March / April 2015
FROM OUR RECTOR
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am often frustrated by the casual attitudes that have invaded every aspect of our lives. Manners, language and traditions all seem to fall by the wayside.
The church of Christ today suffers from casual attitudes as well. Inconvenience is an oft quoted excuse for why we don’t participate in church events. And by convenient I mean to give a few examples that are by no means exhaustive:
Christ is eternal, he is always here for us. He is accessible anywhere, anytime. Sometimes that can cause us to take him for granted. But just because we take him for granted doesn’t mean he will go away, to the contrary. The same cannot be said for our church. We take for granted that church will always be here. Folks, Protestant church attendance is in decline around the country. Our church is bucking that trend but not completely immune to it. You can see in the swings of attendance from one Sunday to the next that with the fact that many of our parishioners are otherwise occupied and unable to attend worship. IF we are honest with ourselves, we can all say we’ve come up with excuses from time to time to justify not participating in regular, scheduled worship. I hope that you will give a little reflection on your part to the things that keep you from worshipping here and how you might resolve that more often in your favor, in your time worshipping our Lord.
Holy Week is a natural time of reflection. I ask that you reflect on your own list of reasons that might you from attending one of our12 worship services offered that week. Make Holy Week an “excuse free” week for worship. See how it feels to be in community, worshipping the creator of all you see and enjoy and watching the drama unfold as we experience the last week of Jesus’ life. I look forward to worshipping with you this week and every chance we get.
FROM BETH PHILLIPS, OUR ASSISTING PRIEST
Lent is almost over as I write this, and Father Jim and I just spotted the sweet green top of a crocus pushing up from the ground in his garden. It is time for spring-cleaning. I am reflecting on my Lenten practices this season and on the gospel passage from the lectionary a few weeks ago when Jesus overturned the tables in the temple. I am wondering if both don’t serve some kind of spring-cleaning purpose in the spiritual sense. That gospel passage is often referred to as the “Cleansing of the Temple.” Similarly, when we fast from Facebook or sweets or other behaviors we are supposed to be making room for God. It’s more than a 40-day resolution, but an expectation that we come out fundamentally changed on the other side of the Lenten journey. We are supposed to let Lent change us for life. Unlike Vegas, what happens during Lent is not supposed to stay in Lent.
As I was thinking about this type of spring spiritual cleaning and making more room for God in our lives I ran across this in The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff when he was describing the difference between emptiness and loneliness:
Emptiness cleans out the messy mind and charges up the batteries of spiritual energy. Many people are afraid of Emptiness, however, because it reminds them of Loneliness. Everything has to be filled in, it seemsappointment books, hillsides, vacant lotsbut when all the spaces are filled, the Loneliness really begins.
I wonder if some of our business and how every single moment of our lives seem to be planned doesn’t have something to do with this fear of loneliness or a fear of what we might hear when we stop and listen to that still small voice. Hopefully, your Lenten journey has cleared out some of that business so that you can be filled with abundance of what God wants for you. That is exactly what this Lent has been for me a clearing out of the cobwebs and lots and lots of junk so that I can be filled with more God. It has not been easy. I always tend to think that I know what is better for me than God does. My will often gets in the way of God’s will. In the end though, once I have surrendered, often after a long 40-day long brawl, I get a glimpse of the Light. The Light has and is coming into the world. My prayer is that your Lenten practice has created more room in you for the Divine and prepared you to proclaim the resurrection having walked through the wilderness and been fundamentally changed by the journey.
May you have a joyful Easter,
Holy Week Services
Palm Sunday: 7:45am, 9am & 11am
Maundy Thursday: 6:30pm (begins in the parish hall)
Good Friday: Noon, 2pm (for children) & 7:30pm
Great Vigil of Easter: Saturday 7:30pm
Easter Sunday: 7:45am, 9am & 11am
You are most welcome!
MAUNDY THURSDAY YOUTH OVERNIGHT
Our youth in grades 7-12 will gather for the annual lock-in Thursday evening, April 2 beginning at 10:30pm, ending at 7:00am Good Friday morning. Please contact Alice Meade at 845.820.9656 or firstname.lastname@example.org if your youth plans to attend.
EASTER EGG HUNT
All youth ages 10 and under are invited to hunt for Easter eggs on Easter Sunday at 10:15am. Bring your Easter basket and join in the fun collecting eggs and treats!
EASTER ALTAR FLOWERS
You may purchase Easter altar flowers in memory of, or in thanksgiving for, the ones you love. Envelopes to order flowers can be found in the church pews. Suggested donation: $25.
Need apple butter for your Easter ham? There are a few jars available on the table outside the double-doors that lead to the Parish House hallway and in lobby area of the Parish Hall. Hurry before they’re all gone!
SPRING LUNCHEON FOR SENIORS: APRIL 8
Calling all seniors for a springtime get together! Join us at Noon on Wednesday, April 8 in the Parish Hall for fellowship and a tasty lunch of soup, sandwiches and dessert. If we can help with transportation, please let us know. Kindly RSVP to Lisa Turner 845.545.4433 or Cathy Placido 845.986.3912 no later than Friday, April 3.
IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT GROCERY GIFT CARD SALES
With your planning purposes in mind, please be advised that grocery store gift cards will NOT be sold on Easter weekend. Be sure to stock up on Palm Sunday for all your holiday shopping needs!
I wish to take this opportunity to reflect on Christ Church Stewardship Season 2015. While thinking on how to thank everyone for their generous participation, it occurred to me that stewardship, partially defined as “…the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care (Merriam-Webster)”, is an active verb that we delicately and purposefully participate in each day as much as it is a noun describing a season that will soon pass into memory. With 111 pledges to date and more than $280,000 pledged (I will leave you to do the math to ascertain average family pledging), together we revel in our collective accomplishment.
But even as we took pause to count our blessings at our Annual Meeting, the call went out asking you to increase your tithe by 10% to help close the gap on a budget shortfall. Again you responded and to date 22 pledges were increased. I would ask that all of you reading this note today would consider raising your pledge. Remember: Stewardship is not only a season; it is a daily state of mind as well.
To paraphrase Teresa of Avila (1550-1582), “Christ has no hands but yours.” These words from her work Christ Has No Body, serve as marching orders even today. Similarly, let us continue to use our hands, together with our hearts and our resources, to do God’s work in all that we undertake here at Christ Church and in our daily lives.
Thank you for your generosity during Stewardship Season, and each and every day!
CHRIST CHURCH RECTOR’S SCHOLARSHIP: 2014-2015
The Christ Church Rector’s Scholarship is given to a graduating high school senior who has been accepted into a post-secondary program of study. The $1000 scholarship will be awarded in the spring; the check will be sent directly to the institution where the student will enroll the following fall. The primary criterion for this scholarship is involvement in and service to Christ Church, Warwick.
Applicants submit 1) a brief essay (500-1000 words) about their relationship to Christ Church, 2) a CV that includes all Christ Church activities and service, and 3) a list of post-secondary institutions to which he or she has applied, indicating acceptances.
Applications should be submitted in an envelope clearly marked “Rector’s Scholarship” to the Christ Church Office (50 South Street, Warwick, NY 10990) no later than May 1, 2015. Entries will be photocopied and have names removed so that they might be read anonymously. A small committee will meet to read the applications together. They will try to reach consensus about the most-deserving candidate. When consensus cannot be reached or when the Rector disagrees, the Rector makes the final decision.
The Scholarship will be given in its entirety to one student.
Criteria for Evaluating Applicants
1. Completed application by due date.
2. Deep (rather than broad) involvement in one or more areas of the church.
3. Clear growth in Christian faith and character.
4. Intention to pursue post-secondary education, substantiated by acceptance to a post-secondary institution.
The candidate should address the following: 1) Participation in Christ Church, 2) Witness to Christian faith in word and deed, and 3) growth in relationship with God in Christ.
NOTES FROM THE CHURCH HISTORIAN
In 1909, Mr. Thomas Powell Fowler, a summer resident of Warwick Village and a member of Christ Church, donated to the village a large portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, in order to enhance our celebration here of Mr. Lincoln’s 100th birthday. He had been contacted by The Rev. Ezra T. Sanford, also a resident of Warwick and New York City. He was a friend of the artist involved (Mr. C. Brower Darst) and assured Mr. Fowler that the village would love to have this portrait. Mr. Fowler, straightway, paid for it. One year later the village acquired a companion portrait of Mr. W.H. Seward, Lincoln’s Secretary of State. Both paintings hung together in the village hall for many years until the Seward painting was put on permanent loan to The Seward Institute. No one seems to know when this occurred. There is no record of what happened to the Lincoln portrait here in Warwick nor in Florida. Both towns are looking for it so we can display it at Warwick Village’s Celebration of its 150th year of incorporation in 2017.
THIS QUERRY IS ESPECIALLY DIRECTED TO OUR SENIORS!! Please think back to the 1950-1970 period. Do you remember seeing the portraits hanging together? If so, when? Have you heard any stories of these portraits or their whereabouts? If you have any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please call me at 845.986.7841 or the Warwick Historical Society Archives at 845.986.3236. Let’s solve this history mystery together!
YOGA MONDAYS AT CHRIST CHURCH
Margaret Johnson, RN & Yoga Instructor, continues to teach Gentle Yoga every Monday evening at 7pm in the parish hall. This class is great for beginners or anyone looking to explore a gentle yoga practice and is accessible to all fitness levels. Gentle Yoga promotes safety, comfort and proper spinal alignment while cultivating a peaceful mind.
Just drop in - no need to register. Invite your friends and family. All are welcome - both male and female. Cost: $10 per session. Bring a yoga mat!
You may contact Margaret with questions at email@example.com or by calling 845-986-9201.