Good News, 12.6.12

Friends:

So good to be home again.  Your Welcome Home Dinner was magnificent.   Grazi !  I will have much to share with you in the upcoming weeks and months.

 What a blessing to have members like Margaret Bender and Gen Estenson in our midst.   Such a touching moment when they lit our Advent Candle this past Sunday.  From generation to generation the faith is passed on.   Thanks to Pr. Margareta for the beauty and the prayers which inspired the Prayer Shawls which so gracefully rest upon and surround Gen and Margaret.

 This Sunday I will lead a Tour through our Sanctuary and Gathering Hall identifying some of the architectural roots, symbolic expressions and construction stories that permeate our sacred space. This will happen during the Adult Education Hour.   Having spent so much time among the churches, chapels and basilicas of Italy prompts my wanting to share these elements with you and how our sanctuary has emerged out of the designs of our Christian history.

 Catechumens:  Are you hungering for a deeper spiritual exploration:  maturing experiences of reflection, prayer and conversation?  The Catechumenate Program will fit your need.  Running from Advent/December through Pentecost/May of 2013 this ancient teaching/prayer practice will lead you to a more profound experience of your faith through teachings, small group reflection, prayer, ritual blessings and Spiritual Direction.   Pr. Margareta will co-lead the group with me.  Talk with either of us if you are interested.  The group will decide when we meet so the schedule accommodates the flow of our lives.  You do not have to be a spiritual genius – just have an open heart!

Women of Peace–The Women of Peace are gathering Wednesday December 12 from 10-noon to share conversation, tasty goodies and to decorate the Gathering Hall for Advent and Christmas.  All ladies are invited!

From Arlene Reed
WELCOME HOME DINNER FOR PASTOR STEVE; THANK YOU TO PASTOR MARY ANN
      Almost fifty of us gathered together Sunday evening to welcome Steve back from his sabbatical while also celebrating his upcoming birthday and recognize Pastor Mary Ann’s service during the time Pastor Steve was on sabbatical.  We all had a wonderful time socializing over wine, appetizers, dinner, and dessert.  The evening concluded with slides of Pastor Steve’s time in an ancient medieval town where St. Francis and St. Chiara (Clare) lived.  He experienced deep spiritual nourishment there.
      Your donations of $330 provided for all the expenses of less than $200 so we are able to donate the remainder to our Partnership Fund.  Special thanks to our three youths, Ben, Cameron, and Ryan, who worked from beginning to end.  Cindy Townsend our Justice Advocacy Deacon did a great job as chair of the committee and Libby was there throughout whenever we needed help.  Elana did wonders with our floral table decorations and John provided our get acquainted game.  Thanks to them and all of our helpers – Annie, Ro and Parisa, Jeanne, Peter, and Jackson, Adele, Linda, Charlene and Edith, Bev, John, Martha, Sherry, and everyone else who made the evening such a success.  Several have commented about how much fun the evening was and that we should have more of these evenings of socializing together.

     Some of us wore traditional costumes and the Church was decorated with cloths from our sister communities.  Pastor Steve had joined our South African delegation at the Johannesburg airport and traveled with them to Lwamondo Parish. We had hoped to say something about how our relationships with Lwamondo Parish in South Africa and Laurel Galan in Nicaragua have so deepened our awareness, faith and the blessings of the Family of Christ among us.  But….more of that in January.

Arlene Reed

From our Sabbatical Pastor, Mary Ann Fiene
 I say thank you, thank you, for all you did for me and for all you gave to me – the orchid, the card, the gift card and much, much more!  Your kindness and generosity have touched my heart.  I will miss you.  (However I intend to return occasionally.)  I am praying that you continue steadfast in God’s Word and continue to deepen in Christ’s Spirit that you are able to follow God’s will for your lives and the life of Peace Lutheran congregation.  My love always,  Ps. Mary Ann

  December Calendar

  •   Dec  9– Second Sunday of Advent; Walking Architectural tour of the church after worship
  •   Dec 11–Church Council meets 7 pm
  •   Dec 12–Women of Peace meet 10-noon; Youth Group outing to I-Fly: gather at Peace at 6:30 pm
  •  Dec  16– Third Sunday of Advent; Tree Decorating after worship
  •  Dec  23–Fourth Sunday of Advent; Jazz @ Peace at 5 pm special holiday show:
                    Taylor Eigsti– please share Jazz cards with friends!
  • Dec 24–Children and Family worship at 5 pm;
                  Candlelight and Communion at 10 pm
  •  Dec 25–Christmas Day worship at  10 am
  •  Dec 30–First Sunday after Christmas

  Several people requested the Thomas Merton piece on Time that I shared in last Sunday’s Advent homily. 

 Merton was convinced:  if you let the hours of the day saturate you, and give them time, something will happen to you.  One of the best things for him was “being attentive to the times of the day – when the birds began to sing, to distinguish their voices, to watch the deer come out of the morning fog, feel the rising of the sun, smell the aroma of the earth.”  The reason we don’t take time or give ourselves time is our feeling that we have to keep moving.  This is a real sickness.

 We must approach the whole idea of time in a new way.  We are free to love – to mature, to understand, to grow.  We live in the fullness of time (kairos) – this is one of the gifts of the Gospel.  Every moment is God’s own good time which has been redeemed and renewed.  The whole thing boils down to:  Giving ourselves in prayer a chance to realize that we have what we seek.  We don’t have to rush or chase after it.   It is there all the time – these deep longings of our hearts point the way.  And if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.  There is in all this a sense of the unfolding mystery of time, a reverence for gradual growth.

 This notion:  giving ourselves to the experience of ‘another’, allowing it  (the person, moment, relationship) to communicate its essence, allowing it to say what it will, reveal what it will rather than trying to trap it, bring it into the confines of myself, altering, changing and conquering it by the possession of it, this shifts our orientation in a most profound way.

 Pace e Bene,  Pr. Steve