FROM OUR RECTOR
Dear Special Snowflakes and Children of God,
I hope you recognize the reference from my sermon on October 26 in this salutation. If not, I invite you to see the video on our Christ Church website under the “Sermons” button.
It is that time of year that we speak to you about giving back to God’s church here in Warwick a portion of what God has given you. I believe giving is an act of faith. It is knowing that you can give generously as God has given to you. Giving, in whatever form, is an expression of gratitude. Stewardship reminds us that all that we have and all that we are is a gift from God. We are, therefore, stewards of God’s gifts during our lifetime.
Discerning and carrying out God’s will is the primary purpose of our lives.so few in the world ever become aware of this fact. If you are reading this, you are truly a Special Snowflake, in the sense that you are aware that the gifts you have been given, time talent and treasure, were given to you to help further God’s kingdom.
Our annual Stewardship campaign provides valuable time for us to witness how God has influenced our lives. It is a time to reflect on why we give, the impact and joy that giving has, and how our gifts can be used for the mission of our church. Over the course of the next few Sundays, parishioners will witness to their reasons for giving and provide valuable insight to each of us during the Sunday services at 9:00 and 11:00am. I hope you will make an effort to attend these services and support your fellow parishioners as they share a part of their spiritual journey.
Mark Arnowitz, cheerfully and immediately, accepted the challenge of being this year’s Stewardship Chairperson. I can’t thank him enough. His enthusiasm is infectious as he continues to demonstrate his love for this place. Christ Church is truly doing God’s work in our part of the kingdom. Our celestial stock is UP and we have a bright future furthering God’s mission here.
Please join us in support with thanksgiving and the joy of being together, here, in this special place.
“God comes right out and tells us why he gives us more money than we need. It's not so we can find more ways to spend it. It's not so we can indulge ourselves and spoil our children. It's not so we can insulate ourselves from needing God's provision. It's so we can give and give generously.”
(2 Corinthians 8:14; 9:11)
~ Randy Alcorn - Money, Possessions and Eternity
FROM BETH PHILLIPS, OUR ASSISTING PRIEST
Dear Fellow Pilgrims:
The lower Hudson River Valley is truly a special place in the fall. I cannot think of any place more beautiful this time year. The big blue skies filled with white, puffy cumulus clouds have been the subject of paintings for centuries. The spectacular symphony of colors in the trees call like sirens to thousands of visitors each year. The Farmers’ Market showcases the plentitude of produce we enjoy from the surrounding farms of the Black Dirt Region. From the breathtaking beauty of nature that surrounds us, to the abundance and availability of food, to the stability and peacefulness of our geographical area, I become more acutely aware of just how much for which we have to be grateful. My immediate personal concerns, both large and small, get put into perspective. is during this time of year, in this amazing valley, that Thomas Merton’s words resonate most with me:
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything God has given us -
and God has given us everything.
There have been times, however, when I have not always felt so grateful that is when I began to keep a gratitude journal. I find it to be an insightful and rewarding spiritual discipline, especially during difficult times. It helps me see the bigger picture and see where God is acting in my life. Lately, I have been practicing “Grateful Monday” for the last couple of months on Facebook. Additionally, I try to post from time to time acts of generosity that I have witnessed. These posts tend to get an amazing response. I’ve been told that gratitude and generosity go hand in hand and are contagious. I have found that to be true in my own life, even during the darkest of days.
Most recently, two sociologists from Notre Dame, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson, published a book In The Paradox of Generosity, Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose, in which they provide empirical evidence of the benefits of generosity. Their research shows that in, “Holding onto what we possess, we diminish its long-term value to us. By always protecting ourselves against future uncertainties and misfortunes, we are affected in ways that make us more anxious about uncertainties and vulnerable to future misfortunes.” In short, Smith writes, “By failing to care for others, we do not properly take care of ourselves.” Perhaps the spiritually corollary to this is that generosity requires a faith and trust in God to provide for us so that we may be generous in providing for each other. I imagine that this is, indeed, just how God does act through, with and among us.
Where has God been generous with you in your life? For what are you most grateful? How have you expressed your gratitude? We will be hearing some of your answers to these questions as we embark on our stewardship campaign. I would love to hear your story and how God is moving in your life.
Blessings and Peace,
PARISH THANKSGIVING SUPPER
Once again, we will gather as a parish family to celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday, November 23 at 4:00pm in the Parish Hall. For those who have never attended one of these festive potluck suppers, here’s how it works. Families sign up to indicate that they plan to attend, providing their best guess as to how many people will be in their party. They also sign up to bring something to share. Whether you’re able to roast and contribute your “free” Shop Rite turkey, Grandma’s extra-special stuffing or your favorite pie, or whether you would prefer to donate dinner napkins or apple cider, there’ll be an opportunity to contribute. We will also need assistance with setting up tables and chairs in the Parish Hall and of course, with clean-up.
All are welcome, including friends and family who may be visiting from out of town, or a neighbor who might enjoy some home-cooked food and holiday companionship. All we ask is that you sign up! Please call the Parish Office if you will not be able to sign up in person; otherwise, the ubiquitous clipboards and sign-up sheets will be circulating at worship services. Thank you!
Liz Houlton and Lisa Laico
THE 2014 HOLIDAY BASKET PROGRAM
A number of our parishioners have signed up to adopt a family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or both. The baskets for Thanksgiving must be delivered to the Warwick United Methodist Church on Tues, November 25, between 6:00am & 11:00am.you all for your generosity.
For those who would prefer to make a cash contribution, the Ecumenical Council will happily receive donations by check. You may mail your check to the Warwick United Methodist Church at: 135 Forester Avenue, Warwick, NY 10990.
It’s not too late to adopt a family for Christmas, as more people request dinner baskets for Christmas than for Thanksgiving. You may contact the Church Office for a donor form.
Questions? Contact Program Chairman Katharine Caufield at email@example.com calling 845-986-0945.
YOGA MONDAY NEWS
Margaret Johnson will NO LONGER offer Chair Yoga at 9:30am on Mondays due to low attendance. She will continue to offer Gentle Yoga at 7pm on Mondays for $10 per class.
Apple season has come and gone and with it so has Applefest. Applefest is one of Christ Church’s biggest fundraisers and this year we were able to raise over $9000 for many of our outreach projects. Applefest would not be a success without the hard work of so many people. The day of the event the church comes to life at 5am with the breakfast crew arriving to prepare breakfast sandwiches followed quickly by many busy hands setting up tables, carrying out books, cooking and selling food, popping popcorn, selling apple butter, tending to the Thrift Shop and promoting the Shop Rite Raffle. A whirlwind of a day is cleaned up quickly by a few strong volunteers who give their time at the end of a long day to put away tables and restore the Parish Hall to its usual order. A big thank you to all the volunteers who came to help whether it was for an hour or two or the entire day. Your presence was noticed and appreciated.
RAFFLE FUNDRAISER 2014
Pre Sales (raffles sold prior to Applefest) 860
Raffles sold at Applefest 138
Overall Sales: 998 x $5 = $ 4,990
Less Cost of Prize: - $ 950
Net Proceeds: $ 4,040
The good news is these were our highest results yet in terms of overall sales! Our Christ Church “Pre-Sales” team did an outstanding job selling 85% of the 1,020 tickets distributed. THANK YOU EVERYONE!
On the other hand, these were our lowest results yet for Applefest Sunday. Our goal of selling 500 tickets at Applefest was hampered for the most part by this year’s obscured positioning of our ticket booth. Hopefully we can secure a more prominent location for it in 2015.
Nevertheless, this year’s raffle winner was Charley Johnston from West Milford, NJ, who did purchase one of those 138 tickets sold at Applefest (and yes, we shuffled the raffles up real well before Mother Beth drew his number!). Ironically, Charley was actually at Shop Rite when we called to declare him the winner. He and his wife very excitedly drove back to collect their $1000 gift card, then went straight back to Shop Rite for some ‘additional’ grocery shopping. A happy moment for both!
FINDING COURAGE, FINDING HOPE (Part 1 of 2)
The Episcopal Diocese of New York Committee on the Environment recently offered the all-day workshop Finding Courage. Finding Hope: Exploring the meaning of environmental stewardship in your church & community. The workshop at Trinity Church in Ossining was skillfully led and moderated by Rev. Canon Jeff Golliher. “Jeffrey Mark Golliher, PhD, is a cultural anthropologist and priest in the Episcopal Church and has traveled widely to understand the spiritual dimension of the environmental crisis. For more than ten years, he was Canon for Environmental Justice and Community Development at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan., he is a parish priest, community organizer and environmentalist, working with people who want to live more spiritually aware, healthy, and sustainable lives. As the environmental representative for the worldwide Anglican Communion at the United Nations, he has organized global conferences on spirituality, ecology, and community development; he has written and edited numerous books and articles on these subjects for the Anglican church and the United Nations.”
Food, Water, Energy: Keynote speaker was Paul Gallay. He is President of Riverkeeper, “the premier environmental watchdog organization that patrols the Hudson River to protect it from polluters.” Followed by Eucharist and lunch, the afternoon continued with a panel discussion on Food, (Sr. Catherine Grace, Community of the Holy Spirit), Water (George Potanvic, EDNY Committee on the Environment), and Energy (Steve Knight, BPI-certified green building practices energy expert and liaison to EDNY Committee on the Environment).
In place of a summary outline or synopsis I offer here thoughts and comments from presenters and participants. Please prayerfully consider the following and perhaps include them in meditation.
Spoken at the Gathering
Respectfully Submitted-Edward Sattler, CC Liaison to EDNY Committee on the Environment
NOTES FROM THE CHURCH HISTORIAN
Well … it’s that time of year again when we show our gratefulness for all that God has given us and for all that the people of Christ Church do for this community. It is also the time when we think about what we want to do in the coming year and how we are going to man and to fund all of our ministries and the running of our church plant. Yup! It’s Stewardship time! I thought you would like to know how we funded our work in the beginning years. In the 1850’s we rented a church and had a missionary pastor or two and those were rough years. The congregation consisted of three families with about 23 registered members and as many as 80 people attending a service in winter and 130 in summer. A typical collection plate might contain no more than a few dollars. The total income for the year with subscriptions might be $1000. By 1865 we had 16 registered families consisting of 80 people and were busy raising funds, mostly from well to do summer members, for a new church. Once we had that church, we were able to not only take in money from the collection plate but also to charge rent for the pews, with the most expensive being the front pews which cost $22. The rent for each subsequent pew went down a few dollars each, leaving the back pews and gallery free of charge. Collections were also taken up from the Sunday School children at this time. By the 1890’s we had stopped renting pews and were subsisting on plate collections and pledges from those who could afford to contribute in this way.
Through to the 1940’s members of the Vestry would visit each family in their homes and ask them to pledge. If money was needed for a special project like the building of a Rectory, the rector was relieved of his weekly duties (except for the leading of services) and he was expected to go door to door to raise funds. In the 1950’s & 1960’s, cards would be sent out to member families to ask for their pledges. If those cards did not get returned, somebody from the Vestry would visit you to ask why not. However, it is to be noted, that the membership always came through with whatever was needed to run the parish and we made ends meet with the use of missionary funds from the diocese some years, just so we could stay together as a parish and keep a Rector. No matter what, we were not going to let this parish go down, and this was before we had the quantity of ministries and outreach programs that we have today! And our history has been filled with the stories of amazing volunteerism too! From those who ran ministries to those who volunteered time, talents and materials to fix things here and keep all up and running. So lets be grateful that we are able to be together as family here, and pull together to see our place continue to flourish!
By the way, when you see our Sexton John Fasolo, remember to thank him for the amazing job he has done repainting the inside of our church! It was done with so much care and love!
Peace to all!