April 01, 2016

Blessings to you this Eastertide… and Happy April to all!

I am sure that I am not alone in needing a bit of rest and respite after the power and all- encompassing spiritual rigor of Holy Week and Easter. This year we had added to that richness the challenge of a blizzard and freezing temps – yikes! What a week we had!

In it all, though, we had the ever-present, deeply moving presence of the Lord, holding our hands, whispering words of love to the Beloved, and encouraging us in our journey. Thank you to each of you for your participation by presence, hard work, passion, singing, praying, loving and helping your friends, family and self to enter more fully into the discipline and preparations of Lent, the reflections and sorrow of Holy Week, and then the fullness of joy and celebration at Easter!

Ending Holy Week with those Alleluia bells, the white vestments and lilies, the beautiful music… and the glorious retelling of Salvation History – by superb readers! – the candles and darkness giving way to the great unveiling and lights and flowers and beauty at Easter Vigil, followed by two joyful Easter Sunday Services, with pancakes! kids, and Resurrection Egg Hunt… oh, the wonder and joy were everywhere!

The fullness of the beauty and joy of Easter does not end with that day, of course, it goes on. And in the Fifty Days of Eastertide, ending with the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we have work to do, and rest to take.

Before we move on, though, I want to pause here to give deep, deep thanks to some of the people who worked tirelessly to make each service and event special and meaningful. Our Altar Guild tops the list of behind the scenes servants- changing vestments, cleaning, putting things up and taking them down, so that every detail presented one message… in ways seen and unseen, their faithful serving enriches and makes possible our worship in the beauty of holiness. Thank you Altar Guild – thank you Mardi, Johanna, Liz G, Liz K, Pat, Joanne, Mildred, and all who step up to help out as needed – Ron H, that means you, too!

Special thanks to Shawn and Tom for the special offerings of Holy Week music from Palm Sunday through the Easter Vigil. Through your music, our spirits were lifted and refreshed, and focused more fully on each of the steps of the week of sadness, reflection, and deep joy. Thanks to all who served, read and led prayers. Easter Sunday with the glorious hymn, Jesus Christ is Risen Today! Alleluia!!, was all the more special for the passion and solemnity of the week that led to it.

Thanks, too, to the children, and to Natalie for coordinating and directing children’s participation at Palm Sunday and Easter Day services, Katherine and Tricia for captivating the Sunday School class with the Resurrection Eggs as the Greatest Story Ever Told was told and heard and enacted – Hallelujah! Thanks to Susan and the Worship and Liturgy team who thoughtfully put together the services and events of Lent and Holy Week – its unfolding was wonderful. Thanks to all who gave food, and to Katherine, Tricia, Barb, and Dianne for putting together and delivering Easter Brunches to people in need of a lift – such a grace-filled gift to people who will never know the individuals who gave, but who can know and feel God’s love through the gifts given as an Easter Blessing of joy in Christ.

And please give a general prayer of thanks that we could come together and worship, pray, serve and celebrate in the beauty and holiness of our lovely valley – surrounded by mountains and plains, filled with deer and bunnies and cows…. And even moose!, as well as snow, blue skies, sun and rain… through it all, and in it all, we are held and blessed by our Loving Living Risen Lord – Alleluia!!!

And now, as The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond reminds us, it is time to rest – perhaps to retreat. Hear his words that invite us to rest and renew:

Retreats – There must be times of retreat or else humans will become lost in work, production, materialism and suffering, losing their way simply by wandering off the gentle path which keeps appearing under foot by angels. One must retreat in order to listen to oneself and to our God’s whispers of love, affection, approval and curious suggestion.*

YES! Hear God’s whispers – of love, affection, approval, and curious suggestion! Just as we were invited to a time of prayer, fasting, and penitence for a Holy Lent, please hear this invitation to a time of resting in God, listening for God’s whispers of love, and being open to curious suggestions… perhaps a suggestion to pamper yourself… or to get on a swing and experience that rush of delight that comes with the air in your face… or to pick up a pinwheel and play… or perhaps to simply sit idle, with the sun on your face, basking. Only God knows the very thing that will bring you joy and help you to hear those tender words of Love – “My Beloved. In you I am well pleased.”

So, Beloved- Listen. Hear the sweet words of love from the Lord. Rest.
The Time to Go will soon be upon us… but now, Rest in God’s loving Embrace.
And May the Joy of Easter and the Risen Christ Be With You Now and Always. Alleluia!

Vicar Janet

 

March 01, 2016

March… in like a lion, out like a lamb…

Liturgically, this year, March comes in with the middle of Lent, and goes out with Easter. It is a time of change, as we move from the repentance, contrition, and reminder that we “are dust and to dust we will return” of Ash Wednesday, through the forty days of fasting, praying and observing our chosen Lenten disciplines, to the great celebration and joy of Easter.

In between, we will celebrate Chad, Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Patrick at Wednesday Eucharist services. If you are following Lent Madness, which I hope you are [www.lentmadness.org], you know that along this way we are spending time with notable saints. Whether they are “Capital S” Saints like St. Joseph, or “small s” saints like each of us, we are reminded that God gives each of us a path. What I like best about Lent Madness is seeing that God’s saints are given dramatic jobs to do and paths to walk. And yet, through remarkably different circumstances, God’s goodness and mercy become known through the actions of the saints. It is both heartening and challenging to consider the many faces of a life of faith.

If you haven’t already been part of Lent Madness, not to worry – there is still a lot to come. In March you will have the chance to cast votes for people like Albert Schweitzer, Sojourner Truth, and Saints Clare, Columba, Roch and Joseph. So many inspirational people, and such arcane information and theological tidbits! You can spend the month not only in pursuit of your personal holiness via your Lenten resolutions, but in the company of saints and with a bit of silliness, too.

At St. Philip in the Field, we will complete two special offerings of Lent – The Language of God, and the C. S. Lewis based evening study entitled, Not a Tame Lion. Both have been thought provoking invitations to look beneath platitudes and mere words, and to delve into a consideration of life, faith, scripture, and our re- lationship with God. Our conversation has been rich with insights and questions and sharing. It’s not too late to begin, so don’t hesitate to join in.

We will be providing Easter Brunch Boxes again this year- so look for the announcement of how many boxes we will put together. The Task Force will distribute, as last year. It is such a joy to give gifts of life even as we prepare to celebrate the gift of life given to us. Thank you for feeding and giving hope and joy to some God’s Beloveds who are in need- it is truly holy giving – and in it, we journey more deeply into God’s heart of love and mercy.

Thanks be to God we are on this journey together – we are blessed indeed!

With much love in this Holy Season of Lent,

Vicar Janet

February 01, 2016

“Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.”

― Theodore Roethke

As we come to February, we come to Lent. We come to the time when we particularly commit to examining our lives and doing what we can to amend them to be more fully lives of goodness and mercy, peace and loving-kindness. Sometimes it truly feels as if all the light in our lives has left us, and thus Lent has a heaviness and weariness that fights against the life-giving disciplines we employ – and in those times, Easter joy feels very far away, indeed.

But as Roethke reminds us, deep down, even if only in our roots, we keep the light. Uncovering that light is the focus of Lent – so that, with the daffodils, lilies and other flowers of spring, come Easter, we can trumpet with joy, Christ is Alive!  He is Risen… The Lord is Risen Indeed!

Now is the time to pray to ask God’s guidance about what Lent should look like for you. Sometimes it is best to give something up… letting go of something you enjoy may help you focus on the penitential nature of Lent, or on the fact that in this special time, you are turning special time and attention to God. Sometimes it is best to take something on… adding to your life service to the poor, or special study of scripture or a devotion, or a book to heighten your understanding or piety or prayerfulness; sometimes the thing to add is play – adding enjoyment and delight in the Lord to your life is a rather overlooked way to focus attention and thanks on God. Whatever you do to mark Lent, make it a time of going to your roots… going deeper to find the joy and light and life that God has placed within you.

We will have some special offerings at St. Philips in Lent – they may help in this search for light and in the deepening of life in Christ. On Thursday evenings at 6, come for Soup Supper and Study, with C. S. Lewis as guide. On Tuesday mornings at 10, explore the mind and word of God by entering into the language and culture that formed the words and images of the scriptures we read to hear God’s word to us. Sunday worship services will include time for silent prayer and reflection; we will use the more penitential prayers and language of worship to help us remember that this is a special time of growth in darkness.

In it all, remember that Lent is a journey… a journey in which we rend our hearts so that God may create in us clean and contrite hearts, and may renew a right spirit within us. In this journey, we will come closer to the One who created us, loves us, holds us, sustains us, encourages us, and walks every step with us. This is the work and journey of Lent, and it is a journey of love and faithfulness, guided and directed by the Lord.

Blessings and Love to you as we walk the path of Lent – finding light in the darkness, hope in the journey, and life and love in it all. Thanks be to God!

Vicar Janet

January 01, 2016

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.
C. S. Lewis

Happy New Year!

2016 is upon us – we have just celebrated Christ’s birth and we are looking forward to celebrating the Epiphany – very quickly we enter into the great telling of “the rest of the story.” I find it humbling to reflect that I am part of that continuing “rest of the story…”

Since I am in the story, I affect the story… and so do you! And so I am going to pose a question to you to ponder: as you review the year just passed, what was your storyline… how did you tell the good news of Christ in thought, word or deed? What changes happened to you or others that had an impact or influence on yourself or others?

And thinking of your answers to the above questions, what do you hope for in this new year? What would you like to do, or how do think God might use you to help another? How do you think you might show love to someone? When you stop and think and pray, does something “warm your heart”… make you wonder if God is talking to you?

The first time Ron and I went to Haiti, in January of 2000, I discovered that God had been talking to me for some time and I hadn’t heard Him – or even thought anyone could hear Him – because I was waiting for an audible voice to tell me what to do. I had prayed, thought maybe we should go… and then decided it was foolish to go. So we sponsored several children instead. The pull to go in person didn’t go away. I still didn’t perceive God in that… so I just busily worked to convince myself and others that, if called, I would go…. But, not being called, no need to go.

God didn’t let it go at that, though, and the upshot of the story is that through some very dear and faithful people, God got through even to a person as stubbornly deaf as me… God’s call was that pull to go… that inexplicable desire to go and to see, to go and to help, to go and to be part of God’s plan of bringing His love and care to Haiti and to all who would hear and pray and care for the Haitian people because they now had a connection.

When I went to Haiti, my particular story took a turn I could never have anticipated, would never have thought to ask for, and would change me forever. God showed me things and brought to live in ways that defy description to this very day, the truth of Mother Theresa’s observation: “God sees only our love.”

How will God see your love this year? As you write your own story, give time for dreaming and believing that the ways you see love, and the ways you think you might give love, are God’s own dreams for you… that God’s dream and your dream are one.

I began with C.S. Lewis, so I will end with him as well. As you dream… as you hear… as you follow the Lord… heed one of Lewis’ favorite directions:

Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.
As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love them.

May the Love of God fill you, surround you, and bring you peace and inspiration to dream and to act in love each and every day of this blessed new year!

Vicar Janet

December 01, 2015

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immor- tal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect for Advent 1

I love Advent. It begins with the above Collect, speaking for us of the darkness that surrounds us and the hope that is within us. It will end with one of my very favorite passages from Luke, The Magnificat, Mary’s song of rejoicing with Elizabeth as together they find hope for the world from the babies they carry. We will say and sing Mary’s Magnificat on the last Sunday of Advent. And throughout Advent, we will sing the message of these two prayers in the traditional hymn of Advent:  O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. Hallelujah- despite the darkness, there is hope!!

Hope is the singular message of Advent, and as we begin lighting the candles on the Advent wreath, the first week is Hope. Particularly when the world is in turmoil, and in the midst of the recent terrorist attacks, Hope can be missing and seem naïve. But in Advent, the candle of Hope will remain lit throughout the subsequent weeks and through Christmas… may it never die!

Some in our own families and parish family enter this season of Advent feeling the darkness in a way that drains hope… for although Advent points to the promise of the light come to shatter all darkness, the death or loss of those dear to us feels as if light in our world is gone forever. When feeling that the light is gone… when we are sad, lonely, adrift or alienated while others are having parties, cheerful, celebrating with friends and family, and few moments are given to grieving… it can be especially hard to believe the promise that in time, Hope will return – All will be Well – that the Light of the World has come, is coming, will come again.

This year, we are making a special time and place to mark sadness in this season of hope. The second Sunday of Advent, December 6 – the week of Peace- we will have “Blue Christmas” and we both honor those we have lost or miss, and hold onto the truth that even in our losses and longing for the fullness of joy when all things are finally made whole and complete again, we can indeed have Peace. Peace has come with the Prince of Peace, our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Thanks be to God – He comes and comforts us, now and forever.

The Third Week of Advent is the week of Joy  – sometimes called Gaudete Sunday- French for Rejoice! It tells us to remember to Rejoice in the Lord Always – in the darkness, and in the light – always rejoice! The rose candle is lit and reminds us that the turning has come – we pass the midpoint of Advent that week, and are in the homestretch… both in Advent, and in life. We as people have passed the midpoint and are in the homestretch, so, rejoice! The savior comes… and so we enter the last weeks with joy and anticipation of the great celebration of Christmas.

The last week of Advent is the week of Love – and we enter into the final preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth – and with joy, we will sing, Love Came Down at Christmas, love all lovely, love divine. Love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign. Hallelujah!

Thus, in Advent and throughout December, we walk in a precious hope even in the darkness that surrounds us. That hope is part of our very identity in Christ: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5.  

St. Francis reminds us:
All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. And a candle such as the world has never before or since seen, came in the form of a baby boy, born to Mary and Joseph, in a manger – a humble birth for the King of Kings – Rejoice!

Hope – Peace – Joy – Love… Present in Christ, now and forever!…darkness scattered, light present…this is the beautiful message of Advent and Christmas – what joy that we are sent to make it known to the world!

The joy of this message is the heart of Mary’s Magnificat:
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior…
For he that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his Name.

Luke 1:46-5
Let us go forth in Advent, Christmas, and all our lives, proclaiming with Mary, by word and deed: My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
The dawn is near… light breaks forth and defeats darkness… Hallelujah!

May the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always.  Amen.

Vicar Janet

November 01, 2015

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

Psalm 139:1, 6-9

I love Psalm 139 – all of it, not just the portion above. I love it because it reassures me that all of me is known and loved by God… I might as well give up trying to clean up, excuse, or justify myself, for God knows me and is with me, always. In this is freedom and grace. Thanks be to God!

Notice, though, that the psalm isn’t just thanks for God’s presence…No, it speaks at some length to efforts to avoid this presence… Where can I flee from your spirit?! Flee?!! The psalmist speaks of fleeing, when most of us speak of drawing nearer to God?? Does that strike you as odd?

Nadia Bolz-Weber tells a story in her new book, Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the Wrong People, that I think helps here. Here’s what she says:
“I recently was asked by an earnest young seminarian during a Q&A, ‘Pastor Nadia, what do you do personally to get closer to God?’ Before I even realized I was saying it, I replied, ‘What? Nothing. Sounds like a horrible idea to me, trying to get closer to God.’ Half the time I wish God would leave me alone. Getting closer to God might mean getting told to love someone I don’t even like, or to give away even more of my money. It might mean letting some idea or dream that is dear to me get ripped away.”

Hmmmm. Yes. I know what she’s talking about here. Jesus may sometimes be depicted as a lamb, Lamb of God, but He also is depicted as a lion – the Lion of Judah.

In The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis gives us Aslan, a lion who is God-present, Jesus. In one scene, Susan asks Mrs. Beaver about Aslan, and she hears a bit more than she anticipated: “Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Yes! The Beavers’ Aslan is the story we hear in November. In the Gospel readings we will travel a path that shows that walking with Jesus is anything but safe. … But it is Good! And we will celebrate that in this walk we find that we walk with the King… The King who loves us, is with us, is all powerful, and all giving. Christ the King is Good indeed! And we will sing with joy… “Soon and Very Soon, we are going to see the King. Hallelujah, Hallelujah! We’re going to see the King! No more crying there… No more dying there… Soon and very soon, we’re going to see the King.”

So it is quite a journey that we embark upon this month. We begin by celebrating the saints among us and those we have known; then join in for the book discussion on Accidental Saints; next we will experience the 12 Step Eucharist and celebrate Christ the King who reigns over all and is with us in those dark and hard places as well as the good and glorious ones; we give thanks – Thanksgiving for the blessings of family, friends, food, and our lives together; and we end the month by beginning the journey of Advent.

All of these things and so much more await us at St. Philip in-the-Field. So, Do not flee! November and the King are here…Come into His Presence with Thanksgiving!

And May the Blessings of the Lord be upon you now and always,

Vicar Janet

 

October 01, 2015

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
All else be nought to me save that thou art – 
thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father; thine own may I be,
thou in my dwelling, and I one with thee.
High King of heaven, when victory is won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision. O Ruler of all.

 

This beautiful hymn that always takes my heart to Ireland and makes me long to walk the hills and see the land that inspired so many saints, came unbidden into my mind as I walked Cokie this morning. Walking in the beauty of the cool morning, with the leaves just turning gold clacking in the breeze… I was thinking how much I love fall… hardy chrysanthemums… sunflowers becoming seed for the birds… wood smoke in the air…the blue sky with that crispness that is unique to October… the need for a sweater or shawl before the walk with Cokie! … cool nights and warm days… the last tomatoes and delicious Macintosh apples… yum! In fact, I’d be hard pressed to name something I don’t like about fall.

So I bring to the readings for October a predisposition to love them. But when I look at October’s gospel selections, I cannot avoid dealing with the one part of fall that lurks be- neath the surface of the beautiful readings: change. Change to New Life, Yes…
But Change, nonetheless. And Change is rarely easy. Beginning with Jesus blessing the little children in the first lesson of the month, and ending with Jesus healing the blind man at the end of the month, the gospel lessons will call us to remember to look to Jesus for healing, compassion, and living in the moment, in amidst all of the challenges and changes and vagaries of life.

As we come to the end of the liturgical year, our readings reflect that in this life, there are surely many sorrows, difficulties that assail us. But they also remind us that we are in God’s hands, and God will bring us through it. Our job is to retain our vision and hope and to persevere, and to remind one another that whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves, God is with us. Secure in that hope, we may see and be thankful for the blessings present in the here and now.

Here at St. Philip in the Field, as we begin with Youth Sunday and the Blessing of Animals, and end with remembering the saints who have left us in this earthly life, but await us in the eternal life, I pray that we will remind one another with love, kindness, and gentleness, to hold on to the vision of the Lord of our Hearts, finding there, every day, hope and love and peace.

… Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Peace and Grace be with you,

Vicar Janet

 

 

 

September 01, 2015

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This is the Collect of the day for the first Sunday of September. I love it- and I think that it gives a great reminder of the spirit in which we enter into fall.

We will begin a new book for our between services book group this fall, and this collect points to both books that I am seriously considering having us explore: Pastorix, by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and The Ragamuffin Gospels, by Brennan Manning. I do not yet have my final answer for the selection, so please feel free to suggest another book, or to put in a vote for one of these.

Fall will also bring us the Diocesan Convention, St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals, a 12 Step Eucharist, Youth Sunday, A Forum on End of Life Issues, and the beginning of another year of CDI, as well as continued Bible Study between services, and invitations to find the committee that suits your interest for service and ministry. As our last Open Forum with the Bishop’s Committee highlighted, there is a lot going on, and your participation and prayers are treasured.

Mission and ministry in our community, as well as the world as a whole, continues to be strong. We have had great food and backpack collections, as well as volunteers for the Douglas /Elbert County Task Force.  St. Francis Center volunteers help out in Denver the third Saturday of every month; we have supported relief efforts in Nepal, Haiti and Sudan, and more events for Colorado Haiti Project are on the horizon.

So get ready—the dog days of summer are drawing to a close and the beautiful, life-giving, cooler days of fall approach!

Keep running—and in it all, let us remember God’s Amazing Grace, Love, Mercy, and Peace. A reminder is in the collect for the last Sunday of the month:

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Peace and Blessings to you all,

Vicar Janet

August 01, 2015

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness;
and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. Collect for August 30

The dog days of summer… August is upon us.

July was full of activity, and August is kicked off with the Homecoming “Mass in the Grass” and Picnic. Preparation for Homecoming included Saturday clean up day and completing the parish hall painting. Cokie was instrumental in painting the parish hall – she is ready to come help clean up, too – bunnies beware.

Our Homecoming service at 10:00 will include blessing of backpacks, students, teachers, parents, and all of the collected school supplies for donation to the Douglas/ Elbert County Task Force. So… please bring your donations on or before Sunday!

August is the time for the last chance get-a-ways of summer before fall comes, and Ron and I will be among those who head for a family reunion. Ours is in Ohio, third week of August. I assure you I did not choose the date! Hot, yes, it will be hot – but it will be good to see family, so I will remind myself of that when I am hot and grouchy. Throughout August, as we face some heat here, too, I will keep hours at the office W-F, 9:00 am- Noon. Wednesday Noon Service will continue, and I can be at the parish hall by ap- pointment, but generally, mornings at the church will be the rule.

Ending August, August 30 the last Sunday of the month, is our Open Forum Meeting with the Bishops Committee. We will take a look at where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. It’s a great day for our Forum ~ it will mark our one year anniversary together – my first day at St. Philip’s one year ago was the last Sunday of August, August 30, 2015. So, we can do a year in review and take stock of all that St. Philip’s has done, as we prepare to begin a new year… we will be heartened, for we have been busy!

Come and share your thoughts, hopes and dreams for the year ahead. And take heart! God has given us important work to do here in the valley and the world. Together we will make our plans to bring forth the fruit of good works God has planned for us, and to do so with joy and thanksgiving.

Mission Statement

To share the joy and acceptance we find in Jesus Christ by offering warm hospitality, per- sonal prayer, healing ministries and worthwhile service to the wider community.

Announcements:

Backpack Supplies and Blessing Believe it or not, it is nearly time for school to resume! SO- it is time to bring school supplies, backpacks, etc for delivery to the Task Force to help all children go to school with new supplies. Bring them to the narthex, and put supplies in one basket, food in the other. Also for School – we will do a Back to School blessing, and send off backpacks, the students, teachers and parents at the August 2 Homecoming Service – Come and pray for a challenging, life-filled year for all.

Altar Servers’ Training – Saturday August 15, 10:00 at the church- if you have served or are ready to be trained to serve as Acolyte, Chalice Minister, Lector/Reader, Usher… this is for you. Please let me know if you can come on the 15th, and if that day and time is not good for you, suggest an alternative, and we’ll do two trainings. Thank you for serving!

Planning for fall – School coming means fall and the new church program year is coming up as well. If you are willing and able to help with programming and care of our youth and children as summer comes to an end, please step up – you are definitely needed.

The New Directory is coming – your input is needed. Please check out the draft that shows what information the church has and edit that info as needed: the second draft is in the Parish Hall – ready for review. As last week, please take a few moments to check out your name – if it’s not there, please add it!  And, write legibly any changes or additions or corrections, and fill in any missing info.  And stay tuned – a new photo directory with accurate and up to date information will be coming this fall!

Hooper Memorial Bench- Just as you enter the Parish Hall, there is a collection box for donations for a bench to be placed at the playground in memory of Helen and Murrell Hooper. Please check out the bench, and if you can, donate to help make this happen.

End of Life Issues – If you have interest in helping, planning is underway for a session on end of life issues, and for grief support. You are most welcome to add your thoughts. Stay tuned for more information.

Grief Group Coming: New Century Hospice grief support group will begin this fall. It will be a six-week grief support group meeting on Wednesday evenings from September 23 through October 28 at the New Century Hospice office in Castle Rock. The group is offered free of charge as a service to our community. The group is kept intentionally small (maximum of 10 to 12 people) in order to allow for the best group process. If people are interested in attending the support group, they may contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Dr. Steve Fehl, at 303-660- 6107 for more information.

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object to your senses.

C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory

Vicar Janet

July 01, 2015

This is a summer of celebration!  As Episcopalians, we are celebrating the election of The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, as the Presiding Bishop elect… we are Crazy Christians on The Way!  The Fourth of July celebration is coming up, and it follows a June filled with celebrations: celebrations of life and burial services for people with long standing and deep ties with St Philips and the Valley; welcoming friends and family including Eleanor, Carole, Scott, Krisanne, Doug and Beth – so many lovely people!; the baptism of little Warren, Barb and Warren Hall’s grandson; last Sunday, the festive, outdoor in-the-tent service of celebration of new ministry- What a joy to have The Rev Canon Lou Blanchard, many friends and visitors, the younger folks leading us with joyful words, presence, fun and play!  With the beautiful backdrop of the mountains, cattle, and valley as the context for the celebration of new life and ministry at St. Philips, we were sent forth to go about our lives, caring for all those in need, for all those who are hurting, tired, or sick, for who the Lord sends us to love in God’s name.  Joy!

Oh, June has indeed been filled with times of sharing worship in the beauty of holiness, and celebrating our life together!  But if you were thinking that it might be time to take a breather, put our feet up, and just wile away the remaining months of summer…. well, sorry – with God there is always more – and we have more that is celebratory, and more that requires us to come with willing hearts and hands to serve – and it is all grand!!

July begins with Mike and Cindy’s story of their trip to and work in Nepal. Following the services, there is the Newcomers’ Welcome Lunch and Greeting with sharing of stories of the journeys to this time place of both we newcomers and St. Philip-in-the-Field as
a whole. Bring a potluck dish to share, or just drop in and see what’s happening- All
are Welcome!  The following Sunday, July 12, at the 8 o’clock service, Pat P. will be inducted into the prayerful and humble service of the Daughters of the King. What a blessing that will be for all!  Also on July 12, between services we will have group discussion #2 of Searching for Sunday, and after the 10:00 service, there will be a fundraiser for Nepal Relief efforts – please come and help as you are able. Ending July, we will have the joy and honor of celebrating another baptism as we welcome little Kenzie to the family of God, to be with us, a Crazy Christian!

August begins with the parish Picnic and Homecoming Celebration of people near and far who have been part of St. Philip-in-the-Field over the years. Make plans and invite anyone who might like to come to Homecoming to mark their calendar.  Saturday August 1 is clean-up, spruce-up day;  Sunday August 2 begins with Morning Prayer in the church at 8:00;  8:30 is set up the tent and church for outside worship; following the 10:00 service, there will be a wonderful picnic lunch. Fun! Yes, we will play!  : )

So… there is more time of celebration yet to come before the summer draws to an end and the fall school and regular church year events resume.

Accompanying us in this summer of celebration, the Gospel readings will be bringing our attention to the ever-constant tension in the life of faith: at the very same time that Jesus feeds us with his very self, and brings us comfort, joys and celebrations, the world around us is broken and hurting. If we lose sight of God’s goodness and grace and healing in it, we may, like Peter, take a look around at the storm and sink in the stormy sea of doubt and distress. August readings invite us to sit and truly immerse ourselves in the wonder of Christ present: in the bread and wine we share; in the midst of our storms; in the midst of doubt and despair; in the midst of joy and celebration. Opening our eyes to this truth is at once awesome, baffling, and humbling… and overwhelmingly filled with joy and thanksgiving.

In all of this and more, Jesus calls us to trust, to keep moving on, to remember that he has overcome the world… that he is with us always… even to the end of the age. And so take heart!  Have courage! Be devoted in prayers, persevere in doing good. In it all, so trust that God is bringing all things to perfection, that whether you celebrate or struggle, whether you have faith or are in doubt, are strong or weak, or tired… you nevertheless persevere. We are all in this together, and God is with us. That is the Good News this summer and always. Thanks be to God!

May God’s Peace be with you!

Vicar Janet