“We are the leaders we have been looking for.” Grace Lee Boggs
It is time to stop saying “Who am I to start member mission in this congregation
– or any substantive change from what is to something better?”
• A study group for “people of faith”
• On mission while vacationing at Disneyworld?
• School aid!
• A first grader talks about God’s work in his home
• Beyond Sunday: On Being a Christian in the World
• Ethical wills
• Low-Power FM Radio
• Parents Television Council
• Parish nurses
• A parable with comments from the sender
A study group for “people of faith”
Lila wanted a support group. She had organized a Neighborhood Watch along. She sent an email asking if “people of faith would be interested in getting together.” Eight responded. They ranged from Episcopalian to Mormon to a Bible Church to lapsed Catholics. They decided to read and discuss books and began with The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman.
They have one ground rule: if you have something from your background that would be of help to another, talk about it; otherwise, no theological arguments. As they were choosing their next book, Lila told them about The Daily Bible, a chronological arrangement of the Bible into 365 daily readings by F. LaGard Smith. She said how good it was to read something in chronological order because it made it so understandable and you would be done in a year. They liked hearing about the book from a peer and from one with enough background to acknowledge the writer had the viewpoint of a literalist without making any further comment.
Lila comments all it takes for such groups to work is those two ground rules of no theological arguments and that, if you have something in your tradition that would help someone, share it! You do not use your faith tradition to confront someone else about theirs. For example, someone introduced laying on hands for a member who was ill and who, up to then, had no knowledge of it. One member was skeptical but the ill woman appreciated it and thanked Lila later.
On mission while vacationing at Disneyworld?
Between worship at 8:00 and 10:00 am, about fifteen members of St. Thomas’, Greenville, RI meet monthly to share experiences in Christian living. It is part of the church’s implementing of member mission. This story was brought to a meeting.
Alice was on a scooter in a line at the Epcot Center at Disneyworld. A grandson was on her lap. An older grandson, her daughter and her daughter’s husband were beside her. They had been in line about an hour and a half. As they were about to enter, a mother approached with her young teen-age daughter asking, “Can my daughter get in front of you?” Alice’s daughter replied, “No, she can’t. We’ve been standing here an hour and a half.”
Alice still felt badly about the incident. She was thinking that to be on mission in your leisure time is one of the hardest because your focus is on having a good time for yourself. She asked the group what they thought. They responded with similar stories of feeling guilty about being angry when they felt others had taken advantage of them. One observed that letting someone in would have put the people behind her further back. While the daughter’s response might have been phrased more gracefully, the group agreed with the position the family had taken.
Then, others brought in their own incidents to share. After the sesson, Alice found that she was feeling better.
[The September 2007 newsletter of St. Martin’s, Brown Deer, WI carried this paragraph.]
We are still collecting back to school items for Dean School. The school so appreciated our help last year. As you know, teachers often end up supplementing supplies that the children can't afford. Basic supplies that are no longer covered by the school budgets include Clorox Wipes, various sizes of Ziploc bags, paper towels, paper napkins, masking tape, and family size Kleenex. Please note that the school does not suggest rolling backpacks, but just the regular shoulder variety. This project will last through September. Therefore we are publishing the school's "wish" list again. Take this list shopping with you!! Let's help the kids!! The collection basket is in the church narthex
[The October 2007 newsletter carried this paragraph from Jean Bates.]
During the second week of September, I delivered a ton of school supplies. St. Martin's filled
a laundry basket, two large bags, and a bushel basket to the Brown Deer grade school. When I arrived at the school, I asked if there was a particular class to whom we could donate the supplies. The office secretary said, "Don't worry. We have so many students who need the basics that these will be gone immediately. Thank you so much.” It is nice to know that the supplies were needed and appreciated. St. Martin's did a great job!
A first grader talks about God’s work in his home
Ian reads to his parents.
Ian, where do you see God at work in your family?
“My sister Erin was in Northern Michigan when a tornado was coming. We prayed for God to keep her safe and she was safe. Also, He watches over me so that I don’t say bad words. And God helps my family to be happy.”
How does God help you in the family, Ian?
“He cheers me up when I am down in the dumps. He tells me jokes. He puts funny and happy things in my head.”
Beyond Sunday: On Being a Christian in the World – a conference sharing parish-tested “how-to’s” in equipping and supporting the saints in their daily lives, November 9 -10, 2007 at the Roslyn Conference Center outside of Richmond, VA. Sponsored by the Diocese of Virginia’s Comminssion on Congregational Development, it will be facilitated by the Rev. Canon Fletcher Lowe and a team of parishioners from St. Paul’s Church, Richmond. Incidentally, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy has set up an endowment fund to recognize Fletcher’s work for justice with legislators, congregations, and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole. For more information, contact: Nancy McLaughlin, 240-450-0198, firstname.lastname@example.org or Carolyn Chilton, 1-800-DIOCESE (ext 29), email@example.com
Ethical wills are a way to share your values, blessings, life's lessons, hopes and dreams for the future, love, and forgiveness with your family, friends, and community. Ethical wills are not considered legal documents as compared to “living wills” and your “last will and testament” which are legal documents. For examples, go to http://www.ethicalwill.com and click on “Examples” on the menu on the left. A colleague writes: “My wife has come across a website on ethical wills. Given that my recently diagnosed pulmonary fibrosis signals the beginning of the end for me, she is urging me to write one. It occurs to me that doing so may be one way for me to live out my mission to my family--and that it might provide an example for your writing and speaking on the family dimension of mission.”
Low-Power FM Radio was the subject of Bill Moyers’ talk with LPFM activist Hannah Sassaman and media journalist Rick Karr about the current battle to protect and bolster low-power FM radio. The few and fewer owners of the media frustrate the debate essential to a democratic society. Further, low-power radio can help to save lives as it did after Hurricane Katrina. For more on the need for diversified ownership and how to work for it with others: go to http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/archives/index.html; scroll down to August 24, 2007; and choose to watch it, to download it, or to get a transcript.
Parents Television Council – www.parentstv.org – seeks to “protect children against sex, violence and profanity in entertainment” by providing a broad range of information and ways for both individual and corporate actions that work. While one may not agree with all of their positions, the group advises and enables readers in their monthly newsletter. It carries the by-line “because children are watching.”
Parish nurses range from volunteer to paid workers with most of them volunteers. Within the purpose of wellness and preventive health care, services range from blood pressure screening to advice on medicines to home visits to columns in newsletters. A store of information is found at http://episcopalhealthministries.org/ including links to inter-church support at “Related Sites” on their menu.
A parable with comments from the sender
Several years ago, a new preacher moved to Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.
As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, "You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it." Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet."
When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change." The driver with a smile replied, "Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I'll see you at church on Sunday."
When the preacher stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, "Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter."
Comment: Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Christians and will put us to the test! Always be on guard and remember (as I try to remember) that you carry the name of Christ on your shoulders when you call yourself "Christian." I'm glad I got this forwarded to me as a reminder. You can copy, paste, and forward it too.
• Watch your thoughts; they become words.
• Watch your words; they become actions.
• Watch your actions; they become habits.
• Watch your habits; they become character.
• Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
(Adapted – source unknown)
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