Sermon preached by the Rev. Daphne Cody on March 20, 2016
Sermon preached by the Rev. Daphne Cody on March 20, 2016
Sermon preached by the Rev. Daphne Cody on March 6, 2016
Alleluia! Easter has arrived, Lent is over and I can finally return to eating ice cream just when I had convinced myself that mashed up frozen bananas are just as tasty. Actually they are pretty tasty, especially with berries, and I will no doubt keep on eating them because of that. This was a Lenten surprise for me, to find something healthy and tasty and just as good as ice cream.
Another surprise in this Lenten season was Space in the Chapel. The Wednesday night services were peaceful, meditative, prayerful, leading up to the beautiful and dramatic tenebrae service during Holy Week. Space in the Chapel made me mindful of Lent, probably in more meaningful ways than giving up ice cream, which turned out not to be such a sacrifice because of those handy bananas.
Another gratifying surprise were the numbers of people at our Maundy Thursday supper and Easter service. After weeks of dire predictions about poor attendance due to spring break, close to forty people partook of the Agape meal on Thursday, and the church was full on Easter Sunday. I don’t know the Sunday numbers, but lots of people were still coming up to the altar rail well after we finished singing the Communion hymn requiring organist Chris Roe to improvise until everyone was finished.
Thank you to everyone who participated in and helped with Holy Week and Easter Sunday services. From the flame of new fire that started the Easter service to the rousing chords of the closing toccata, it was a truly memorable Easter.
As Junior Warden, I also want to give a personal thanks to the Vestry members who set up, cleaned up, and provided food for the festive coffee hour, where everyone feasted on goodies as the children swirled around in their annual Easter egg quest. And further thanks to Sarah Begor who reminded me just in the knick of time that Easter coffee hour is the vestry’s job – surprise!
In fact there have been a few other surprises for me on the Vestry.
This is my first Warden’s Corner in over ten years and there have been some key changes, especially tech-wise. I just learned how to use a drop box, which is now installed as a cute icon on my tool bar. It allows us to exchange lots of information about church organization and strategic planning.
Also, through the magic of powerpoint, the members of the vestry and several other church leaders are filling out charters that describe their jobs in detail. There are 26 charters, from Altar Guild to Finance. When finished, this will be an invaluable tool when someone steps into a position and asks “What exactly are my responsibilities?” The completed charters will answer that question.
The Vestry has also been busy gathering information for our strategic plan, and once again, technology has been our friend. With the use of the internet and other sources, we are collecting data on demographics, church history, communications, finance, and church trends, to help us figure out who we are now and where we are going.
But technology would be nothing without people and we are so lucky in the people of St. Elisabeth’s who give so generously of their time and talents. In fact, next to technology, the biggest change for me between then and now is the people in charge: back then we had husband and wife co-rectors. Now we have one rector – in France! But we are blessed with a wonderful priest-in-charge who is both great with people and a genuine techno-geek.
By now you probably know that Elizabeth Jameson has been called to be rector of St. Simon’s Arlington Heights. We want to offer her our heartfelt congratulations. Come June, we’ll have a bang-up celebration for her that will probably involve ice cream and frozen bananas. Meanwhile, we are so grateful and happy to avail ourselves of her considerable skills in leading our parish. We have done so much already – and I for one am looking forward to a continued season of surprise.
Tom Flocco & Kay Rossiter
On Sunday, May 18 we have been invited to Christ Church for the Confirmation service with Bishop Lee at 9:30 AM.
Our 8:00 AM service will be as usual in the Chapel at St. Elisabeth’s.
Our regular 10:oo AM service will not be held.
Join us at Christ Church and support our new confirmands.
Christ Church is at 784 Sheridan Road, Winnetka.
Join us for adult forum during the season of Easter, several members of our community will share their story with us.
How would your story begin? What are the key defining moments of your life, what pivot points have made all the difference, whether you knew they would at the time or not? And, I wonder, what is the soundtrack that would accompany it? It is a fun exercise to imagine, but it is also dangerous. Today, stories are often played out on the screen and stage in such an abundance of Technicolor and sound, that our own actual stories can feel pale in comparison. That, in my mind, is a terrible shame. Because knowing, sharing and hearing our own stories and those of others is at the true center of a rich and meaningful life.
The stories we tell ourselves both as individuals and as communities shape our reality in powerful ways. “Tell me again stories about when I was little…tell me again about the way I’d wake up from a nap and play with my feet until someone came, and then tell me another!” I loved to hear, and most children do, stories of our birth and growing up, it forms and informs our identity.
Every so often, it makes sense for an organization to take a step back and assess where it is, as well as where it wants to go. Businesses do it more often; organizations such as ours less so. During the recent Vestry Retreat, we decided it was time for us to revisit the longrange plan for St. Elisabeth’s. The process follows several important steps that will take most of 2013 to complete, including:
A very important component of items 2 and 5 is the communications audit/plan. Jim Newcomb will lead us through this portion, first establishing a baseline of how we communicate today (both intentionally and unintentionally), and then creating a plan for how we will communicate in the future. This future plan will be influenced both by our history and our future aspirations. It will be a coordinated approach to how we keep in touch with each other, and how we broadcast to the outside world. This is the first time we have conducted something like this, and we appreciate Jim’s willingness to lead us through this portion.
There are several reasons to undertake this right now:
The Vestry, Elizabeth and Daphne (upon her return) will conduct most of this work, reaching out to some of you along the way as needed. If you would like to join this leadership group, please let one of the Wardens know.
When this is finished, it may not feel very different at the core than the direction we are currently pursuing – after all, the CAT told us that we are surprisingly likeminded, open to change and not conflict ridden. But it will make certain that our choices are intentional and not by default, and that those choices, rooted in our history, will take us where we want to be in the future. Hold on – it will be quite a ride!
Tom Flocco & Kay Rossiter
We all know the events of Holy Week and Easter in one form or another. Like Christmas, the stories that are written in Scripture get “smushed” together, not unlike other highlights in our lives. (Who was at our wedding? Was it before or after grandma’s stroke? Was dad at the championship game, or did he miss it? Was Aunt Lillian at Christmas in 2000 or 2003?) The stories run together, and make up a memory. The early Jewish followers of Jesus were no different than we are. Some remembered some things, others remembered different things. All remembered that Jesus was crucified, executed. Some thought the Jewish religious establishment was responsible, others thought the Romans responsible.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John view the events of what we call Holy Week and Easter from their own perspective. This year’s readings center on the Gospel according to Luke, an upper class Roman citizen who had become a believer in Jesus, but whose faith was wavering. Luke presents the Good News of Jesus in a way that he believes an upper class Roman citizen could understand and strengthen his “sagging” faith.
So Luke’s telling of the last days of Jesus’ life will present the facts as he sees them. Luke will be sympathetic to the conundrum that Pilate has between justice and preserving the peace. Luke will not be sympathetic to the Jewish ruling class. We must be careful not to assign “blame” to all Jews for this course of events, any more than we can assign any action of our President, or the Congress all citizens of the United States.
Our liturgies this Holy Week and Easter will attempt to focus on the Gospel of Luke and that gospel’s understanding of the Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. Some of the customary rites and rituals will be augmented, beginning with the Sunday of the Passion known as Palm Sunday. Maundy Thursday, and Easter will also focus on Luke’s particular understanding of Jesus and God’s actions in this seminal moment in human history.
We have worked as a team since late September to produce a mission statement that communicates who we are as a church and what God is calling us to do.
We at St. Elisabeth’s share an adventurous spirit and a commitment to radiate God’s love within and beyond our red doors.
We had to remind ourselves many times that a mission statement is something short; a list of values, or core priorities, would come later. We also had to remind ourselves that a mission statement is never perfect and all-encompassing, but rather is meant to be broadly directional to help a group focus and make choices.
During the month of February we listened, coming back together this past weekend to discuss what we’d heard from you.
This wonderful feedback led to a nearly two-hour discussion, mostly around the words “adventurous spirit”. Had we not been serious enough? Was this just a throw-in? Should we consider changing it to “We at St. Elisabeth’s encourage and nurture spiritual growth.”?
After much conversation, we agreed that the values listing (that would be worked on next) would outline more clearly some of the things people felt were missing. In addition, we confirmed that adding “adventurous” was both purposeful and significant. We believe it is what leads to the spiritual growth most seek for several reasons which we want to share
One of the team shared the following: “The adventurous spirit implies creativity, risk taking, acceptance of diversity, going outside our comfort zones, being open and joyful. (We started to hear these sentiments expressed across our congregation in our CAT results 18 months ago.) If we are honest about how it feels to answer God’s call and live out our baptismal vows, it is not an easy, well-trodden path. We need the courage and commitment of that adventurous spirit to sometimes go in a different direction from our cultural norms, to find the compassion the father in the prodigal son parable had, to offer the candlesticks as the priest in Les Misérables did, to attempt to heal the wounds of gun violence as our Diocese is doing. Radiating God’s love and answering the call takes strength, daring, resourcefulness, and commitment that, to me, is that adventurous spirit. I’m facing a challenge in my life right now, and I need the adventurous spirit to find some joy in the generosity, compassion and growth that is required to meet it.”
Our discussion further affirmed that growing spiritually was what we believed adventurous spirit meant; adventurous in prayer, adventurous in ministry. We do this in our ministry (i.e. Family Promise), in our music and in our prayer. It’s important for our mission to reflect both who we are and challenge us to stretch further to be Christ’s heart and hands in the world. If we take risks to care and connect we will be able to radiate love. It is what comes naturally to us at St. Elisabeth’s, so it feels natural to have it as the corner stone of our mission statement. Now for the fun part—bringing this to life with our characteristic St. E’s style.
February 10 – Parish Retreat
An in-house inter-generational retreat day is on Sunday, February 10th from 8:30am through 1:00pm. The day will begin with a light breakfast and coffee, and move into activities that stimulate both community and personal reflection. Following the normal 10:00am Eucharist, we will gather for a pot-luck lunch at 11:30. This will be an excellent opportunity to get to know the St. Elisabeth’s community (and maybe even yourself!) on newer and deeper level. Please contact Chris Roe with any questions and to sign up for pot-luck lunch.