June 30, 2005

Readings for July 3

Zechariah 9: 9-12
Romans 7:21-8:6
Matthew 11:25-30
Psalm 145: 8-14

Collect O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel for this Sunday is well-known and of great comfort:

Matthew 11:25-30

At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

This is not to say that we should kick back in a hammock with a refreshing beverage and leave our chores undone, the lawn unmowed, and our responsibilities and worries forgotten. It's that we need not feel that we are alone in carrying these chores, worries and responsibilities, but that the load is shared with Someone who cares for us. This lightening of the load makes it possible for us to do more than we could have imagined.

In our shared ministry together, Holy Innocents and St Columba must literally pull together to get things done for upcoming events at both parishes. We must always remember that the yoke is easy and the burden is light; we're not carrying that burden alone.

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in Readings

Come And Grow

(Episcopal News Service) Young adults facing everyday challenges are the focus of new television spots inviting viewers to visit the Episcopal Church.

Designed for a target audience of Generation-X viewers unaffiliated with any church, three new 30-second ads are scheduled to air on national television in English and Spanish in late August, early September, and next May. Air time is also planned for overseas dioceses. -- Gen-X TV spots, NPR options widen national advertising

The campaign is called Come and Grow, and once we're done with the exciting Car Show festivities, we'll be turning to the Groundwork materials that we received after participating in a diocesan Vestry School event for some ideas on how to get ready for the Come and Grow program.

With that in mind, check out the "Come and Grow" T-shirts at the Holy Innocents Online Store: CafePress.com. If there's sufficient demand for these shirts, we can have them made at a greatly reduced rate, suitable for wearing when volunteering, or at church outings, or just out and about.

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Oh no! Not another learning opportunity!

A two-day conference on Christian Formation will be held in August in Mundelein. This was also published in the latest Anglican Advance. If anyone is interested, the information is below:

Event Date: Aug 26, 2005 9:00 AM - Aug 27, 2005 5:00 PM Location: University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Contact: Anne Cothran at

The Christian Formation Network of Province V and the Christian Formation Commission of the Diocese of Chicago are sponsoring a two-day conference for those who work in formation ministry with children, youth and adults.
Learning Experiences will be interactive and include workshops, hands-on use of resources, experiencing a portion of a specific curriculum or program, brainstorming sessions for exploring questions and exchanging ideas and experiences. There will be over 50 learning experiences on topics related to adult learning, youth and young adults, children, lifelong Christian Formation, congregations, mission, peace and justice, technology, and stewardship. Participants will leave with a notebook of handouts from each of the 50 learning experiences.
Registration fee includes lodging, meals, materials: Single $150 per person, Double $125 per person. Commuter fee includes meals and materials: $40 per person per day. Scholarships available. -- Chicago Diocese -- Whose Church is it anyway? Formation learning opportunity

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in Christian Education

What Is Make Poverty History

Make Poverty History is a global, ecumenical campaign to eradicate poverty. Many other Episcopal and Anglican churches are working and praying for an end to poverty, along with many other people of faith. Ministers of 8 countries will meet July 2 in Gleneagles, Scotland to discuss matters of global importance; they are in a position to commit to a plan to reduce or forgive the debt load on poor countries, and to access to health care and disease prevention.

Every single day, 30,000 children are dying as a result of extreme poverty. This year, 2005, we finally have the resources, knowledge and opportunity to end this shameful situation. -- MakePovertyHistory.org

The Church of England is one of many faiths standing together to make poverty, and for the eradication of disease and debt that are among the root causes of poverty. The Archbishop of Canterbury recently hosted a meeting of UK and US church leaders, and the following statement was issued at the conclusion of the meeting June 29th:

The London Forum, meeting at Lambeth Palace and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, issued a final communiqué saying that the time for change is now:

There is no place for apathy in a world which sees 30,000 children die each day because of poverty related conditions. The bible teaches that whatever we do to the poorest we do also for Jesus. We believe God judges nations by what they do to the poorest.

The Forum was attended by delegations from UK Churches organised by Dr David Goodbourn of Churches Together and Britain and Ireland; US churches organised by The Revd Jim Wallis, leader of the peace and justice network Sojourners, representatives of African led churches and representatives from faith based mission and development agencies.

A similar statement was issued at the end of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting.

Make Poverty History (UK) is aligned with The ONE Campaign (US). Many different groups of people are working together to increase awareness of the tragedy and scandal of world poverty. People on both sides of the political fence in Britain and America are literally banding together for this cause. In token of their support for the world's poor, white band bracelets and banners are worn and shown. Videos and films have been shown on television and as ads at movie theaters to raise awareness. And of course, a series of free concerts called Live 8 will bring the attention of the world on the cause of persuading our leaders to make poverty history.

Ministers of 8 countries will meet July 2 in Gleneagles, Scotland to discuss matters of global importance; they are in a position to commit to a plan to reduce or forgive the debt load on poor countries. We are in a position to tell them that something must be done.

If you do nothing else, watch this video. It's a short excerpt of a documentary called "The Orphans of Nkandla."

Then find a white band and wear it, and see what else you can do.

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in Reaching Out

June 26, 2005

Radical Hospitality and Contagious Holiness

Sarah Dylan Breuer maintains a wonderful lectionary commentary site and weblog. She also has an article up at The Witness, a progressive Anglican publication - it's a meditation on the readings for today:

That, Jesus showed us, is God's perfection and true holiness, the perfection and the holiness to which we're called. Far from being fragile, that radical hospitality and indiscriminate love is the most fundamental, powerful, and lasting force in the universe God made. When that comes into contact with anything else, anything less, it's that holy love, and not impurity according to anyone's scheme, that proves contagious. Lest we think that only Jesus could show that kind of powerful, contagious love, this Sunday's gospel teaches us that all who welcome prophets and righteous people share their reward, any cup of water given to a little one brings the reward of the pure in heart, and those who welcome any of Jesus' flawed followers will be received as herald of God's Messiah.

St. Paul got that; for as much as some want to read his letter to the churches in Rome to find out who to shun, it teaches instead that those who belong to righteousness live under grace, not seeking to impose the law (Romans 6:14), and they receive even enemies with cool water to refresh them (Romans 12:20), as Jesus taught his followers to receive his "little ones" (Matthew 10:42). -- The Witness | Sarah Dylan Breuer

We are called to offer radical hospitality, even to those we'd be inclined to shun. We'd have to come out of our comfort zone to do this (Warning: comfort zones may vary. Please check your individual owner's manual, and welcome accordingly).

Fr. Ted's sermon today expanded on the theme of giving welcome also. The starting point was from an column in Sojourners magazine (Sojourners is a Christian social justice organization).

June 30: "When You Need Something, Just Talk to Me" Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me" (Matthew 10:40).

Clarice South welcomed everyone, and God has welcomed her.

She died last October in Santa Clara, California, at the age of 90. I had known Clarice South since the 1950s, when her daughter Claire and I went together. In my boarding school years, Mrs. South and her familyd their home to me. The warmth of their lives in my young life was a sustaining, enduring presence.

Decades later when I periodically returned to Santa Clara, it was always a gift to wait expectantly at the door of 936 Fremont Street for what I knew would be Mrs. South's warm welcome. I was never disappointed. She knew how to love.

Claire gave the eulogy at her mother's Mass of the Resurrection last fall. She sketched simply, beautifully the portrait of a woman who to the end of her life loved and served others down to the smallest detail in their lives. God then gave her a wisdom of faithful love that she shared with the group of family and friends gathered around her hospital bedside.

Claire recalled: "Mom exhorted us, 'Keep your faith. Stay close to each other.' And then she said, 'From now on, when you need something, just talk to me.'"

Like Mrs. South's always welcoming smile at the door, I shall remember especially, through her daughter's eulogy, those final words echoing Jesus.

Keep your faith.

Stay close to each other.

From now on, when you need something, just talk to me. -- Sojourners magazine, May/June 1996 | Clarice South

The entire column is quite short, but doors in our minds to pictures of people who welcomed us and taught us how to welcome. Who do you see?

I see Helen Johnson, a lady from Trinity Episcopal Church, Seattle. She welcomed all and sundry to Trinity, and after the service she would gently lay her hand on the arm of the visitor and ask for assistance down the church steps and over to the parish hall. There she would introduce the visitor by name to several people, and ask if they would help set out cups of coffee and tea. Once you did that, you were hooked but good. It was my first visit to Trinity, but wouldn't be my last.

I had been raised in the Congregational church in Salt Lake City, but I had a curiousity about the Episcopal church, and Anglicanism in general, stemming from a visit to England the summer before. Helen Johnson had a wonderful collection of hats, was somewhat hard of hearing, and felt it was her personal mission to welcome everyone. It was the quality of Helen's welcome that solidified my intention to become a part of Trinity parish and be received into the Episcopal church. I didn't know it at the time, of course; I was completely beguiled by her hat, and trying desperately to remember names as I handed out cups of coffee. Clever old girl, that Helen. She's gone now... it was a sad day when I ran across her obituary online, several years after I'd moved from Seattle to Illinois. But the writer of the obituary captured the essence of Helen, who was remembered as "the hostess with the mostest" and as "De Colores Helen" for her "rainbow-like faith embracing all people." I guess I'm lucky to be counted as someone Helen Johnson welcomed to the Episcopal Church. She would have pooh-poohed the phrase "radical welcome," but she practiced it just the same.

And if I'm ever stumped for an idea of how to welcome someone, I'll just ask Helen.

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in Reaching Out

June 23, 2005

A Shy Person's Guide To The Practice Of Evangelism

Drawing inspiration from their 2004 annual convention theme, the Diocese of Massachusetts convention steering committee produced and distributed a pocket-sized resource called "A Shy Person's Guide to the Practice of Evangelism." "The focus on evangelism comes from our mission vision and mission strategy [which] in shorthand is ‘Inviting, Forming, Sending, Serving,’" said Helen P. Netos, chief operating officer and director of Christian formation for the diocese. "We have 12 strategic goals that are primarily outwardly-focused initiatives which call for both congregational participation and coordinated diocesan-level action. We believe that congregations which participate in these initiatives will in fact grow as they join God's mission, and we are supporting and encouraging that growth through a variety of means, like the guide, the welcome packet, special events and training [because] we wish to increase our average Sunday attendance by 50 percent by 2013."


The book, in an amusing way, examines the meaning of the word “evangelism,” gives examples of how it is present in everyday life, and presents ideas on how to practice it.

"The entire subcommittee offered suggestions and edits to help create something small and unobtrusive—as befits shy people," said Netos. "The response has been positive and people were chuckling and laughing out loud on the floor of the convention as they perused the booklet."

Since then, the guide, which has been printed several thousand times, has been given to congregations, with at least one sending it to everyone in the congregation who pledged.

To obtain a copy of the guide, email hnetos - Episcopal News Service

This might be something we should investigate. Perhaps it can be adapted to Midwestern sensibilities? For example, it's hard to invite your neighbor into a closer relationship with God, but it's easy to invite them into a closer relationship with your dog.

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Classic Car Show News

The "Holy Rollers" are coming!

The classic car show is coming right up: July 10th from 9am to 3pm. Registrations mailed by July 3 are $10, after that and on the day of the car show it will be $15 to register an entry.

This is the major fundraiser for Holy Innocents. If you can't be at the car show, there are still plenty of ways you can contribute your time and talents! We need:

  • Donations of fun little gifts for 50 "goodie" bags for entrants
  • Donations of items that can be given as "(out)door" prizes
  • Donations of food / beverage / condiments for the lunches
  • Donations of wrapped baked goods (cookies, brownies etc. 1-2 servings each
  • Volunteers are needed for setup.
  • Volunteers are needed for the day of the show.

For major donations, a letter that indicates the tax deductability of the gift is available from the webmistress (can be faxed).

For the smaller items for goodie bags and door prizes, some sort of car or automotive gift is appropriate: key chains, car deodorizers, pens, coupons for free oil changes, etc. For the door prizes, it can be anything you can donate, or make (Scott Eiler made a couple of handsome walking sticks, for example).

If you need more information about what to buy, what to ask for in donations of prize and gift items, or what more you can do, please email or call Colleen.

There is a map to the location of the church via Google but be aware that the little pointer is actually off by about a block.

Remember, if you mail something to the church (if you're going to be out of town) that the mailing address is a PO box in Schaumburg!

PO Box 68009, Schaumburg IL

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June 22, 2005

To Set Our Hope On Christ

News from the greater Anglican church:

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold joined six presenters at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Nottingham June 21, explaining that while the Episcopal Church includes diverse views on sexuality, common mission continues.

"Although certain actions by the Episcopal Church have deeply distressed a number of you, we have not come to argue," Griswold said. "I want to be clear that the Episcopal Church has not reached a common mind. However, it is our desire to be faithful to scripture. It is my hope that in the tradition of classical Anglicanism we will be united in Christ's love and called to serve the world in Christ's name."

The presentation came at the invitation of the ACC and in response specifically to the Windsor Report's request (paragraph 135) to outline "how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ."

A booklet titled "To Set Our Hope on Christ" was distributed as part of the presentation. [Link to the text: http://www.anglicanlistening.org ]. "We believe that God has beenng our eyes to acts of God that we had not known how to see before," the text states.

The booklet can be read online but it's a very long PDF file. However, the language in theng introduction and the first few pages is inspiring,hearted, and even beautiful.

The Anglican Listening website states:

Part of the distinctive tradition of Anglican listening and learning is identified by the 16th century English theologian Richard Hooker, who described Anglicanism as rooted in scripture, reason and tradition.

This triad of interrelationships is central to current conversations across the Episcopal Church as it seeks to respond faithfully to the request of Anglican leaders, via the 2004 Windsor Report, to learn more about sister and brother Anglicans internationally by participating in a careful process of intent listening.

These processes of listening and learning are recorded here, beginning with the 2005 observance of the Feast of Pentecost, which celebrates the gift of God's Spirit to the world, imparted through a multiplicity of voices.

It looks like there's a great deal of food for thought there - and much listening yet to be done.

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Reactive Sneezing

The following was passed around in email between a couple of parishioners, Katie Black and Betty Jo Bartlett. They thought others in the parish might enjoy it:

REACTIVE SNEEZING (a must read!)

They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-three students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.

Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.

This class would not pray during the commencements ----- not by choice but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it. The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling.

They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

The speeches were nice, but they were
routine.. until the final speech received a standing ovation.

A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.

All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!!

The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, "GOD BLESS YOU, each and every one of you!" And he walked off stage...

The audience exploded into applause. The graduating class had found a way to invoke God's blessing on their future with or without the court's approval!

Isn't this a wonderful story? Pass it on to all your friends.........



It's a cute story and a good one to pass along, as long as you know your audience. It mentions a serious issue, that of separation of church and state, but the tension is defused with humor. A good sense of humor can help us get through difficult situations; we should try to remember this always.

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June 21, 2005

Readings for this Sunday

The readings for Sunday, June 26:

Isaiah 2:10-17
Romans 6:3-11
Matthew 10:34-42
Psalm 89:1-18, 89:1-4,15-18

The Collect for this Sunday:

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Quite often the collects are worth pondering, although during a service they go by so quickly there's no time to really think about their meaning and relevance for us. But as is so often the case, this one speaks directly to us and our situation, as unity of spirit is something we at Holy Innocents and St Columba will need to have in order to move forward. We'll certainly need it as we gear up for this summer's fundraisers (the Car Show and the Flea Market)!

The Gospel is another uncomfortable one:

Matthew 10:34-42 Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's foes will be members of one's own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."

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June 20, 2005

Welcome, Seekers

Welcome to the Episcopal Church. You're not alone. We're here for you.

These may seem like platitudes, but the process of finding a place to worship can be nerve-wracking. First, it's difficult even to come to the realization that you want a more spiritual life, especially if no one else you know is interested or involved in a church. Then you have to listen to where your heart is leading you. It's hard enough figuring out why you want to worship, but then you have to figure out how you want to worship, too. And then there's the matter of what to believe, in addition to deciding whether kneeling and special gestures and special prayers are important to the way you worship. After that, you have to explore who you want to worship with. And not just checking congregations out by demographics and age groups and ethnic groups and sexual orientations and all of that, but whether you feel welcome.

What Are You Looking For?

Exploring a new faith tradition, perhaps different from the one you may remember from childhood, can be a daunting yet exciting process. Many churches offer lots of ways to be spiritual, and to worship God, and to know Christ, and to feel the Spirit working in your life. Which one calls to you?

The Episcopal Church can offer many different experiences - it's something we call the "broad" church. Some individual parishes are more low-key and simple in their style of worship, and some offer a more elaborate liturgy, especially for major holidays or "feasts" of the Church, like Easter and Pentecost. Some parishes are very modern in their outlook, some are more traditional, and many are somewhere in between. Quite often, the architecture of the church is a good clue to the way worship is conducted inside, but not always. This makes entering an Episcopal church for the first time a bit of an adventure.

"Will the people be friendly or will they ignore me? Will they focus on their own families and acquaintances? Will there be music or not? Will I be uncomfortable? Will it be familiar or strange? Will I be interested, or bored? Will I want to come back, or head straight out the door?" These are all questions you might well find yourself asking.

Who Are We?

Holy Innocents Episcopal Church is a small mission parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, which is part of the larger The Episcopal Church in the USA, which maintains a website for people seeking to know more about worship, belief, and spiritual growth from the Episcopalian point of view. In turn the national Episcopal Church is a part of the greater Anglican Communion, as an offshoot of the Church of England. St Columba Episcopal Church is a small parish in the same way.

Both churches were founded at around the same time in the late Fifties, early Sixties, but the buildings are quite different and the communities developed and changed in different ways. Worship styles vary, but Father Ted Durst manages to offer a simple service at St Columba, then a somewhat more elaborate liturgy at Holy Innocents. Currently St Columba's service is at 9am, and Holy Innocents' is at 1030am. This allows Fr. Ted to preside at both services, spending a little time with everyone after the first service, before nipping over to Holy Innocents for the second service. Fortunately, the two communities are physically not that far apart. During the school year, there occasionally can be 3 services when there is a Family Mass, which can make Sundays interesting, to say the least.

What Are We About?

We're currently seekers, too. We're seeking to know how we might be more a part of and of service to our communities of Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, and Hanover Park. We support the Schaumburg Food Pantry (our upcoming Classic Car Show is partly in benefit of that charity), and we're looking for other ways that we can contribute our time and talents and support, and to help our villages and the larger world. We'll be working on more long-range planning for the future so that we may all grow as individuals and as a parish. There are also "fun" activities planned or in discussion for the rest of the summer - besides the Car Show July 10, there's the big St Columba Flea Market on August 27th, and the third Synergy Brass Quintet concert on August 28th.

Why Do We Do This?

However, the "central act of our worship," the reason we come together each week, takes place at the altar when Fr. Ted blesses the Bread and Wine and gives it to the people. This shared meal puts us in touch with Christ and enables to take Him into ourselves - this is what being "in communion" means. And then when we are dismissed at the end of the service, we are sent out into the world "in peace."

There's a lot of history behind the Episcopal Church, and it continues to be "in the news" even now, with large questions being asked and (it is to be hoped) answered. Fortunately, the "broadness" of experience, worship, and outlook in the Episcopal Church means that you will find a welcome within it no matter what. We're here for you, and that's not just a marketing ploy.

At Holy Innocents and St Columba, we are young, old, black, Hispanic, white, married, single, gay, straight, formal, informal, working, retired, and everything in between.

Check the service times, find your way, find a welcome "home." We look forward to worshiping with you.

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June 19, 2005

The Archbishop For York?

A former Ugandan judge and former Bishop of Stepney and also of Birmingham, Dr. John Sentamu will become Archbishop of York. He replaces Dr. David Hope, who stepped down to become rector of a "traditional" parish in Ilkley, York. Dr. Sentamu is seen as more progressive than his predecessor on many issues, but forms his own opinions on others. Dr. Hope opposed female clergy and other reforms, while Dr. Sentamu opposed the war in Iraq. However, what's more important is in the causes he supports: displaced auto workers, reducing in gun crime, reducing in racial tensions, and revitalizing people's involvement with the Anglican church. He hopes to get people as excited about their religion as they are about cricket and soccer.

As Archbishop of York, he holds the second most important post in the Anglican Church in Britain. It's conceivable that he could be Archbishop of Canterbury one day. He has vowed to ban homophobia in the Church of England. He is looking forward to "developing ways that will enable the Church of England to reconnect imaginatively with England".

After wrestling with an ugly word that is part of the story quoted below, I decided for the moment to leave it in. If we pretend that problems don't exist, they will eventually overwhelm us. We must face them. We must look each other in the eye and join together to combat them, just as the new Archbishop of York has pledged to do. We should remember his struggle and his example when we are in the midst of our own travails, and take heart and hope.

John Sentamu, the new archbishop of York, is a mould-breaker in more ways than one.

Not only is he the Church of England's first black primate; he is also seen as possessing street cred.

He is a trusted adviser to the government on race and the inner cities, yet does not shrink from criticising it.

And he speaks the sort of language most of us use, without taking refuge in ecclesiastical gobbledygook.


During his six years as bishop of Stepney in east London he was stopped and searched eight times by the police.

What upset him most was the sudden change in the officers' behaviour when they realised his identity.

He said: "When they discovered who I was, the way I was then treated was very different. They should treat everybody with respect, with dignity."

Another time, he recalls, four young white men spat at him and said: "Nigger, go back."

He replied: "You have wasted your saliva."

When he moved from Stepney to the West Midlands Dr Sentamu said he wanted to be known as the Bishop for Birmingham, not of it. - BBC NEWS | UK | England | The Archbishop with 'street cred'

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Proclaim From The Housetops

The readings for Sunday, June 19th
Jeremiah 20:7-13
Romans 5:15b-19
Matthew 10:
Psalm 69:1-18 or 69:7-10, 16-18

Gospel: Matthew 10:

Jesus said to the twelve apostles,

["See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.]

"A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

"Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

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June 12, 2005

Well Done All

Today was the second and last Sunday without our priest, Fr. Ted, who has been away. It had been decided by the priest and Bishop's Committee that in order to make the necessary cuts in the budget "an outward and visible sign" of the seriousness of our situation, we would not budget funds for "supply" or substitute priests when Fr. Ted is absent for vacation or education. The service at Holy Innocents was therefore led by Rob Bartlett, who acted as presider. The sermon was delivered by Colleen Muehl, our Bishop's Warden.

You would think that a more-or-less Morning Prayer service conducted by a bunch of amateurs wouldn't give the same feeling of satisfaction or spiritual comfort that a full Eucharist with a priest and the bread and wine would give. However, everything went very smoothly, and it was surprisingly moving. The Gospel reading for today, of course, is the one dictated by a three-year cycle, but as on so many Sundays it was of peculiarly apt significance for our situation on this day. Remember, the key phrase was
"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." The sermon that Colleen read was helpful in putting our mission (not the physical building, but our need to minister to ourselves and others) in focus. The Gospel and other readings went right along with that theme; and then also the sermon touched on the need to give people encouragement when they are doing a good job, whether it's at work, school, home, or even church.

At the announcements after the sermon, several people (Scott Eiler, Bob Kalicki) mentioned opportunities for volunteer work, either Sparrow's Nest, the Palatine thrift shop benefiting a battered women's shelter, or the Poplar Creek prairie restoration project.

Colleen also announced that a short meeting about the upcoming Classic Car Show (July 10!) after the service. The subsequent meeting was VERY well attended, with lots of excitement and enthusiasm for this, our major fundraiser for the parish. It will also benefit the Schaumburg Food Pantry, which we have supported for years. A number of us will be working on various aspects: securing donations of food or raffle prizes or small gifts, making contact with the village, and publicizing the event to as many car clubs and potential attendees as possible.

As we left, we were given colorful fliers to hand out to the neighbors whose homes face the church lot; because of the extra traffic generated by the car show, Sunday July 10th would be a great day to hold a garage sale (apparently, the spouses of the exhibitors would rather go shopping than look at cars). So off we went in several directions to chat with the neighbors. Doorbelling is almost un-Episcopalian, but we managed.

Just as we were charged in the sermon, we laborers are being sent out into the harvest; conducting worship, finding ways to serve, and gathering in what we may in order to continue our mission (the building AND the ministry).

And finally, a hearty "well done" to everyone who helped conduct services for the past two weeks. We'll be glad to see Fr. Ted and Mark when they return, but we've acquitted ourselves honorably these last two weeks in the absence of clergy.

Posted by ginny at 11:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
in Lay Ministries

The Diocese of Renk in the Sudan

Most Sundays, we pray for a variety of local and global Episcopal and Anglican bodies, including the diocese of Renk in the Sudan. A neighbor parish, St Michael's Barrington, has established a relationship with and helps support the Episcopal churches in the Renk diocese. Their information page notes:

Profile of the Diocese of Renk, Sudan

Since 1986, the fundamentalist Islamic government in northern Sudan has been waging a civil war against Christians and Animists in the south. To date, over 2 million people have been killed, with another 4 million displaced from their homes. Many of these refugees have resettled in Renk diocese, where they are ministered to by Bishop Daniel Deng Bul and his clergy. These people have suffered untold horrors in the name of Jesus Christ, yet their faith remains strong. Our relationship with Renk offers us a chance to make a difference in the lives of our brothers ans sisters, and in turn their strength of spirit leads us to deepen our faith. - St Michaels Barrington: Sudan Covenant Care Commission


St Michael's level of support and their relationship with the people and clergy of Renk is to be commended.

A recent event at Elmhurst College highlighted the amount of support parishes in Northern Illinois continue to give to Sudan and the diocese of Renk and for relief efforts in the region of Darfur. This event was conceived of and implemented by diocesan youth.

The Episcopal Church has been urging action on Darfur (western Sudan) for some time, but the problem is ongoing. Renk (southern Sudan) has seen its share of conflict - as far back as 1998, southern rebels were accused of killing northern merchants near the town of Renk by the Sudanese government; this was likely a pretext for the northern Arab/Islamic northern government to crack down on the Christian/animists of south Sudan.

Fortunately, a peace agreement has been reached between the government and the rebel forces in the south, and there is much cause for celebration. Unfortunately, there are still many problems confronting the people of Sudan. Not only that, the Khartoum headquarters and guest house of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ESC) were "confiscated" in a disputed property sale related to the actions of a defrocked former bishop last year, and recently an Arab-owned company took over the building. They still have many challenges to overcome that make our own problems seem minor by comparison.

So next Sunday, when we pray for the diocese of Renk and Bp. Daniel Deng Bul, keep in mind all Sudanese who have been affected by the years of civil war. Here are just a few stories:

The survivors of the forced evictions in Soba Aradi on May 18th. An estimated 15-22 adults and some children died in the unannounced destruction of a settlement for internally displaced Sudanese, many of whom are Episcopalians.

The bishops of Sudan who had to cancel a historic synod because the roads to the south from Khartoum are still mined and unsafe for travel. Several US and British dioceses were sending delegations, but are now re-evaluating travel plans.

Former "Lost Boys" who have found homes and a future in Chicago, and other cities in the US, but who may soon be returning to rebuild their shattered country.

Posted by ginny at 04:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
in Prayers of the People

June 11, 2005

People of God: Scott Eiler

This is the first submission in a projected series of essays and biographical sketches by and for the people of Holy Innocents and St Columba's.

Scott Eiler is a member of the choir at Holy Innocents; he sings bass and provides comic relief at rehearsals. He rides his bike most Sundays, even in winter unless there's a lot of snow, and carries a small computer with him everywhere. Here is an essay about Scott and the journey that led him to Holy Innocents. I don't have a good picture of him at present, but I do have a good picture of his bike. Here's what Scott has to say:

I met the Church of the Holy Innocents as a traveller, in 2001. I'd come here for a job, and gone to great effort, because the continental air transport system had just gone down. It was September. And the pastor Marion gave comfort.

Then I went back to my conservative Congregational church in
Massachusetts. They were looking for a new pastor. And they wouldn't
consider a woman. I remembered how at least one woman gave pastoral

As God willed it, I live here now. And I worship here, because you
made me welcome. I've enjoyed learning the entire Episcopal church

As of this writing, our church needs to find a significant mission.
But we've got the worship stuff down. If God wills it, we'll worship
together as long as we live.

If you would like to submit an article telling about yourself and your faith journey, or if you would like to submit an essay on a topic of interest to our two communities (volunteer opportunities and experiences, memories, upcoming activities) please contact the webmistress.

Posted by ginny at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
in Who We Are

June 07, 2005

The Lord Of The Harvest

The readings for this Sunday, June 12:

Exodus 19:2-8a
Romans 5:6-11
Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-15)
Psalm 100

The Gospel
Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-15)

Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, `The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. [Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town."]

Emphasis added - this topic is one that is much on our collective minds (and souls) lately as we contemplate ways to serve our community andour hearts and the doors ever wider. Perhaps we'll talk about it over coffee after church this Sunday.

Posted by ginny at 08:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
in Readings
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