Website Shep Staff Easter 2018

Weekly Word from the Fold – May 26, 2016

WEEKLY WORD FROM THE FOLD

Memorial Day and Collective Memory

For many of us, Memorial Day marks the start of summer, barbecues in the back yard and a change of pace as weekend trips present themselves. Memorial Day also has poignancy about it as the nation contemplates all the troops who have died while serving in the U.S. military.

Historical Background
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, an occasion to remember the fallen on both sides of the American Civil War. In the early part of the 20th Century its meaning was expanded to include all Americans who lost their lives in the theater of war. It became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Collective Memory
As a person of faith, I appreciate rituals, both civic and religious. Therefore I am a keen supporter of maintaining cultural and collective memory through national and local commemorations of the dead that combine prayer, reverence and gratitude. Here are a few points to bear in mind as Memorial Day approaches:
• It is an event that educates young people about our history.
• This is a cultural event which reminds us of how being in the world may require sacrifice and embrace loss.
• It makes our heritage visible and reminds us of the importance of not entering into foreign and domestic wars out of bombast or on false account.
Personal Memory
While I have not had the dreadful privilege of serving my country in combat, I do appreciate the opportunity to enter into retrospective contemplation by allowing the national and collective memory to become my own.

At CGS this weekend we will honor our own veterans as we give thanks to God for the freedoms that are so easily take for granted as we go about our daily round.

See you Sunday,

Gareth

Website Shep Staff Easter 2018

Weekly Word from the Fold – May 19, 2016

WEEKLY WORD FROM THE FOLD

Hopeful Transitions

This past weekend I did a wedding in Lexington, KY. My brother-in-law Tom, got married to his sweetheart Suzanne. Their exchange of vows was a public declaration of what had already come to pass between them over time. They had, in effect, made the transition from being two committed singletons to being a married couple surrounded by the family and friends who know and love them.

It is the notion of marking “loving and significant transitions” that I want to briefly explore this week, particularly as it relates to our graduating Seniors. This coming Sunday our graduating class will lead worship at the late service as a way of expressing what is dear to them (our church, their family and friends). They have chosen the music (Christian camp songs), are preaching and basically leading the service.

It promises to be a significant occasion and here’s why:
There always has to be “permission granted” during transitions to hold on to things that are dear to one’s self, the community of friends and family that have been nurturing over time. By leading worship on Sunday, our Seniors are letting us know that their faith formation in the community has been and will continue to be significant to them.

T.S. Eliot’s oft-quoted line from Little Gidding comes to mind, “And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” Every life transition has a beginning, an intermediate point, and an end. Graduating High School is a significant end point and so is leaving one’s home church. I am very glad that our graduates are making a “good end” of their time at CGS by saying a proper goodbye with gratitude to the community and to God. Plus, it’s an occasion to recognize the contributions made by this group of young Christian men and women.

Here’s my closing thought:
Cultivating a sense of gratitude and appreciation is the positive cognitive bridge into what is coming next, the “new.” Being grateful and appreciative for education, faith formation, for family and friends opens up the spiritual space one needs to embrace the future with optimism and a God-given purpose.

See you Sunday,

Gareth

Website Shep Staff Easter 2018

Weekly Word from the Fold – May 12, 2016

WEEKLY WORD FROM THE FOLD

Celebrate the Church’s Birthday this Sunday

The Feast of Pentecost (Greek for “50th day”) is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter, which this year falls this coming Sunday.

So what’s it all about?
• On this day Mother Church recalls the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles (eyewitnesses) to Jesus’s resurrection.
• After receiving the power and various spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, the apostles began spreading the news about the Resurrection, thus establishing the earliest expression of Church. Hence we can literally wish Mother Church a very Happy Birthday!
• Although Christmas and Easter are considered the High Holy Days of the Christian Calendar, Pentecost is equally important and has a very celebratory air about it.
Here are a few ways you and your loved ones can get into the Pentecost Spirit:
• Celebrate Pentecost like any other birthday; Use a red tablecloth and napkins at Sunday lunch.
• Order a red velvet cake and have it with ice cream for dessert.
• Wear something red for church on Pentecost. I wear bright red golfing pants that literally hurt the eyes of the bedazzled beholder.
• Best of all you, too, can match the color of the vestments worn by the Clergy to symbolize the tongues of that flamed over the heads of the Apostles on Pentecost.
By attending on Sunday you can help to make the Feast of Pentecost a truly celebratory one, in the CGS tradition. Let’s become powerful signs of the Holy Spirit going out into the world to do the work of the Gospel.

Are you Reddy?

I have every confidence that you will answer God’s Call!

Gareth

Website Shep Staff Easter 2018

Weekly Word from the Fold – May 5, 2016

WEEKLY WORD FROM THE FOLD

A Green-Eyed Approach

Just over a week ago on Earth Day, the heads of state of 175 countries went to the United Nations Headquarters in NYC and signed the Paris Agreement. In a nutshell, this agreement unites the world’s nations in a single effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions on a scale that is nothing short of historic.

However, it is up to all of us to ensure that our elected officials honor the Paris Accord as well as adopt personal practices to help curb Climate Change. In other words, it’s time to step up our game and accelerate our efforts to curb the effects of our misuse of the planet.

Those of you who had time to click open the Earth Day e-blast from a couple of weeks ago will be aware that the Creation Care Team has put together a 10 question Green Survey in an effort to take a snapshot of where we are as households and as a congregation, in our efforts to care for God’s Creation.

To date we have had 17 respondents to the survey and intend to close it out on May 9. So, in a spirit of appreciation for all the work that we have done as a church over the last five years, I ask that you take 10 minutes to fill out the survey linked here.

See you Sunday,

Gareth

Website Shep Staff Easter 2018

Weekly Word from the Fold – Apr 28, 2016

WEEKLY WORD FROM THE FOLD

The Whole in Three Parts

Sunday promises to be a day that is “more than the sum of its parts” due to the synergy between our worship, all-parish meeting and mission-driven social gathering in the afternoon.

Part One
Our primary purpose as a community is to gather for worship to raise our collective “God Consciousness” and name the blessing that emerges as we gather for worship before God. We come as we are, each with our own integrity, each with a desire to connect with a community that is pro-participation and anti-perfection. As Jesus said, “When two or three are gathered in my name, I will be in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20). I hope you’ll add your presence to beat out Jesus’ minimal requirement of “two or three.”

Part Two
Flowing directly from our time in the Sanctuary, we will gather in the Parish Hall for a brief presentation of our church finances as part of the Supplemental Pledge Drive. Sounds like a bit of a downer but actually it’s a healthy thing for any community to do mid-year especially in light of the recent mailing asking all of us to make an extra pledge. Our Wardens, Debby and Wendy, will present a colorful, clear and visually-friendly powerpoint presentation put together by our treasurer Jason. In the spirit of any co-operative gathering there will be time during the Q&A to ask clarifying questions, raise concerns and to share ideas.

Part Three
As a community named after the “Good Shepherd” we must strive to be tender hearted and to embody self-sacrificial love, a high calling for any community. Individually we all struggle to live up to Jesus’ example but together we will embody him as we gather for the Esperanza Academy Benefit BBQ this Sunday at 5:00pm. We have food for 100 people and have 80 RSVPs. So go ahead, make this fundraiser a super social success. Bring a salad or dessert if you can or just your sweet self. No admission charge, just a basket for “freewill offerings.”

So, there you have it, church this Sunday will be more than equal to the sum of its parts so go ahead put yourself into the whole equation.

Gareth

Website Shep Staff Easter 2018

Weekly Word from the Fold – Apr 21, 2016

Tomorrow is Earth Day 2016

So Happy Earth Day to you, inhabitant of this lush and fertile planet. Isn’t it mind-blowing that the conditions of the Bang Bang were so mathematically perfect for the emergence of life here? Who knew that evolution itself would result in a conscious, self-reflective human mind capable of contemplating its own existence and that of a Creator God? Well, that we can do and more besides!

By the Grace of God our human minds also allow us to scientifically measure our negative impact on this lush and fertile planet. After decades of confusion, it is now clear that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses (including carbon dioxide) affect global temperatures. We can say with almost certainty that the warming of the Earth we are witnessing is a result of greenhouse gas emissions that began with the Industrial Revolution.

So, here we stand just like Adam and Eve, who having eaten the big red apple now know the nature of our own sin; we humans are driving up the temperature of our planet and it is having widespread and consequential climatic impacts across the globe.

As a church, we are playing our part in the global attempt to keep temperatures from rising above 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures. Since 2012 the Sustainable Use Committee has been working with the diocese to make our church more energy efficient and less polluting. To date we have received grants from the diocese amounting to $22,950 as well as investing our own capital in a variety of energy-saving projects (such as new boilers, parking lot lights, roof insulation, an on-demand hot water heater and LED light fixtures in many parts of the building). This has been a major four year effort for a small and dedicated team led by Bev Ridpath.

This Sunday (and next) at the late service we will show our appreciation for this small band of eco-Christians as they transition from being known as the Sustainable Use Committee to the all-new Creation Care Team. In a spirit of appreciation for their work I invite you to fill out a short Creation Care survey to help them (and all of us) better understand of how we, as a congregation, are doing in our efforts to combat climate change.

See you Sunday,

Gareth