• Just dialoging can make a difference in the wider world
• Member mission in Eastern Pennsylvania
• “How my life has changed . . .
• Hope sustains a trek from Sudan to Lincoln, NE
• Moving to 503(c)(3) status
RESOURCES – for Ecology
• “The Green Gospel: Will Seminaries equip church leaders for an age of environmental crisis?”
• “Greening Our Faith: Exploring the Wonder of Our World” and Green Tips
• The Episcopal Ecological Network
RESOURCES – for Christmas
• A Jazz Nativity at Christmas – “Bending Towards the Light”
• “The Grinch Has It Right: Why I Hate Christmas”
• Jesus and Politics: Confronting the Powers for Advent - Christmas - Epiphany study
• The prayer of a teacher of nurses with her students
Just dialoging can make a difference in the wider world
Eight to nine members of St. Stephen’s Church, Monte Vista, CO – congregations average 20 – started a Sunday morning group using the worksheets for each daily mission field (Basic Tools 3B). The group is part of their share in the “Growing Coworkers in God’s Mission” project of the four small churches in the San Luis Valley of southwestern Colorado funded by the Roanridge Trust.
During a session on the wider world, the crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters came up. Since the harvesters were often illegal aliens, a host of issues arose. “How can we make a dime’s worth of difference?” one complained. Missi, the leader, said, “Yes, we can! The whole point of talking about things like this is so that when the subject comes up in our daily rounds, we can respond with some of the insights from this session. Just voicing an opinion can make a difference. It ripples to the next person and so goes on to have real effect somewhere down the line!” Everyone’s eyes lit up as they chorused, “Oh, yes!”
The process has been training the participants. When Missi said she would be away for the next – the sixth – session, two spoke up saying, “We can handle it!”
Contact: Michelle (Missi) Stone, 2211 LeRoy St., Alamosa, CO 81101; 719-587-2490; email@example.com
Member mission in Eastern Pennsylvania
Candace Woessner found member mission while surfing on the internet and thought it could be the next step for the group she chairs, The Center for Baptismal Living. With the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, CBL hosted a day long workshop on September 22nd for 122 people from 30 churches. The planning team of Candace, clergy person Ed Shiley, Elizabeth Hall, and Wayne Schwab began their work in June and shared the plan with the members of CBL in mid-August. CBL members prepared individual invitations for a wide variety of groups in the diocese.
The session was led by Elizabeth Hall, a lay person, who is coauthor of the member mission workbook still in draft form and who has been a co-leader for past workshops. The morning session gave practice in discerning one’s own daily missions. The afternoon session worked at church mission statements responsive to member mission; and gave each congregational team or representative help in planning up to three “entry points” in member mission to offer to their church on return home. A CBL member will serve as the mentor for each congregation as they attempt to follow through with their “entry points.” Liz Hall and Wayne Schwab will be on call as needed.
Several participants spoke to an observer along these lines: “We have been thirsting for something like this that would get us out beyond the church building and traditional programs that are not working.”
“How my life has changed . . .
. . . since becoming part of Member Mission! I know now that the Holy Spirit is working through me in all parts of my life. God is speaking through me as I am doing the reading in the church service or chalicing to the people in the congregation or participating in the church's environmental group called ‘Greening Our Faith’ where we are raising awareness as stewards of our fragile planet.
In my home life, I have been struggling with a major conflict with my daughter which is slowing being resolved. She is now looking to me as her spiritual guide and has even attended church, recited the Nicene Creed and taken communion. Those are major steps for her. At our evening meal together, she wanted me to say a "grace." A few evenings later I asked her to give the grace which she did (for the first time) modeling after what I had said previously. I am so grateful that she is seeing and feeling the need for God in her life. God is helping us to strengthen our bond.
As a University Supervisor, I always pray before I go into a school for an observation. The Holy Spirit gives me the words I need to say to encourage my student teachers. Just recently I had to solve a problem where the student teacher was intimidated by her Cooperating Teacher to the point of being in tears every time I saw her. Within a few days, the name of another school and Cooperating Teacher came to mind. The new placement was made and a wonderful connection has happened between the student teacher and her new Cooperating Teacher. God had a hand in this.
As a result of Member Mission, I realize that I am indeed working for love and justice in God's world. When we meet as a group, I feel the love and support from the other members as we listen to each other focus on our missions in our homes, work, wider community, leisure, and church. God is working through all of us in all parts of our lives. I look at my life totally differently now. I feel so fulfilled as I take on these missions. One door closes and another one opens! I feel so blessed as I face each day with another opportunity to work for love and justice wherever that may be.
Thank you, for bringing Member Mission to us through our group’s leader, Donna.”
Contact: Jane Baldwin, 4632 E. CMO Primeria Alta, Tucson, AZ 85718; 520-407-9221; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope sustains a trek from Sudan to Lincoln, NE
Barnabas was one of a thousand boys – the oldest was eleven – whose families were killed and their homes burned in Sudan. “Lost Boys of Sudan,” a documentary, tells their story. First, they walked to Ethiopia. When life was too difficult there, they walked back through Sudan to Kenya living off the land. Once they were so thirsty they ate mud to get moisture. A church group – perhaps Catholic Social Services – sponsored Barnabas and some others to come to Lincoln. Their Anglican background in Africa led them to seek out Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. On September 9, ten of their children were baptized as songs and hymns were sung in Dinka. Forty or so worship in Dinka on Sunday at 1:00 PM with several coming earlier to the English service.
Barnabas says the Dinka people were not Christian before the war. In the devastation, they turned from their tribal religion to Christianity. They were sustained in their trek as Jesus became their hope that God would provide for them. Of baptism, he says, “I want my daughter to have that same hope.”
Contact: The Rev. Sam Boman, 262 Parkside Lane, Lincoln, Ne 68521; (402) 475-8086;
Moving to 503(c)(3) status
Lawyers from DLA Piper, an international firm, are now providing legal services to Member Mission on a pro bono basis. The first step is to form a corporation. Then, we can apply for a “recognition of exemption” which would mean that donations made directly to member mission would be tax deductible. A team of people has been working with me to this end since July. Among our objectives is to offer two-to four-day training sessions for leaders in member mission. We are indebted to the office of William M. Finucane in Elizabethtown, NY who helped us to take the first steps in this direction, also on a pro bono basis.
– The Member Mission Network
RESOURCES – for Ecology
“The Green Gospel: Will Seminaries equip church leaders for an age of environmental crisis?” asks Katharine M. Preston in the September/October issue of Sojourners. She opens with the National Council of Churches of Christ belief (February 2005) that “the degradation of God’s sacred earth is the moral assignment of our time, comparable to the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s, the worldwide movement to achieve equality for women, or ongoing efforts to control weapons of mass destruction in a post-Hiroshima world.” Local churches do little about this crisis because their pastors lack sufficient exposure to faith-based environmentalism to feel competent enough to teach and to lead it. She lists three stumbling blocks in seminaries and suggestions for coping with them. The same issue lists elements of an “ECO-Theology.” Go to www.sojo.net; chose Archives on the Search menu; then the September / October 2007 issue; and print out Preston’s article, her “Suggestions for Green Seminaries,” and David Rhoads’ “ECO-Theology.”
“Greening Our Faith: Exploring the Wonder of Our World,” a seven-session series, opens monthly Sunday Forums for 2007-8 at huge St. Philip’s in the Hills, Tucson, AZ. Professors from the local University of Arizona planetary and climatology departments will lecture at two of them. The Sunday bulletin includes a weekly Green Tip such as recycling your old computer which contains lead, gold, copper, mercury, and other hazardous chemicals; where to take it; what they will do with it; and a possible tax write-off. A sample follows.
Greening Our Faith, a new Adult Formation forum series that explores the wonder of our world, debuts on Sunday, September 30. The series addresses our roles as citizens and people of faith as we wrestle with potential global climate change.
Green Tip #1
Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for your most-used lights. Each bulb saves about 100 pounds a year of carbon dioxide emissions. Over the lifetime of the bulb, you will save $35-$50 in electricity used.
Cost: $3 and up
Where to buy: Most drugstores, supermarkets, Home Depot, Ace Hardware.
TODAY, check out our display of CFLs at the Adult Formation table in the Murphey Gallery. You may be surprised at the array of sizes and shapes now available.
These tips were paraphrased from The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook by David de Rothschild. Twenty-eight of them can be sent to you on request to email@example.com. Add your local suppliers. The co-leaders of the “green team” of eleven which promotes these activities got their start and get their continuing basic support from their ongoing member mission group.
The Episcopal Ecological Network connects you with regional groups; sends occasional notes of resources such as bulletin inserts; and offers a quarterly newsletter. The current newsletter answers the question “What is working best in the area of environmental stewardship in your congregation or diocese or province.” The responses are arranged by province and then by diocese in the provinces of the Episcopal Church. Go to www.eenonline.org or look for – maybe even start – such a network in your own denomination.
RESOURCES – for Christmas
A Jazz Nativity at Christmas – “Bending Towards the Light,” is a jazz telling of the Christmas story through musicians and performers who were free in New York City for its first performance at St. Bartholemew’s Church on Park Avenue. Written and conducted by Anne Phillips and performed annually for eighteen years, the score is now available for your town at http://www.jazznativity.com/jncmspages/haveitinyourtown.asp.
The show brings together two worlds, the world of theater and the world of jazz. It brings together people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs. In Topeka, it was a country singer who played the role of Mary, two gospel singers sang the roles of the Guardian Angels and had a wonderful time learning the scat chorus. The choir there was a children’s choir with some adults added to fill out the lower parts. In Chicago it was the Milton Ruffin Gospel Choir.
Charles Kuralt hosted the first performance saying: "The light is meant to serve, as light serves for other philosophies and religions, as a symbol of truth and love…and hope. Hope that even in a dark season we may begin to see the world bending towards the light.” For a CD at $15.00, go to Store on the home page of www.jazznativity.com and scroll down to the title.
The BBC broadcast of excerpts with comments from the performers on what it meant to them could make for an interesting Advent or Christmastide group session. For a CD at $5.00, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Grinch Has It Right: Why I Hate Christmas” by James S. Henry, an economist and journalist. As part of the down-side of Christmas, Henry cites forced giving, congestion, ecological costs, absenteeism, sadness, excessive drinking and eating, and increased inequality. For this article from The New Republic of 12/22/06, go to http://www.tnr.com/docprint.mhtml?i=19901231&s=henry122206. Use it as a handout or discussion starter on how to celebrate Christmas.
Jesus and Politics: Confronting the Powers, Baker Academic, 2005, is written by Alan Storkey, Ph. D., a Christian political theorist. Storkey details the strong pressure groups swirling around Jesus and how Jesus confronts each one of them. The controversies are about far more than ritual observances. They are about whose power will control life – both private and public. For example, his rich insights bring the birth narratives come to life as mirrors of the socio-political realities of the time. This book can influence how you read the Gospels from now on. Use it for Advent - Christmas - Epiphany study.
“My other phone is prayer” – For your cell phone's case to have this message on it, go to www.siana.us and click on that phrase on the home page. For the style and size you want, see the menu on the left and click pages 7, 10, and 13. Contact information and order blanks are also on this menu. The price is $11.95 and the church-member makers will sell them to your church in quantity as fund-raisers for your church’s Christmas giving project starting at something like $4.00 each. An idea for Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers, etc.
[This prayer was offered daily with student nurses by their teacher. One of her students, now retired, has never forgotten it.]
Direct, we beseech you, O Lord, all our actions. Carry them on with your gracious assistance. That every prayer and work of ours may begin always from you and through you be happily ended.
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