You are invited to read ahead the lessons for this coming Sunday and also read the reflections of a lay person in the congregation as he or she reflected on them.
What is not intended is for this to become another task or chore or obligation. Rather, it comes out of the Renewal Works survey results, and was shaped further by the working group's attention to two clear desires of those who answered the survey/inventory: to be better grounded in the Bible and the Anglican Church (on practical and historical/spiritual levels).
This is offered as a tool for any who might miss this coming Sunday, to know what we are reading and thinking and responding to. There will be no quiz. We will be using other ways in addition for learning more about the Bible, and we welcome you to add your name to the list of those being lined up to respond in a similar manner for future readings. Please see the sign up sheet in the Narthex. We also welcome any suggestions about engaging the Bible that you think might work best for you.
Dear People of God at St. Luke's,
This last Sunday (September 25th) the Gospel reading for the day was the story about Lazarus-there are actually two, so this one is the beggar not the brother of Mary and Martha who died. Lazarus lay outside the palace of an unnamed person whom history and commentators have dubbed Dives (Greek for rich guy). Dives ignored Lazarus, or didn't actually take notice. When Dives died, he ended up in a place of torment, but Lazarus a place of reward: reversal of fortunes from this life to the next, earned by behavior in this one.
I don't believe that Jesus was condemning people who have wealth and resources; that interpretation is coupled with the epistle reading we had from I Timothy this last week. He is challenging those of significant means to not let that wealth be an end in itself. In Jesus' time to have such money and property could very well mean God's blessing and favor is on that person. One thing Jesus is pointing out in the background is that matters aren't that simple; Lazarus, for example, is not shown as a horrible sinner who deserved his fate.
Rather Jesus is asking us to look down-sometimes literally. To see our equivalent of Lazarus lying there as soon as we leave our homes. We don't have any diseased beggars lying about in Scituate-although we do in Boston and Cambridge. So for us this looking down means paying attention to the needs of our neighbors less fortunate than ourselves as they come to our attention.
And that's the nub of our lesson: to pay attention, with compassion and care.
Where does that lead us? To a great big gray area. Do I walk past the several people on Mass Ave. in Cambridge, carrying a bag with a couple new books, balancing a coffee cup in one hand and a sandwich in the other? Darned inconvenient, easier to be one of the crowd who purposefully don't make eye contact. Then there is local food pantry, Community Christmas, letters of appeal from five different organizations who help feed the hungry in the area, Episcopal Church organizations asking for money, Heifer, United Way, Red Cross...I bet you get the same sorts of letters; sorry, but they all hit the recycling bin unopened before I walk back into the house.
Oops...just forgot, I need to sort through clothes and take ones I don't need to Savers. I hear rumblings as well of a church school Thrift Store project, so maybe I'll hold on to them a bit longer.
In fact, even if I gave away all of my possessions, it would make no real difference to reality. (Well, Denise would probably have a thought or two...) Oh, it might help out for a very limited time to a number of people. Maybe it would help others do the same, but I doubt it...St. Francis drew a crew of friars in his day and time, but when Francis died it only took one generation for the church to build one of the biggest-and really most moving and beautiful-Basilicas. Wonderful, but not what Francis intended.
So all of this leaves me: with nagging guilt that I may get the balance wrong between self-care and care of others, for enough compassion concretely demonstrated and lived, but still with enough money to go out to dinner once a week (or on really long weeks, get food delivered...Riva's pizza makes this pie with white cheese, figs, prosciutto, and balsamic glaze). Vacations? Yes, most years.
The reality is that I can't save the world, none of us can. Having no compassion, giving nothing to people who are struggling financially, that's just not an option. So how much do I give? The OT commandment is for 10% of income. Ok, net income, after taxes. Jesus holds up 'love your neighbor as yourself' and that looks more like 50%. Mmmm, actually still working on that 10%.
Jesus saved the world for us, and God cares about the poor. We can at least commend people we see to God. We can open our hearts to love, and see where that leads, with no pre-determined result.
I know I'm also writing to a whole lot of people who do much for their neighbor; what you give to St. Luke's helps the church as a body to do more than individuals (most of us) can do individually. Most people reading this also give to many, many other good causes which make a difference.
I finished my sermon last Sunday with a suggestion, a challenge, an opportunity:
1. This week, "look down" and see if there is a cause, a family, an organization that catches your attention.
2. In church this Sunday you'll be given a card to fill out asking just for the name (and if need be, a bit more identifying information). You'll put that in the offering basket.
3. I'll tally up the various causes and make a list of them to post on the following Sunday.
4. Be in church then on October 9th to vote- let's say you get two votes expressed with those colorful adhesive dots- and in the Narthex , we'll have that list. And then the top 2-3 good causes will become possible recipients of our volunteer time, use of our skills and talents and donations of money.
I would like to resurrect an Outreach Committee that would then help make the projects happen; serving at level of organization might be a good fit for those who don't have the money or ability to answer the call, but might give time and energy to help publicize and organize.
Right now, as a congregation, we give our resources to Community Dinner, Heifer International (and our ongoing bee project through Sunday School), have a commitment to the food pantry, and serve lunch in Brockton to the homeless on every 5th Saturday (so 5x a year). We sign up and help with common cathedral, the outreach to the homeless on Boston Common, and we have members who volunteer each year for Appalachian Service Project. There's another, equivalent organization that works on a local basis I just heard from-I'm looking forward to hearing more. Our woman's group knits and sends healing shawls locally, nationally, and internationally.
As with almost every great project in any congregation, something gets started with great enthusiasm and over time it falls to just a few returning people to keep it up. That's just the life cycle of these sorts of things. But as a whole, given the number of faithful people at St. Luke's, we have in the past and perhaps in the near future, be able to commit to other needs...maybe ones that aren't as food centered. Who knows? Well, the Spirit does. We'll just have to wait to hear what the Spirit is saying to us.
Finally, thank you. Thank you for what you have given in the past, whether anyone else knows about it or not. Thank you for caring, loving, being vulnerable. It can be tiring, challenging, but so much better than the alternative of not caring. Thank you for being the people of God. We certainly have some wonderful, ordinary, not-perfect but working on it people in our lives directly because we are part of this community.
Yours in Christ,
Church School News
Church School got off to a spectacular start on September 11th with activities, signups, lots of smiling faces, and the blessing by Fr. Grant of our beautiful new playground. (And of course the new playground equipment was "broken in" by an enthusiastic group of our church schoolers!) We are so excited to see many familiar as well as several new faces in our classrooms, and we are looking forward to a spectacular year of Tending Our Roots and watching all the children grow and flourish in their faith. We are so blessed to have a talented and enthusiastic group of church school teachers this year, and they have been diligently preparing to provide a fun, engaging, and educational environment for the kids. If you missed the beginning of church school, however, don't despair! Registration is open/rolling and we welcome families and kids to come join us throughout the year.
October 2nd is a special day because we will be talking about St. Francis, and we have some special activities planned around that lesson.
Additionally, autumn is fall planting time and we plan to have a bulb planting activity at the church for the kids in the upcoming weeks. What a great way to help them understand the "Tending Our Roots" theme!
There are no church school classes on October 9th.
Seventh, eighth, and ninth graders are invited to get involved with our new Teen Leadership program. Please contact Kittie or Bethany to get more details on this novel approach to active learning, leadership opportunities, spiritual growth, and community service for our teens!
October 16th will welcome the beginning of our church school fundraisers and community service project. This year, we will be working on outreach through a number of age appropriate activities, and we also have plans to participate in a coloring book drive!
Thanks for a great beginning to the church school year-we are excited for the opportunity to teach and learn!
Our Confirmands this year are: Maddy Foley, Matt Foley, Emily McKerrow, Eliza McKerrow, Danny Stratton and Lucy Smith led by Father Michael Marrone. Please keep them in your prayers.
This fall, in various ways-sermons, prayers, resources available on-line through our parish website,
for links, written pieces in the bulletin, in the regular Thursday email blast, and our newsletter, The Mission Tidings. If you are not currently receiving the electronic weekly and monthly newsletters and would like to, please let Grant or the office know.
Here is the first set of facts, that have appeared in the weekly bulletin and in the Thursday email blast. Try to fill in the blanks; answers are found elsewhere in this newsletter.
We start with how the Christian faith reached the British/Celtic isles because so much of the Anglican/Episcopal church today was shaped by the political, historical, and geographical peculiarities of England.
The Christian faith starts with Jesus and his followers, also the center of Jewish faith, in the city of _________________.
, a Jew, persecutes Christians, then converts...but none of the other Apostles trust him. So he travels widely throughout the Roman Empire and starts new churches.
: One of Paul's churches was there, the center of the Empire. Christianity isn't recognized as a legal religion, but still it travels where the Empire does.
: Although the Romans invaded in 43 A. D., the first signs of the faith dates to 180 A.D. At this point none of the nations we know now-Italy, Germany, Spain, and England-were unified countries. Local holders of power ruled in small areas.
--St. A__________ is the first Christian martyr in England, some say in 209 in the persecution of Emperor Septimus Severius (any Harry Potter geeks out there sitting up a little straighter?), others a century later under Diocletian. He was a pagan Roman soldier who met a Christian priest and converted. When soldiers came to arrest the priest, Alban exchanged clothing with the priest; when he refused to renounce his faith he was beheaded. A cathedral now stands near where he, and two others (the original priest in the story, alas, is one of them), just north and a bit west of London, in the southern end of England.
Tradition has St. P________ as active as a missionary in the late 5th c. Ireland; St. B_______, his female counterpart, in the same era.
There is no evidence available about Christianity's arrival until the 5th century, with St. Ninian, in the region of the Picts, now in a region of Scotland. But in the next 500 years I_____ will become the center for the faith, and not with bishops, but with monasteries.
At the end of the era in which the Roman Empire was the authority, and the British/Irish islands were the northern most outpost, Christianity had been established in several regions. Some would hold, others not. But for a few centuries the Christians of England developed a separate identity, liturgies, even to some extent theologies. This theme will continue until H_______ the ___'s break with Rome in the 16th c.
While one could argue that each region that knew separation from Rome during the Reformation had a unique culture-Germanic people for example-this is a uniquely cultural and geographical reality that started shaping Anglicanism long before it emerged.
Everywhere Christianity went the local gods and holy sites were 'baptized' or repurposed to Christian use, with an explanation of the holy once observed there was one of the elements actually of Christian belief. The people of the British Isles had a deep reverence for the holy in nature. This reality became reflected in what some describe as a gentler faith, one that honored women as spiritual leaders as well as men, and the local monasteries with their leaders as the religious authorities of the area; bishops, often sent from Rome, were recognized, but with power diminished. In some monasteries married monks were allowed, and their children inherited religious offices.
St. Patrick is maybe the most famous of the medieval saints, although there are many others of note: Ninian, Brigid, the Seven Saints of Brittany...Irish saints who left the islands and began the process of establishing monasteries on the European mainland.
In the writings presumably from Patrick:
".. after I had come to Ireland I daily used to feed cattle, and I prayed frequently during the day; the love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more, and the faith became stronger, and the spirit was stirred; so that in one day I said about a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same; so that I used to remain in the woods and in the mountains ... "
St. Patrick's Breastplate, which is in our Hymnal as well:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger....
... I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The three in one, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature has creation;
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word,
Praise to the Lord of my salvation
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Solitary wonderers, even away from the islands termed 'white martyrs,' connected to nature and reflected pre-Christian sensitives to nature joined to scripture that celebrated rivers, mountains, and forests mark the prayers of the unique liturgical observances. While later a conference in France would find the Celtic Christians falling under obedience and observance to the Pope, an inevitable sense of difference remained.
Harvest Fair Gift Baskets
Stop by the Narthex to pick up a list of ideas and suggested food products needed for our baskets. St. Lukers are asked to collect supplies and fillers and bring them in shopping bags or use their own baskets. We will use a classroom for assembly. Please remember to be considerate of Library programs as you enter and leave Dutton Hall.
Here's the schedule:
Sunday, Sept. 18: Go forth and gather. See the lists and sample basket in the Narthex for ideas.
Sunday, Oct. 16: Bring filler items, supplies and baskets to church. Can you help set up the workroom and sort products after church?
Monday, Oct. 17 - Friday, Oct. 21: Assemble Baskets! This is a multi tasked/all hands on process. Please come when you can and participate!
Tuesday, October 25: Cellophane Wrap Night! We need
20 PEOPLE to get the job done! No experience necessary! On the job training and many shared laughs!
Wednesday, Oct. 26- Friday, Oct. 28: Decorate Baskets! This is the most fun, let the ribbon fly!
Monday, Oct. 31 (day only!) till done!: Add description tickets to baskets.
Thursday, Nov. 3: Pricing Day! Fair Set Up!
Saturday, Nov. 5: FAIR DAY! Enjoy the Fair and Sell All Baskets!
The yearly outpouring of support by our St. Luke's community for this part of the Fair is heartwarming! Everyone is invited and encouraged to gather items and participate in the assembly and decoration process. Please know that all items are used and any extra food is donated to the Food Pantry. Thank you for your efforts to make this a successful Fair! Questions? Call Cheryl O'Grady, 508-209-3308 or email
Community Dinner- October 23rd
This month's meal will feature roast pork and gingerbread. Please sign up in the Narthex - recipes provided. Thanks for your continued support!
The Table- Sat. October 29th
Volunteers are needed to help serve the meal at the Table at MainSpring in Brockton on Saturday, October 29th. A good opportunity for teens to earn community service hours. Please sign up in the narthex or contact Joan Power for more information at 545-9650.
Acupuncture and Herb Service is Here
Dear Folks from Saint Luke's,
My name is Xuemei Cao, my family and I have been members of Saint Luke's for over 10 years since we moved into Scituate in 2003. My daughter Nikki C. Yang grew up with Junior Choir at Saint Luke's and is off for college now. I have recently completed my MS degree in both Acupuncture and Herb medicine, and opened my clinic here in Scituate. The following is a brief introduction of my business:
Cao's Acupuncture & Herb Clinic
97 Stockbridge Rd, Scituate, MA 02066
Phone: (781) 378-1886
Xuemei Cao, Lic. Ac. MAOM., PhD. is a licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist, National Board Certified with Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Do you want to feel better with Acupuncture & Herbal medicine treatment? Call now to make your appointment at 781-378-1886. There will be a discount for family members of Saint Luke's Episcopal Church. We are one community!
4. St. Alban
8. Henry VIII