Monday, September 28, 2009

Ministry Fair Reflections

I had a wonderful time at the Ministry Fair on Sunday after the 10 a.m. service. If you weren't able to be there, various ministries at the church set up table displays and talked to people about what they do and how people could get involved (and of course tried to recruit them).

It was a nice postlude to Donna's sermon about giving back to God out of our time and talent as well as our treasure.

But what I liked most about it was that people were talking to each other and talking about the things that interested and excited them. We all need to do more of that, talk about the things that we find exciting and interesting and intriguing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Celebration of 60 years and a New Ministry

Here is a picture of Bishop Garrison and the choir and clergy getting ready to process into church for the Celebration of the 60th anniversary of the dedication of St. Paul's and the celebration of New Ministry of the rector and congregation.
It was a wonderful service. We celebrated St. Paul's history and renewed commitment to children and youth, our ties to the Diocese and the Bishop and were blessed by the presence of a lot of the clergy who had served here or had their calls to ministry confirmed here over the years.
One of the best parts was the joining of the St. Paul's choir with members of the Calvary Church choir. I hope that this marks the beginning of much more mutual ministry in the years to come.
So, St. Paul's folk, let's start that by heading to Calvary on Saturday from 4 to 8 to be a part of their Octoberfest.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Joy and Bubbles and Amens

I love the Sunday when Sunday School starts again. In many ways it is much more New Year's Day then the first day of January or the first Sunday of Advent.

We welcomed the kids back this year in the courtyard with bubbles, which then made their way into the church as well.

One of the great gifts that young people bring us is their joy. They are willing to blow bubles in church. They are willing to laugh out loud and shout the dismissal loudly.

This Sunday one of the best parts of the service for me was at the Great Amen. The Great Amen is the Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, right before communion, when the congregation says "Amen" to the whole Eucharistic Prayer. It's printed in big print in the prayer book and is supposed to be said loudly. This Sunday, just a little behind the rest of us, one child's voice shouted out, "AMEN". I wanted to stop the service and say, "Yes, that's exactly how that should be done."

As we begin this new year, let's learn from the children and try to copy some of their joy and freedom and enthusiasm.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The view from above

My friends Tim and Stan invited me to be a judge for the River Days parade in Portsmouth, Ohio last Saturday. This is a big deal in Scioto County all 12 school districts in the county pick a River Days princess and all of the princesses make floats for the parade and they work on them for months.

This year the theme of the parade was Mardi Gras. Just to give you a taste, one of the floats had a model of a stretch of Bourbon St, including a boutique you could walk into. Another featured a shoe large enough for the princess to sit in.

They have to have judges from outside the county because both the princess floats and the community floats competitions are hard fought and deeply contested. It's fun to be a judge, but you can't help but be influenced by how seriously everyone takes the competition.

After the lead golf cart that I was riding in reached the end of the parade, Tim arranged for me to take a flight in a helicopter and see the parade (and greater Portsmouth) from above.

The helicopter only flew at about 500 feet above the ground, but it was amazing how the world changed from that high up. All of the contention and competition melted away and all that you could see was the floats and bands and fire trucks moving down the streets and the tops of the heads of the crowds. All of the things that seemed so important a few minutes before were reduced to a small part of the overall scene of the town and the surrounding countryside. All of those things were completely overwhelmed by the majestic beauty of the Appalachians and the Ohio River.

I think our lives are sometimes like that. We can get so focused on the little things that we miss the big picture that surrounds us. I think we all need to, metaphorically, get into a helicopter every once in a while and take the higher view of our lives and the things that surround us. It helps keep things in perspective.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Backpack blessing videos

We had a great blessing of the backpacks on Sunday. We prayed for those who teach and those who learn and we collected enough school supplies to send more than 20 kids back to school with complete sets of new supplies with some left over.

Most of the backpacks and complete sets of supplies went to Friends of the Night People in Buffalo. The remaining supplies went to School 3 in Buffalo and we distributed a few sets of supplies to some local people in need.

See the a part of the service here . And lest you think there is no joy left in church, check out this clip of me and a few of the kids dancing to the closing hymn.