January 30, 2005

Via Media: Lenten/Eastertide Program

The Lenten and Eastertide program of Christian Formation this year will be Via Media, a new way to spread the message of the Good News in an Episcopal setting.
via media is a powerful resource for building Christian community, bringing people into the Church who previously have felt alienated or unwelcome. Our Church stands on the threshold of a marvelous evangelism opportunity, and the actions of General Convention 2003d the door. via media is the resource we need tothe door even wider and keep itfor all who seek the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The sessions will consist of a meal shared between Holy Innocents and St Columba's, followed by a video to watch and discuss in groups with a closing prayer.

Volunteers are needed for hosting suppers and providing childcare. Please see Pat Hoesel at St Columba's or Colleen Muehl at Holy Innocents.

Via Media Schedule
6:30 p.m. Tuesday evenings
Date/Topic Location Meal Host
Feb. 15
via media
St Columba's
1800 Irving Park
Holy Innocents
Feb. 22
God and Creation
Holy Innocents
425 Illinois Blvd
St Columba's
Mar. 01
God in Jesus
St Columba's Holy Innocents
Mar. 08
God the Holy Spirit
Holy Innocents St Columba's
Mar. 15
The Bible
St Columba's Holy Innocents
Holy Week No Meeting (off)
Easter Week No Meeting (off)
Apr. 05
Holy Innocents St Columba's
Apr. 12
Thy Kingdom Come
St Columba's Holy Innocents
Apr. 16 - Retreat
So, What?
To Be Announced Holy Innocents &
St Columba's

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In Thanksgiving, In Praise, In Supplication.

The prayers today were Form I in the Book of Common Prayer. In addition to praying for our companion dioceses of Renk in the Sudan and of Southeaster Mexico, we pray for other parishes in the Diocese of Chicago and especially our own parishes of Holy Innocents and St Columba of Iona.

Prayers of the People may be added any time on entering the church; the binder is on the right hand side as you enter the sanctuary.

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January 29, 2005

Reminder: Bring A Covered Dish

Many of us received calls yesterday reminding us to bring a covered dish to share at lunch after the Annual Meeting tomorrow. We were encouraged to actually put something in the dish to eat.

Well, darn.

I have to think of something to bring that would be quick to put together, easy, and wouldn't take a lot of time heating up in an oven.

Another Episcopal parish, somewhere in California, has a rock band that plays at their Annual Meeting. I think this year we'll stick to covered dishes and see how it goes.

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January 23, 2005

Annual Meeting January 30

Mark your calendars! The annual meeting of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church will take place after Eucharist on Sunday, January 30. The service begins at the regular time of 10:30 a.m.

Refreshments will be available, and please bring a dish to share for luncheon afterwards.

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Lay Ministries Jan 30 - Feb 27

The schedule has been updated through the end of February. Click "Continue reading" to see the complete schedule for the month.

It is also visible on the calendar; to see the name of the server, lay reader, or chalice bearer for that date there, scroll your mouse over the listings.

Lay Ministries Schedule
Date Server &
Lay Reader &
Chalice Bearer
January 30 Ron Muehl
Michael Toren
Michael Milner
Colleen Muehl Ron Muehl
February 6 Mark Britt
Matt Portillo
Daniel Bainer
Mark Britt Mark Britt
February 13 Edwin Bainer
Daniel Bainer
Ashley Portillo
Cherry Stoddard Cherry Stoddard
February 20 Earl Williams
Matt Portillo
Michael Milner
Scott Eiler Earl Williams
February 27 Jason Srivisas
Michael Toren
Ashley Portillo
Katie Black Jason Srivisas

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January 22, 2005

Seabury-Western and Blogging

Much of this entry won't make much sense if you are new to "blogging," but there is plenty of interest to even non-technical Episcopalians.

A blogging and social software conference called is taking place at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary today (yes, some did make it in spite of the snow). AKMA, an Episcopal priest, the Seabury Professor of New Testament, and blogger, has more about this event on his personal weblog.

Of course, everyone is sitting around talking about blogging and social software, which is designed to bring people together in new ways. But some serious work is being done in the world of weblogs and social networking, and there are some who throw around words like "emerging democracy" in connection with blogging and self-publishing in countries like China or Iran.

Bringing people together in new ways can't be a bad thing, not for people who blog or people who attend church.

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January 21, 2005

Laying The Groundwork

This looks interesting:

Guide for Lenten Study and Action
Year A
The goal of Groundwork is to encourage personal and congregational transformation, to ask congregational members and leaders to dig deeply into the soil of their mission and context to do serious and joyful learning about evangelism, invitation, and welcome.

This Lenten guide includes:
• Lesson plans for a 5-week Sunday Morning Adult Form in Lent
• Lesson plans for 5 Mid-week Adult Programs in Lent
• Adaptations for use during the Easter Season
• Use of Groundworks in retreat settings
• Vestry Planning for Evangelism

I allso ran across a few interesting-looking books for seekers or beginners, or even old hands who always wondered about why things happen in a certain order, but never felt emboldened to ask.

Welcome to Sunday: An Introduction to Worship in the Episcopal Church

by Christopher L. Webber

Welcome to the Church Year: An Introduction to the Seasons of the Episcopal Church

by Vicki K. Black

And of course, the beginners handbook:

Welcome to the Episcopal Church: An Introduction to Its History, Faith, and Worship

by Christopher L. Webber, Frank T., III Griswold

What I'd like to know is if it includes tips on gracefully juggling prayer book and hymnal, and figuring out that the Service music is in the front of the blue hymnal, but appears not at all in the front of the red hymn book. This one fact is probably the most deeply confusing thing for a person attending an Episcopal church for the first time.

Not that we're not already deeply confused anyway, but we mean well, and we manage to clear most of the confusion up during coffee hour.

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January 19, 2005

Readings For This Sunday

Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Year A

Readings from the Episcopal Lectionary

Amos 3:1-8
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Matthew 4:12-23
Psalm 139:1-17 or 139:1-11

As we've recently begun doing, the Psalm will be chanted by the choir, and the congregation will join in on a simple antiphon. The music for the chanted part is a little harder than it looks at first glance - deceptively simple, even. I think it's taken from the Hymn Tune Psalter.

Psalm 139:1-17 or139:1-11 Page 794, BCP Domine, probasti

LORD, you have searched me out and known me; *
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before *
and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; *
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go then from your Spirit? *
where can I flee from your presence?

If I climb up to heaven, you are there; *
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

If I take the wings of the morning *
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there your hand will lead me *
and your right hand hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me, *
and the light around me turn to night,"

Darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day; *
darkness and light to you are both alike.

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January 17, 2005

Photo Gallery

There are several photo galleries online with pictures of the people and churches of Holy Innocents and St. Columba here. It starts out with two sub-albums; one from Palm Sunday 2003 (that's Marion in the scarlet cope) and one with photos from the last Family Mass. There are other photos stashed elsewhere that will be uploaded into new sub-albums.

Some images need some work, but you'll see some of them used here eventually.

Posted by ginny at 11:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
in Christian Education

January 16, 2005

Family Mass Date Change

Child extinguishing altar candle
The next Family Mass will be on the second Sunday next month, February 13th at 9:15 a.m at St Columba. Gather at 9 a.m. so that children may be assigned tasks to assist in the service.

This is a more informal service suitable for young children or the young at heart. Questions are welcome; after the Eucharist there is a suitable time to ask Father Ted or one of the adults why things are done in a certain way.

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The De-Greening Of The Church

There must be a place in the Kalendar for the Feast of De-Greening, because its opposite number seems to be a minor feast on the hectic last Sunday before Advent. On that day, as many people as possible are drafted at coffee hour to bring up the Christmas trees and Nativity figures from the storage room and to arrange garlands of greenery around the sanctuary. It took at least an hour, and some discussions of how it's been done in previous years must have taken place.

Today Ryan, one of the college-age members, volunteered two of the youngest boys to assist in an unsung but important task: taking all the decorations downstairs and putting them away. It didn't take very long at all. Why is deconstruction always so much faster than construction?

Father Ted's sermon told the story of his personal journey in faith to the Episcopal church, and how he was welcomed and accepted there as a young man. At the Eucharist he tells us each week, "and know that all are welcome at this God's table," so this is of special importance to him and to us.

Copies of the Kalendar are available on the information table just inside the entrance to the church, but don't look for the Minor Feast of the De-Greening to appear in it this year or any year soon.

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January 12, 2005

Blessed Martin, pastor, prophet


Holy God You Raise Up Prophets

Music by Carl Haywood
Words by Harold T. Lewis
This hymn available on a CD from The Office of Black Ministries

1. Holy God, you raise up prophets,
Praise and honor do we sing.
For your faithful, humble servant,
Doctor Martin Luther King.

Refrain: Blessed Martin, pastor, prophet,
You the mountaintop did see;
Blessed Martin, holy martyr:
Pray that we may all be free.

2. Moral conscience of his nation,
Reconciling black and white,
Dreamed he of a just society,
We must carry on his fight.

3. Teacher of Christ-like non-violence
To the outcast, poor and meek;
Greater weapon ‘gainst oppression
Is to turn the other cheek.

4. Preacher of Christ’s love for neighbor,
He won Nobel’s prize for peace;
Peoples, beat your swords to plough shares,
Wars ‘twixt nations all shall cease.

5. Champion of oppressed humanity
Suff’ring throughout all the world;
He offered pride and dignity
Let Christ’s banner be unfurled!

6. So, when felled by sniper’s bullet,
Under heavens overcast,
He could cry, “Thank God Almighty,
I am free, I’m free at last.”

The choir will sing this hymn Sunday to commemorate the martyrdom of Dr. King. The photo was taken by the webmistress on a trip to England in 2003; it depicts 10 modern martyrs who died for faith and freedom. Dr. King is depicted to the left of center, wearing the gown of a Baptist preacher. A larger version is on this gallery page.

Choir practice time and day will be changing at the end of the month, so check the calendar for an update.

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January 07, 2005

Family Mass


This morning's Family Mass was in honor of the baptism of Jesus. The children of Holy Innocents and St. Columba's performed many of the tasks that are done in a worship service, including a Bible reading and bringing the gifts of the people to the altar.

During the Eucharist, all were gathered around the altar as Fr. Ted prepared the communion elements. Afterwards, there was time for some questions, such as "Why are you doing that?" while Fr. Ted cleaned the chalice and bowl he had used to serve the wine and bread. There were a lot of other questions about how and why certain things are done during communion. Family Mass is a good place for getting some kinds of questions answered.

The sermon this morning was a simplified version of the one given at the two "regular" services at St Columba and Holy Innocents.

Back in 1976, America's bicentennial year, a very creative writer came up with an intriguing idea. "Our nation is 200 years old," he thought. "I'll bet I can find someone who is alive today who is old enough that when they were a child, they remember someone who was then old enough to have been alive at the founding of the nation, a living link to the beginning of the country." And, sure enough, he found such a person. He was a Kentucky farmer named Burnham Ledford, who was over 100 years old in 1976; and he remembered when he was a little boy being taken by a wagon to see his great-great grandmother who was then over 100 herself and who was a little girl when George Washington was inaugurated as the first American president.

When the writer asked Burnham what he remembered, he said he remembered being taken into his great-great grandmother's house. She was feeble. She was blind. She was sitting in an old chair in the corner of a dark bedroom. "We brought Burnham to see you," his father said. The old woman turned toward the sound and reached out with long, bony fingers and said in an ancient, cracking voice, "Bring him here."

"They had to push me toward her," Burnham remembered. "I was afraid of her. But when I got close to her, she reached out her hands and began to stroke my face. She felt my eyes and my nose, my mouth and my chin. And all at once, she seemed to be satisfied, and she pulled me close to her and held me tight. 'This boy's a Ledford,' she said, 'I can feel it. I know this boy. He's one of us.'"

As young Burnham was recognized by his blind great-great-grandmother, Jesus was recognised by God at the moment of His baptism, and we are all recognised as Christ's own forever.

St Columba of Iona

St Columba is our sister parish; we are "yoked" together. Their service is usually earlier than Holy Innocents' in winter (in summertime we often switch service times). Normally their service is at 8:20 a.m., and the family service begins after it concludes, around 9:15 a.m. Children should arrive by 9:00 a.m. so they can be assigned a duty, such as carrying a candle or leading the procession.

Family Mass is held on the first Sunday of the month, but this month it was on the second Sunday due to the Epiphany feast last week. Next month's service will be Sunday, February 6th.

  • St Columba of Iona

  • 1800 W. Irving Park Road

  • Hanover Park, IL

  • 8:20 a.m. Holy Eucharist

  • 9:15 a.m. Family Mass (First Sundays of the month)

Holy Innocents

There was a procession to the baptismal font today in honor of the Baptism of Our Lord, and we were all well sprinkled with holy water after we renewed our baptismal vows. This is supposed to be a solemn moment, but it is a joyful one too; quite a few priests seem to feel it's their duty to douse people as thoroughly as possible. Also there's often a sporting element, such as going for distance or accuracy.

Not sure how Fr. Ted did it, but he managed to hit me in the eye - and I was wearing glasses this morning. "Full marks," some might say.

January 02, 2005

Greeters And Ushers January-April

  • Jan. 02      Wally and Ellie Jacobs
  • Jan. 09      Robert and Elinor Bartlett
  • Jan. 16      Ron and Colleen Muehl
  • Jan. 23      Earl and Lawayne Williams
  • Jan. 30      Wally and Ellie Jacobs
  • Feb. 06      Robert and Elinor Bartlett
  • Feb. 13      Ron and Colleen Muehl
  • Feb. 20      Earl and Lawayne Williams
  • Feb. 27      Wally and Ellie Jacobs
  • Mar. 06      Robert and Elinor Bartlett
  • Mar. 13      Ron and Colleen Muehl
  • Mar. 20      Earl and Lawayne Williams
  • Mar. 27      Wally and Ellie Jacobs
If you are unable to be at church for your Sunday, please call someone to substitute for you. Also, it would be appreciated if the ushers could take an attendance count on their Sunday, for entry in the church register. Please give the numbers to the MC on duty that Sunday. Thank you.
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We Three Kings

Today there was a special story time with the Holy Innocents kids, some of whom had participated in a procession to the Nativity scene bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Father Ted read from a Nativity story book and showed pictures, and each child was given a figure to represent Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus, a shepherd, an animal, or one of the Three Wise Men. As the story progressed, the children were invited to add their figures to the group at the foot of the altar, until a traditional creche scene had been set up.
Michael Milner models the "Wise Man" robes his grandmother Linda Milner made for him. Michael carried a beautiful treasure chest full of gold for the infant Jesus. The other children carried crystals representing frankincense and a fragrant oil representing myrrh. At the last moment the myrrh was put in a cruet from the sacristy to replace the plain green bottle they were originally going to use.

The Wise Men (and Woman) found their robes and crowns comfortable and stylish enough that they wore them throughout the entire service. They performed their roles well, and after the service children and adults were rewarded with special Epiphany cakes during coffee and fellowship time in the Undercroft. There were 2 cakes - one in the Hispanic tradition, and one in the Greek tradition. Symbolic trinkets were placed in the cake before baking and several were quite surprised to find them when they cut their slices!

Christmas Eve was wonderful, with plenty of music and color, and lots of food to eat afterwards. It started with a half-hour of carol singing, and continued with all the panoply and simple grace that Holy Innocents traditionally does to celebrate Christmas.

The regular service began with a procession to the corner of the church where a Nativity scene had been set up. The Baby Jesus was carried and placed in his simple manger by Noah, one of the Holy Innocents church school children, and then we continued with even more hymns, readings, and carols.

The choir decided at the last possible second to change the party-piece to "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming" because the original piece was judged to be "not quite there yet."

As in former years, near the end of the service, hand-candles which had been passed out to all the congregants were lit from person to person. The Light of the World was recalled as "Silent Night" was sung by candlelight. It was Father Ted's first Christmas at Holy Innocents, and it was certainly a warm and memorable one.

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