25 Jan

Newsletter, January 25

Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth,

states this week’s collect.  This is where the lines blur between the secular world and the religious world.  All day Friday and Saturday we have the Annual Convention of the Diocese, and on Sunday we have our own Annual Meeting here at St. Stephen’s.  We have to comply with both state laws for corporations and canon laws for churches.  Our meetings provide an opportunity to look back and take stock.  We get to elect new officers and members of our governing body, the Vestry.  We see the financials and are apprised of the Vestry planning for financing the next year.

What then is a Vestry and what are its responsibilities? Canon law states: “the Vestry, consisting of wardens and other members, is the legal representative of the parish “in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the Parish to its clergy” (Canon 1.14.2).  The main responsibilities of the Vestry, like any other governing body of any organization, is to define and articulate the mission of the congregation; select the rector; ensure effective organization and planning; ensure adequate resources in leadership and in financial stewardship; manage resources effectively and determine appropriate programs, policies and procedures have been developed and are followed. The Annual Meeting is the moment when that all comes together and we all get to see the big picture.  Together we make a difference to many lives as you will hear this weekend, but leadership in our highly intense world is increasingly difficult, and there are many competing, diverse demands on us all.  Your Vestry is seeking to explore new ways to do things and share the load, and we need all of you to help.  Let’s strengthen ourselves by worshipping together and remembering that we rely above all on God’s guidance and power. 

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11 Jan

Newsletter, January 11

 Rev. Sheelagh’s Thought For The Week
The Epiphany season is about Jesus as the “light of the world.”  In our everyday speech we use the idea of light and dark to convey deep meaning; some examples include “I’ve seen the light,” “enlightenment,” “you light up my life” and so on.  I wonder what we mean when we say these things?  And I wonder what we mean when we say Christ is the light of the world?  These things come from understandings that are born of myth, scripture and the passage of time – but they hold truth in and of themselves. As we go through the next few dark months of winter, let us rejoice in the places we see light.  Let us rejoice in the good things of our lives, and in the promise of God’s faithfulness throughout; “Happy are they who trust in the Lord!” says the psalmist.  I wonder in today’s world, just how much any of us really place our absolute trust in the Lord, and how much we really only trust in ourselves.  A lot of wondering on my part…What do you think?

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04 Jan

Newsletter, January 4

January 4, 2017
Happy New Year!
The new year brings us a moment to look back, let go and look forward, and it is fitting that we have the Baptism of Christ as our first service following the Epiphany.  Baptism is after all, a physical manifestation of looking back, letting go, being forgiven and moving on.
Let’s all take time this new year to let go of the negatives and forgive yourself the imperfect, judgemental and uncharitable things we all think, say and do. Let’s identify one or two key baptismal values we want to uphold and be faithful to our promises to Christ in them.  Let’s open our eyes to where God is at work in our neighborhood.  Blessings abound.  Count them.  And smile.  Everything looks and feels better when we smile, including us  +

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