non-partisan in the Episcopal Church. All six bishops in Texas dioceses issued a joint statement urging state and national leaders to address these inhumane conditions. These bishops range from liberal to conservative to moderate—some of them even opposed to same-sex marriage in The Episcopal Church. Yet, they were united in this statement. 

I was honored to be one of the speakers at the Lights for Liberty event in Nashville. And it was meaningful to know that at the same time you were gathering in St. John’s. We had around 75 people attend our vigil—many of whom were not a part of our congregation, but were instead community members looking for a way to respond through prayer and song. A tremendous thank you to Alicia Hager and Reyna Masko for pulling this together so quickly. From what I hear, it was a powerful experience for everyone who came.

Of course, the plight of immigrants and migrants in our country is not just something happening at the border in Texas. We have entered the season of the year where hundreds of migrant workers come to our area to work the fields that drive much of the agricultural economy in this area.

As we seek to bless those workers and families, you are invited to help support next week’s Misa en el Campo. I visited several camps with our friend, José Astua, this past week and we have selected one to visit on Thursday, July 25, to bless that evening. We’ll bring basic necessities, a free dinner, and the celebration of Holy Communion right at the camp. 

If you want to help, there are several ways. Click here to see the four areas we are needing help with and sign up to help with at least one if you are available that Thursday night. 

If you want to donate items for the migrant workers, you can drop off cases of bottled water, toiletries, and small toys to the Parish Office anytime between now and Wednesday. Wednesday night, Alicia Hager will see what kind of donations we have and then will go to the store to buy what we need to ensure there is enough for the event—our goal is to have items for up to twenty families. If you’d like to contribute funds to our El Corazón Latino Ministry Fund to support this and other activities of that initiative, you can do that online here.

In the Immigration Statement approved unanimously by the April 22, 2018, Special Parish Meeting, our congregation committed itself to being a safe place for all people to worship, regardless of immigration status, and to offer classes and resources to the immigrant community. During this year, you have lived deeply and faithfully into that congregational commitment.

The work is not done yet. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 21, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/1decc73b0f6f/ey7eu7o5mr-1490441

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, July 14, 2019

Subject: UNITY School, Last Call for Confirmation, Faith Formation Commission and more in the E-Newsletter for July 14, 2019… https://mailchi.mp/813874932430/ey7eu7o5mr-1489109

From the UNITY School

Ms. Sue Morriss, Ministry Leader

Dear Parishioners,

Our parish is working on two projects this summer in support of the UNITY School: One, taking home a UNITY School mite box and making small contributions throughout the summer months.  Just as we enjoy our summer fun and perhaps go on a summer vacation, children in Uganda are happy to be in their second of three semesters per school year.

Project #2, inscribing your well wishes or thoughts onto the inside cover of one of the remaining 10 volumes of Grolier’s Encyclopedia that will be sent to the school for your donation of $15 per volume to cover the shipping.  The complete set of 20 volumes will be a wonderful resource for teachers and students to use during their early years of education.  The mint condition of the books will ensure years of use to come in this area where there is no access to computers for instant referencing. Please see the display case in the hallway showing the details.  

If your mite box is almost filled, take home another, and continue to think about how our small amounts of change can have a large impact on the school.  

We will be having an Ingathering of the boxes on Sunday, September 1st at all 3 services.  Please bring your box(es) with your family name written on them, or drop them off in the office.

Thanks,

Sue   

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 14, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/813874932430/ey7eu7o5mr-1489109

 

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, July 7, 2019

Subject: Lights for Liberty, Independence Day, Faith Formation Commission and more… https://us5.campaign-archive.com/?u=7209c63e2d3f0357d9deba6c3&id=09b86

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

Dear Parishioners,

This E-Newsletter likely finds you preparing for your 4th of July celebrations, readying grills or fireworks or however else you celebrate our nation’s Declaration of Independence.

On this Fourth of July holiday, I am particularly mindful of how many members of our parish are moved to action by the images we have seen of asylum seekers and refugees ago our border. When we see our fellow human beings in such conditions, our hearts should indeed grieve and the Holy Spirit provokes us to action.

You’ll be glad to know that The Episcopal Church has been strong in our response to this increasing crisis. Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, has spoken out, saying

We are children of the one God who is the Creator of us all. It is our sisters, our brothers, our siblings who are seeking protection and asylum, fleeing violence and danger to children, searching for a better life for themselves and their children. The crisis at the border is not simply a challenge of partisan politics but a test of our personal and public morality and human decency.

The Episcopal Church, through the Office of Government Relations (OGR) and Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), has compiled a list of resources, bishop statements, and information in response to the ongoing humanitarian situation at the southern border. That is available online here.

Numerous Episcopal Bishops have spoken out and several Episcopal organizations have mobilized for action. An article in the Episcopal News Service last weekdescribed several of these responses of advocacy and outreach. 

Much of this is builds from the work of the 2018 General Convention, which was united in response to issues surrounding immigration. We gathered in vigil and protest outside the Hutto detention facility. We heard from Mother Nancy Fraustro, and Episcopal priest and a Dreamer. Convention considered three key resolutions related to immigration:

  • Resolution C033 — Respecting the Dignity of Immigrants (including support for Dreamers and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants). 
  • Resolution A178 — Halt the Intensification and Implementation of Immigration Policies and Practices that are Harmful to Migrant Women, Parents and Children (including family separations and mistreatment of immigrant parents and children).
  • Resolution C009 – Becoming a Sanctuary Church (encourages of parishes to support those facing deportation and supporting those parishes which feel called to become sanctuary churches).

All three of these resolutions passed General Convention unanimously—a rare feat in the Episcopal Church, where we sometimes seem able to divide ourselves on almost every question possible. (You can read more about General Convention and immigration online here). 

Right now, there is a nationwide movement to call together Vigils in cities all around our country on July 12. It’s called “Lights for Liberty.” These Vigils invite people to come outside and stand up in protest to the inhumane conditions faced by migrants, believing that this should not be a partisan issue. 

I will be in Nashville on vacation with Bethany’s family on that day, but I’ve made plans to attend the Lights for Liberty Vigil there. One of the organizers of that Vigil has invited me to be one of the speakers. 

Additionally, Children & Youth Coordinator Reyna Masko (and the Vestry representative for El Corazón) is working with parishioner Alicia Hager, with the Vestry’s support, are working together to plan our own Lights for Liberty vigil here at St. John’s. You can find out more about that event online here. Please rmasko@stjohnsepiscopal.com?subject=Lights%20for%20Liberty” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>contact Alicia and Reyna if you would like help out. 

I would invite you, as you feel called on this Independence Day, to find how God is moving in your life, how the Holy Spirit is prompting you to action so that the torch of freedom lit on July 4, 1776, may burn even brighter and be expanded to all people.

Warmly,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 7, 2019 https://us5.campaign-archive.com/?u=7209c63e2d3f0357d9deba6c3&id=09b86

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, June 30, 2019

Subject: Gospel Music Sundays, Acolyte Fundraiser, Confirmation & Reception, and more… https://mailchi.mp/6d3133371a7a/ey7eu7o5mr-1482461

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

Dear Parishioners,

It’s that time of the year again… time for our summer Gospel Music Sundays!

On the last Sunday of each month during the summer months, the music in our worship will draw from the rich tradition of Gospel music. The article in the June Parish Pageshared an article from religious scholar Douglas Harrison about the roots of this tradition in American Christianity. Harrison wrote,

Gospel music cuts across denominational and theological lines within Protestantism by relocating the locus of authority from church hierarchy and tradition to the individual in his or her interaction with the gospel in song. It is not that southern gospel songs are void of theological content. Rather, the experience of southern gospel music invites (indeed, it requires) personal interpretation and application of a given song’s theology, but in a way that does not disrupt southern gospel’s ecumenical unity and the appearance of ideological like-mindedness.

The narrative logic of southern gospel lyrics and the harmonic logic of southern gospel musical structures transform negative feelings—personal reversals or failure, spiritual insecurity, suffering at the hands of others—from stumbling blocks that threaten to erode one’s bases for faith into opportunities for spiritual renewal. “When Satan reminds me of my history” of sin and failure, the chorus of a popular anthem declares, “Calvary answers for me.”

This mode of expression, this use of cultural practice to manage the tension between sentiment and faith, the experientially fluctuant and the doctrinally absolute, is more than just a compensation for the psychospiritual paradoxes of evangelicalism, though it is that, too. The individual structures of religious feeling and thought that emerge from within southern gospel cohere into defining—if also always evolving—patterns of psychology characteristic of the evangelical imagination. Southern gospel serves as a private means of religious identity formation, but it also acts as a public discourse in which many evangelicals collectively consecrate the strife of daily living without surrendering cause for optimism.

I look forward this Sunday, as I come back from Chicago, to worshipping with you at the second service with some of the rich hymns from the Gospel Music tradition. I hope it broadens your experience of the richness and breadth of God’s grace.

Warmly,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 30, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/6d3133371a7a/ey7eu7o5mr-1482461

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E-Newsletter For Sunday, June 23, 2019

Subject: Fr. Jared’s Continuing Education, Plans for New Pictorial Directory, Hearing Aid… https://mailchi.mp/3333946a034b/ey7eu7o5mr-1482189

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

Dear Parishioners,

By the time you get this week’s E-Newsletter, I will be wrapping up my first week auditing courses at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. 

One of the courses I have been most excited about is entitled, “God of the People.” As I prepare for the course, I’ve been reading the book, The Community of the Beautiful: A Theological Aestheticsby Alejandro R. Garcia-Rivera. 

It has been utterly fascinating. García-Rivera tells a story early in the book of his own experience when his Lutheran parish established a Latino ministry. In that parish, they did it by having the Spanish worship in a different location. The differences between the cultures was highlighted around the time of Christmas. The English-speaking community that worshipped downstairs in the church proper would decorate with a large fir tree and simple white lights and decorations. By contrast, the Puerto Rican community that worshipped upstairs had an artificial tree  absolutely covered with flashing light and tinsel. Around the tree was life-size plywood representations of the Nativity. 

As García-Rivera says, “When the community ‘downstairs’ saw the Christmas decorations of the community ‘upstairs,; they, recoiling in horror, would inevitably exclaim, ‘How gaudy!’ When the community ‘upstairs’ saw the Christmas decorations of the community ‘downstairs,’ they, also recoiling in horror, would inevitably exclaim, ‘How lifeless!” 

Eventually, the Puerto Rican community left and founded their own church, the cultural dynamics of integrated community being too difficult for anyone too bear. 

As García-Rivera continues in his book, he lays out an understanding of theological aesthetics (a theology of beauty) that has implications for Hispanic theology. He digs deeply into popular Catholicism in North America, as it is practiced by Hispanic people, arguing that Latin American Christianity has a particular understanding of the beautiful as a way in which divine grace can be experienced. Popular devotions in the life of people is the grounding experience of God.

The book is a theologically and philosophically dense read, but it has also evoked very interesting questions for me about the relationship between beauty and divine truth as that is understood in classic Anglican theology… and how that might intersect with the understanding of beauty and divine truth in Latin American devotion. 

I’m grateful for this time away to study—and I’m also grateful to be a part of a community like SJE which has never looked down on any of the customs our Latino ministry has brought into our community. Rather, we have sought to celebrate and continue to learn from each other, becoming our own very real community of the beautiful right here in Grand Haven. 

Warmly,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 23, 2019 https://mailchi.mp/3333946a034b/ey7eu7o5mr-1482189

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