September 13, 2018

The Gift of Community

Dear Friends:

September came awfully fast this year! My head is still swimming from the speed with which normal church (and other) activities are taking off. I'm sure you are as well (especially if you have children in school). As we begin the program year, I'd like to reflect on baptism and belonging.

In another church, long ago and far, far away, I got a phone call, "can we get our baby done on Saturday?" People often seek out church looking for a place to hold rituals for rites of passage. Religious or not, we need rituals. We are surrounded by small and large rituals at home and at work each day. The rituals add meaning and bridge connections. Baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals are good and important ways for individuals to enter a community of faith. However, without sustained involvement, week after week (or regularly but less often), the rituals don't carry much meaning. If people only turn up for the single occasion, they are more likely to experience the event as cotton candy rather than as something which provides sustenance. Occasional connection with a faith community is a bit like playing tennis only once a year and then wondering why it hurts every time you do.

Every former Roman Catholic I know still has a rosary, still knows how to recite it and, I dare say, does it from time to time. Saying the rosary and participating in rituals in which you have been immersed since childhood helps give the event meaning and creates comfort when going through challenging times. Studies have shown that those who are involved in faith communities are healthier, live longer and are better able to weather and bounce back from crises.

Can you be married or buried without the church? Of course you can. But, doesn't it make sense to engage in a community where many, including the priest, know and want to support you, your spouse and family? Doesn't it make sense to mark these momentous events with the words and rituals which have surrounded so many other people, generation after generation, all across the world? Wouldn't it make sense to meet with and be supported by those who have experience accompanying you on all those significant life transitions? In the post-Christendom world in which we dwell, going to church on a regular basis and opting out of regular, mandatory Sunday activities is a counter cultural move. I am glad blue laws no longer exist but that doesn't eliminate our need for sabbath. Especially in these times, doesn't it make sense to come together in worship, to pray, to grow in faith and share each others' joys and sorrows?

Blessings and Peace,


Regular worship schedule resumed last week, with services at 8 and 10 am. Wednesday evening Eucharist returned on September 12 at a new time: 5:30 pm. Our office (except for holidays) is open on Mondays through Thursdays, from 9:15 to 2 pm. Alon+ is available for appointments and visits at other times as well.

Check out the Sunday Paper as you enter church. There are two separate editions which will be available at both church entrances. One, a single sheet is designed for young people 5th grade and up. The other, a booklet, is designed for younger children and their parents. Of particular interest to parents are the discussion points noted on the back cover. Even if you come without children, take a look.

Church School Registration and Parents' Meeting: with Alon+ will be on Sunday, September 16, at 9 am. Please come to learn about changes to this year's church school programs. Classes begin September 23 at 9:45.

Blessing of Backpacks (and Work Bags): on Sunday, September 16 at the 10 am service. Students and adults will be invited to come forward so we can bless them and their backpacks and work bags for the coming school year.

Welcome Back Festive Coffee Hour on Sunday, September 16, following the 10 am worship service. Parishioners are encouraged to bring sweets and savories to share (and invite a friend!). Please let Emily Eubanks know what you are planning on bringing. There will be a sign up sheet at church or you can email her at

All Parish Meeting join your Transition Team, The Rev. Maureen Lederman (Transition Consultant) and vestry members  for a meeting on Sunday, September 30, from 3-7 pm.  This is an important step in the development of the discernment materials so we hope many of you will be able to attend.  Food will be provided.

Jazz Vespers: Save the date! Join us for this annual fall event on Sunday, October 21.

Opportunities to serve: As we gear up for the normal program year, we are looking for volunteers to support our worship on an occasional or ongoing basis. We hope you will consider joining the dedicated crew of acolytes, altar guild, chalice ministers, choir members, coffee hour hosts, lectors/readers, intercessors and ushers who support our worship every week. For more information, or to sign on, please contact Music Minister Martha Meyer ( for choir and other musical opportunities; Connie Bororfsky ( for altar guild; Michele Markelon ( or Emily Eubanks (emile@optonline) for coffee hour hosting and other hospitality events; Joey Davey ( for acolytes and chalice ministers or Alon+ ( ) for readers or to share other ideas about ways to serve.