Reflections on what matters as we consider our parish life and mission.
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My challenge is to respect the dignity of every human being.
I try to be family to other people, as a way to share how I was accepted into this warming, familial environment.
Sometimes, like when
we think of Saint Luke’s as “our little, struggling church,”
it leads to a stasis mentality that needs to be challenged. So instead of “survival”
I speak up about our mission.
The liturgy and the
people of the parish give me the strength
to do the work God has given me to do.
Saint Luke’s is my surrogate family because my family is so far away.
I can do so many things here to express my faith.
|Being open to what new people bring with them to Saint Luke’s, and not just incorporating them as “one of us,” is an important way of letting the new change Saint Luke’s more into Christ.|
The best way I know to express my faith in God through my connection with Saint Luke’s is to treat my fellow parishioners as brothers and sisters in Christ and work with them to make Saint Luke’s and its people serve as Christ’s loving arms in the world. I also do my best to show strangers who walk through our doors—either for church or events like the rummage sale or a concert—that Saint Luke’s is a hands-on community of love and fellowship.
I offer support to those who lead various projects and I even occasionally offer to help lead a project.
Faith life doesn’t get easily expressed rationally. At various times, I am keenly aware of a relationship with God that underpins everything else.
Liturgical music is the pure divine emotion which inspires our choir. Bach’s B Minor Mass and Aquinas' Adoro Devote say it all, as far as I am concerned, but I also love that our Saint Luke's family looks like the whole world in microcosm. They are all beautiful, in so many ways, and it fills my heart with joy each moment which we share together.
When you walk in the door, for the very first time, you know that you are home and you are greeted in that way, too. We are like a small village even if we are in the middle of a huge city.
We try to do as much as we are able for those in our community and in the larger world, whose needs can seem overwhelmingly beyond our capacity, yet we remain an active, initmate, supportive, and caring community.
How many Episcopalians
does it take to make dinner?
I remember having my doubts about religion as I was growing up and I remember my mother’s strong faith and her telling me “If you pray, prepare for God’s different answer.”
I came back to church when planning a family. Love of God and love of neighbor has given my children a foundation and keeps me anchored.
The Church supports
serving and giving to others. Christ puts my life in perspective. The liturgy
and seasons of the church year, the sacred drama and mystery, I need these
in my life.
Sometimes, when I look back, after going through a hard period, I realize, O My God, the Spirit was my autopilot.
I was raised at Saint Luke’s, singing in the junior choir with director Harriet Morin making sure we knew we were singing not for our own glory but to the glory of God. My parents made it clear being a Christian was not just about going to church but about respecting and caring for others. Mr. Farley’s way of reading the Gospel made me listen closely. Mollie Smith’s Sunday School lessons were cultural adventures.
Why am I a member of the Episcopal Church?
The Biblical basis of the church, the celebration of the sacraments, and the importance of our exercise of reason and of our experience is why.
The Episcopal Church is not judgmental. I like the emphasis on inclusion and embracing and supporting as many people as possible in their search for a connection with God.
Praying shapes believing. The Episcopal Church is open to and for people where they are; our church is not dogmatic. I had no tie to any particular religious denomination. I stumbled into the Episcopal Church and was, immediately, spiritually at home.
In the Episcopal Church it is not about obligation but participation, not moral dictates but moral decision-making.
The Episcopal Church is open to others
—other cultures, colors, even other religions.
The election of Barbara Harris (first woman bishop, Suffragan of Massachusetts) and the role of women in the church impressed me. I knew the Episcopal Church would have good role models for my daughter.
“Come and See” what we are doing; but if you don’t want to, that’s ok too. I love that aspect of the Episcopal Church. I have always loved “The gifts of God for the people of God.”
My college advisor was
an Episcopal priest. He never talked to me about the Episcopal Church, never
urged me to worship in one, or even to be a Christian. Yet his way with me
and everything he taught me made me eventually look.
He invited me without ever saying it.
The structure and environment of the Episcopal Church is not oppressive; it is intimate.
Bishop Gene Robinson’s consecration reminds us we all have gifts. The church accepting his gifts is also the church accepting me.
The Episcopal Church
insists we use
our brains and not leave them at the door.
We are the perfect church for new young families with parents who were never really raised in any religion because we are tolerant, open, accepting.
I am from an Anglican family in the Bahamas. I looked at other denominations and religions in this country. In the Carolinas, I experienced the Episcopal Church, and it was not “a white church,” rather it was an experience of “the church.”
People can be more involved
in this church. It’s not limited to
going to the liturgy and having the priests run everything.
As a young child in church, I remember being confused—all of the adults up there at the altar. However, I also have an early memory of hearing the gospel story of the raising of Jarius’ daughter. Jesus cuts through all the adult confusion and chaos andbows down and touches that little girl. I felt touched too.
Christian is who I am. I didn’t have a choice; I didn’t need a choice. Christianity and Christ are all-important to me. Even when I was a child, it was important—fun and exciting. I can remember back to my Sunday School days: you got to screw in a red or green light bulb on a cross, to signal that you were present that day.
We celebrate the Holy Spirit entering us at baptism—maybe the Spirit enters even at birth. But it happens, whether we acknowledge it or not, deny it, or are unaware. What we celebrate is that we are never alone, even at the worst of times. This became very powerful for me because, when you think about it, at the end, each of us is, otherwise, alone.
Jesus is not a denomination,
not a structure, not a tradition.
Jesus Christ is the love of human and the love of God inextricably entwined. One of my earliest childhood memories is of my father—my seeing him, on his knees in prayer.
Why am I Christian?
We look at things as they are, yet we know Christ changes everything.
When Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” they needed to be prepared to respond with more than their tongues. So do we. Jesus teaches us how to hear and be God’s Word.
My grandmother’s love of Christ became my love of Christ.My parents never pushed religion or talked about it much. Yet, Jesus resonated strongly with me.
Religion was talked about a lot in my family. In college I even explored Hare Krishna. My search suggested all religions have similar themes; but my husband was an Episcopalian and I wanted to be a one church family. When my child was born, I became more intentional.
I believe in God, I always have;
but I don’t always
have the fortitude to do anything about it.
I remember Bishop Spong (former Bishop of Newark), writing about “Christians in exile.” I feel like an exile in between the culture we live in and my faith. We, the church, are a counter culture now and there’s a real culture war; it’s undeniable. And too many of the churches out there are talking Jesus but really leaving his love out of it. The Episcopal Church is far from perfect but we really try to wrestle faithfully.
The Book of Common Prayer opens my heart, mind and soul to God.
How do I express my faith in God through being a member of Saint Luke’s Church? Our doors open wide to all people. That’s how I stumbled into this church and that’s what I strive to keep going for others. I look to the Baptismal Covenant and seek to balance worship with service to others.
Saint Luke’s is geographically located in the middle of this nation’s diversity and change as well as all the distractions that have contributed to a decline in faith. Well, in the midst of all that, I try to stay faithful and be hopeful that we can grow and change in order to do God’s work. We areprecisely where the church needs to flower if there is going to be church.
I try to be available
in the ways that are needed.
When my sibling died, I felt a welcoming and sense of understanding that made all the difference.
The Gingerbread Players Present
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Gingerbread Bakers Guild