25 Aug

Newsletter, August 24

Rev Sheelagh’s Sabbatical Notes
“If these stones could speak, they would shout…”

rainbow      churchwindow

I found God in the stones here. Places, ruins, rocks, the earth beneath my feet, where the holy ones have walked and talked and lived. Here, on Iona, I took off my sandals to stand on Holy ground. Just as in Jerusalem, where I laid my head against the bedrock, here I encountered the divine on the mountain path, by the loch, on the seashore, in the marbled stones, in the rain, wind and in the covenant of the myriad of rainbows.

“The ancient of days” echoes in the winds, in these island rocks formed billions of years ago. The landscape is shaped by cairns and barrows, burial places of ancient kings and clan chiefs. Macbeth and Banquo lie at rest here alongside St. Columba and St. Oran.

This is a place that has held the sacred moments of humanity in its hands.  It has borne witness to both the hope and strife of Christian life. The air is redolent with the ancient faerie tales of the old Celtic ways and the sunlit clouds illumine the holy whispers of this thin place.

For me Iona is a homecoming. A place where my witness of John’s Gospel in my heart faith is integrated with the essence of Celtic spirituality.

My soul has found her song.

I love the hope and joy of Celtic spirituality. It makes sense to me. Far from the penitential Augustinian spirituality that so shapes our tradition, the Celtic tradition harks back to a time when God is in and of all things. It is earthy, gritty, quotidian. It is almost too simple. God is love and all that God has created is good. Christ is the hope that banished once for all the fear of death. We are all constantly being reborn and transformed by our faith. Just as the winds and waters shape this island.

I bring back to you song and liturgy. I bring back to you word and witness; I bring back to you worship and welcome. And I take off my shoes, for tonight I stand, for just a little while longer, on holy ground.

And as I turn towards home,  I offer these lines from William Wordsworth.

Homeward we turn.
Isle of Columba’s Cell,
Where Christian piety’s soul-cheering spark
(Kindled from heaven between the lighted dark of time)
Shone like the morning star,

See you soon.

bythelake      sunsetclouds


June 1 – Sep 1June 1-Sep 1Rev. Sheelagh’s Sabbatical
August 22 – August 26Deliver by 5pmIHN Meal Deliveries at the Salvation Army
13 Trinity Place 1st Floor Cafe
August 23 – August 273:30pm-7:30pmDrumming Camp
August 27, Saturday5:30pm-7:30pmDrumming Camp Picnic & Performance
August 29 – Sep 2Deliver by 5pmIHN Meal Deliveries
IHN Headquarters
September 11, Sunday11amGrocery Gift Card Sunday
September 13, Tuesday11am-2pmSenior Luncheon
September 14, Wednesday7:30pm-10pmFinance Committee Meeting
September 17, Saturday10:30am-1pmChristine’s Kitchen
September 18, Sunday11am-12:30pmVestry Meeting

Serving at the Altar  8/28 & 9/4

8am Preacher: M. Walker
8am Reader: E. Maurer
8am Reader: C. Francis
10am Preacher: M. Walker
10am Readers
1. F. Taber
2. S. Polanco
10am Readers
1. B. Churchill
2. P. Wick
Chalicist: J. SoughanChalicist: D. Price
Ushers: O. & P. MooreUshers: S. & S. Landers
Altar Guild: N. Sieffert & J. JamesAltar Guild: C. Francis & A. Cole
Coffee Hour:   OpenCoffee Hour:  Welcome Back Breakfast hosted by M. & D. Price
Altar Flowers: OpenAltar Flowers: Open


If you would like to donate gift cards to directly help Louisiana flood victims, Ellen Pluta will be sending them to a friend in Louisiana who is working with people displaced by the flood and will distribute them directly.  Home Depot, Target or Visa are all terrific, in any amount.  You can bring to church on Sunday or drop in mail to Ellen. Thanks!

Ellen Pluta 132 Parkway Mountainside NJ 07092.  Call with any questions 908-347-8362.


Our IHN families are in need of dinners for the last two weeks of  August.  The families will be staying in a hotel due to work being done at IHN headquarters. Meals the first week,  8/22 – 8/26, should be delivered to the Salvation Army in Montclair.  13 Trinity Place – 1st floor cafe.  Underground parking is available. Meals the second week, 8/29 – 9/2,  should be delivered to IHN Headquarters Allergies:  pork, raspberries, apples, celery and peaches.

Please deliver food by 5:00pm.

Able to help? Contact Angie Benedict,  IHN Volunteer Manager
973-746-1400 angie@ihnessexnj.org 

DRUMMING CAMP   8/23-8/27
Daily schedule: Tuesday – Friday

3:30pm Vans arrive. Campers have a hearty snack (granola bars and fruit), followed by free play time on the grounds.
4:00-5:00pm Younger campers drum in the Parish Hall. Older campers do arts and crafts upstairs.
5:00-6:00pm Older campers drum in the Parish Hall. Younger campers do arts and crafts upstairs.
6:00-6:30pm Dinner in the Parish Hall.
6:30-7:15pm Outdoor sports and games. (Thursday – s’mores outside with Suzanne Holt).
7:15pm Circle time.
7:30pm Vans leave to take the campers home.

  • Yah-yah Kamate will serve as the drumming instructor
  • Kim Williams will assist Yah-yah with the drummers
  • Gary Jones, Fran Taber, and Susan Dinan will serve as co-directors with clearly defined responsibilities, so we will not be getting into one another’s way.
  • Reverend Kathleen will provide her calming and inspired presence.
  • Sara Ruth Dorn will manage dinner and snacks.  She will need helpers each night.  If you want to help with food pick-up, preparation, and/or service please let Sara Ruth know which evenings you are available (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday) and the times you can assist. She can be reached at 973-467-9847 or Fdorn231@aol.com.
  • Gesine Ehlers will coordinate arts and crafts.  If you want to assist in the arts room please let Susan Dinan know by responding to this message.
  • Grace Savoia-Di Gregorio and Miles Ben-Egypt will serve as camp counselors, with Miles in charges of sports since he has experience as a soccer coach.  Elizabeth Hawk will serve as a junior counselor.

Invitation to Drumming Performance and Picnic
Saturday August 27 5:30pm-7:30pm
St. Stephen’s Church is sponsoring this week a camp in which children of incarcerated parents are being given instruction in how to play drums.  The children also will engage in other activities.   This program will culminate on Saturday, 27 August, at 5:30 P.M., with a performance by the children.  Parishioners and friends of St. Stephen’s are invited to attend the performance, which will be held on the church grounds, and to remain afterwards for a picnic supper.  You are cordially invited to come.  Please let Sara Ruth Dorn know (by Friday noon, if possible) if you plan to remain for the picnic, so that we will have an accurate headcount for food preparation.

Reply to 973-467-9847 or fdorn231@AOL.com

Christine’s Kitchen
September 17, 2016 from 10:30am-1pm
We serve neighbors in need at Christine’s Kitchen at Holy Trinity in West Orange. Holy Trinity is located at Washington and Main Streets in West Orange.  Parking is on the street.  We can use entrees, fruit, and other foods, as well as volunteers.   If you feel like bringing something additional, do so!  Food will not go to waste.

If you want to volunteer or contribute call Claas at 908 451-0426

Coffee hosting and flowers
Please sign up with Susan Dinan for coffee hour.  Please Let Eugene or Claire know if you would like to donate flowers, please consider taking ONE Sunday in memory of a loved one, or in thanksgiving for an event.  Flowers are priced at $40, $50 or $60 for the two vases.

Sabbatical Prayer
Gracious God, in you we live and move and have our being: We pray that you guide Rev. Sheelagh during this intentional Sabbath time.  May she return to St. Stephen’s restored in body, mind and spirit.  We also pray that you bless this parish and all who come here.  May we carry out with joy the ministries to which we are called.  May this also be a time of intentional prayer and reflection for us. By your Spirit, empower all to be strengthened by the gifts you give and to be renewed as servants of God.  Amen.

If you have any dates or events that need adding to the St. Stephen’s Calendar please send them to Claire, and all articles and e-mails for the newsletter by NOON on Tuesday to church@ststephensmillburn.org.  Thank You.