June 30, 2005
Readings for July 3
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
It looks like there's a great deal of food for thought there - and much listening yet to be done.
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!)
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.
June 21, 2005
Readings for this Sunday
The readings for Sunday, June 26:
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.
June 20, 2005
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.
Check the service times, find your way, find a welcome "home." We look forward to worshiping with you.
June 19, 2005
The Archbishop For York?
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.
Proclaim From The Housetops
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
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.
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.
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.
June 11, 2005
People of God: Scott Eiler
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.
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.
June 07, 2005
The Lord Of The Harvest
The readings for this Sunday, June 12:
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.