Dear sisters and brothers in Christ:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In today’s world that seems to demand immediate opinions and instantaneous responses to complex events, I find myself wanting to slow down instead. Yes, I connect with my personal feelings and fears, but this connection seems to say, “Slow down first, and then do the work of connecting more deeply with the commitments and beliefs that truly guide my personal and communal movement in the world today.”
For many, slowing down right now may feel hard, counterintuitive, and even wrong. However, as Vicar to our whole community, I find myself wanting to make a distinction between political, social, personal, even theological positions where we intentionally make space for diversity of perspectives, while also being clear about the beliefs and commitments that are so foundational to our way of living out the Gospel that we need to hold them up as common and normative to all of us.
I also believe that we need to do this work together. Our movement in the world as the people of St. Catherine’s is better when we do this work as a community united around a common understanding of the work of Jesus.
Clearly, this isn’t something we get to right away, but rather an ongoing process and a lifelong journey.
For today, I want to reflect on the collect I shared at the beginning of this column, and focus on the words “hear, read, mark, and inwardly digest.” In actuality, our common commitments aren’t something that is suddenly new today, but rather the application of a faith and a way of life that we articulate continually from within our community of faith.
With this in mind, I look to the statement made by our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, articulating who we are and where we are called to stand today. Please take the time to read his statement carefully, to “hear, read, mark and inwardly digest,” and then ask what this statement means in terms of our movement and actions as the people of St. Catherine’s.
Finally, remember that the Gospel was never intended to be comfortable. The Good News of God in Christ has always been a clarion call towards a just world, and has always asked much of those who would follow. What does it mean for us today to follow the way of Jesus?
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LINK TO THE PRESIDING BISHOP’S STATEMENT
“As a Church, seeking to follow the way of Jesus, who taught us, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mt. 22:39) and to “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Mt. 7:12), we maintain our longstanding commitment to support and welcome refugees and immigrants, and to stand with those who live in our midst without documentation. We reaffirm that like all people LGBT persons are entitled to full civil rights and protection under the law. We reaffirm and renew the principles of inclusion and the protection of the civil rights of all persons with disabilities. We commit to the honor and dignity of women and speak out against sexual or gender-based violence. We express solidarity with and honor the Indigenous Peoples of the world. We affirm the right to freedom of religious expression and vibrant presence of different religious communities, especially our Muslim sisters and brothers. We acknowledge our responsibility in stewardship of creation and all that God has given into our hands. We do so because God is the Creator. We are all God’s children, created equally in God’s image. And if we are God’s children we are all brothers and sisters.
“The Episcopal Church Welcomes You,” is not just a slogan, it’s who we seek to be and the witness we seek to make, following the way of Jesus.”
Congregational Care Meets Saturday November 19
at 9:30 AM
Do you feel called to a ministry of supporting other members of St Catherine’s through action and prayer? Come to our meeting Saturday and find out more.
Congregational Care offers meals and ministry of presence for those unable to attend weekly events, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, home communion, prayer ministry, maintaining a library and holding workshops on living fully at all stages of life.
Diocesan Convention 2016
St. Catherine’s was well-represented at the Diocesan Convention this year in Eugene. Patricia+, Ann+, Byron Melton, and Lianne Thompson all attended, enjoying the opportunity to be part of that communion of the saints.
We joined with other church folk to listen, discern, and commit to new actions to bring faith into being in this world. Beginning with homelessness and ending with Standing Rock, we witnessed thoughtful engagement to make a difference in preserving and healing wounds in our collective well-being.
We were also inspired by the words of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s Bishop of Oregon Bp. Dave Brauer-Rieke. He called us into the future, asking us to be curious, creative, willing to take action, thinking in a multi-disciplinary way, and to engage in profound empathy with others.
And by the way, St. Catherine’s tradition of involvement in the broader world of the Diocese continues. Thanks to the reputation we enjoy for our past efforts, the sterling quality of our clergy, Patricia+ and Ann+, and your Senior Warden’s answering the call to further service, I am now a member of the Diocesan Council.
Thank you all for the joy and honor it has been to be your Senior Warden; I am term-limited out and look forward to supporting our next Senior Warden, beginning in January.
Standing with Standing Rock
Fearless Watercolor Show
Audene Jay, is presenting her watercolors in a solo show at the NCRD Gallery during the month of December. The show titled “Fearless Watercolors” is exuberant and full of vibrant color, truly inspiring. Begins Friday, December 2 with a reception from 6-9 PM. Click here for more information.
Plans are being made to gather with our neighbors at Nehalem Bay United Methodist Church for some of our Christmas observances. On Sunday, December 18th, Nehalem Bay United Methodist will host Lessons and Carols at 11:00 AM. On Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24 St. Catherine’s will host a Christmas Eve service for both congregations with a musical program at 5:30 PM, followed by a Festive Eucharist at 6:00 PM.
Fall Study Program
November 10 4 PM
The Kingdom of Spirituality: Focussing on the actual experience of spirituality – not just what others say or what books tell you. Discover your own lived experiences.
This will be the last class in this study. What are you interested in as a winter study?
New Poem From Our Authors
St Catherine’s has many talented writers and artists. Theiressays, poems, photos and paintings can be found on our web site. Click here: Reflections. This week we feature is Fall Poem by Tricia Gates Brown:
You are no different than asters that fall dead
in sleep, reemerge each year strong and new. By
midlife, you had fallen twice. First, watched
the pieces leveled one by one, left to ask what remains
when no one calls, when accolades fester into
gossip, when all our proud self-sacrifice, clever deeds
feed the march of maggots. The Perennial Story. Then,
having emerged, you saw it everywhere. How
what dies is nothing and divinity still seeks divinity. …
Read it all here.