May 21, 2020
 
 

How about a little theology today? (No, don't skip down the page yet!) Theology is of course wondering at the nature of God. What could be a better thing to do in this crisis time? So give me a minute!

If you checked on my Noonday Prayer offering today, you were reminded that today is Ascension Day, that confusing and wonderful feast day of the church that comes at the end of Eastertide. It is the day, Luke tells us, when the risen Christ, who has been appearing to and speaking and acting with the apostles, "withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven." They and we are left to imagine what this might mean. He tells them and us to go home and wait! Everything will be made clear. Well, such waiting is a spiritual challenge to us 'Easter people" who try to live knowing that when Jesus left the tomb he did so to be forever in our midst....to abide with us. 

So what's with going "up into heaven"? Well, I think my struggle and maybe yours is my schoolboy definition of heaven. What if we understand heaven as not just the bye and bye locale for those who've gone before us (and for each of us, if we're good)? What if we understand heaven as the geography of God's full realm? What if we understand heaven, not as a locale at all, but as God's love at work on earth today and beyond?

What if, as our Eastertide author, Jake Owensby writes, "heaven is shorthand for something far more thrilling and mind-blowing than a place good souls inhabit." ? Then, we can see something of the nature of God (theology) that makes a big difference to us today. Then we will see, writes Jake, that "God's presence...that place Jesus went to be near...will transform this battered and bruised world into a new heaven and a new earth."   

The Apostles, we're told, celebrated Jesus' ascension, as we are invited to as well. Why? Because they began to understand that the appearances of Christ they enjoyed in the fifty days of Easter, were soon to be experienced in a much larger world than their dusty Palestine. God's new heaven and new earth reaches every corner. Even mine, even yours...even every struggling nursing home and hospital ward and foodbank line.    Amen to that!

 
 

(Click here if you want to review today's Noon Prayer).  
 
Worship online at St. Alban's the 7th Sunday of Easter

We are a gathering people! 
On May 24th, the Seventh Sunday after Easter we will gather together online. 

You will receive a Zoom invitation and copies of the bulletins on Saturday with the live links for our faith-filled and stimulating offerings. 
  • 9:00 - 9:20 am "Gather for conversation in the Narthex" Zoom microphones will be open for morning greeting. 
  • 9:30  Morning Worship with Revs. Tim and Holly and Joel Pierce, Music Director
  • 10:30 Holy Experiment for children and families, led by Debbie.
  • 5:00 - 5:20 "Gather for conversation in the Narthex" Zoom microphones will be open for evening greeting.
  • 5:30   Celtic Eventide led by Tim and Holly
  • After Eventide stick around for Guided Conversation
Holy Experiment for Children and Families

Holy Experiment:  The Year in Review!
It's time for Jeopardy, as we review the Bible stories we covered this year: 
Psalm 8, Moses through The Wilderness, Jesus's Birth ... 
Noah's Ark (remember the beautiful wooden ark?) the Beatitudes, and Hosanna - Palm Sunday!

Join Debbie via Zoom Sunday, May 24th @ 10:30 am
Hope to see you then!

Contact 
Debbie @
  dfisher@stalbansmaine.org  if you have any questions.
 
Wednesday Evening...a good time will be had by all!

Wednesday, May 27 6:00-7:00 PM

Please plan to set aside one hour this week for a fun and formative Zoom discussion with Fr. Tim and the Rt. Rev. Jake Owensby, author of our Eastertide reader and Bishop of the Diocese of Western Louisiana. Very little homework is required and it will be posted to the whole parish on Monday. 

We have loved Jake's book and admired his wisdom so much that we invited him to join us for the last of our Eastertide gatherings. And he accepted! 

Do not worry if you have not been part of the Eastertide Wednesday book group! All are invited to this week's "class." You are very welcome.  
Jake has a bright and accessible blog called 
                             "Looking for God in all the messy places"

Welcome, Summer Seminarian Matt Roberts!

As has been our custom for many summers, St. Alban's welcomes a summer seminarian to serve with us the many weeks on Maine summers. This position has proved to be enormously rewarding for both the Parish and the student. This year we are blessed that Matthew Roberts, a rising senior at Yale Divinity School and a postulant for Holy Orders from the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas, will be start serving at St. Alban's next week. 

You will see Matt in church on Sunday 5/24, and we will make an Zoom introduction of you all!

Thankfully, Karen and Ed Rae have welcomed Matt into their new Cape Elizabeth home for his summer weeks among us. Their incredible generosity and warmth are so appreciated. Many thanks!

Our practice has been to include the seminarian in all facets of the parish ministry including preaching, teaching, administrative and formation tasks. Our prayer is that we all get to know him well!  

Camp Saint Alban's Update
St. Alban's clergy, vestry and Director of Children's & Family Formation have made difficult decision to postpone Camp St. Alban's, which was scheduled to take place the last week of August 2020. 

We were looking forward to hosting Group Publishing's "Athens - Paul's Journey to Share the Truth." It's a great program, so all are saddened that we will not be able to spend time this summer singing and dancing in Bonoff Hall, creating works of art in Thou Art, meeting Paul himself at the Grecian Marketplace, and sharing Bible stories through a variety of mediums, including the always-popular puppet show.

We are aware that testing for the virus is likely to increase in the coming weeks, and that stay-at-home restrictions will slowly begin lifting. We have made this decision out of an abundance of caution and a deep desire to love vulnerable members of our community the best way we know how -- by maintaining physical distancing.

St. Alban's is working on plans for the gradual re-opening of in person gatherings, following the recommendations of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine as well as state and federal health experts. We will share these plans shortly.

While we will not be gathering together in person for Camp St. Alban's, we will offer virtual Summer Fun Day experiences most Sunday mornings this summer. And on Friday, August 28 th , we'll host a virtual "Ice Cream Social-ly Distant" Party for the whole parish - because everybody loves ice cream!

Please Save the Date: Camp St. Alban's is the week of July 13 th -17 th , 2021 .
 
Invitation to join the Discernment Committee

In preparation for Tim's departure in late June, our work now turns to the creation of a Discernment Committee (also known as a search committee) for the call of a new rector for St. Alban's. Discernment is an extremely rewarding process of information gathering, study, discussion, listening, questioning and prayer. The work of discerning has been called energizing, positive and memorable by those who have participated in the selection process in the past. To be a member of this committee is to be a pivotal part of the future of St. Alban's.
 
Click this link to the nomination form for membership in the new committee. As you consider nominating an individual, remember self-nominating is always welcomed. When proposing an individual for nomination, please consider the committee should be representative of the diversity of our congregation as to age, gender, ethnicity, stages of life, and traditions. Parishioners may state their name as the nominator, but are free to remain anonymous. Additionally, all information received is to be considered confidential.   
 
Nominations close on May 31, 2020. The Vestry will vote on a slate of candidates on June 9, 2020, and the Discernment Committee will be commissioned in late June or early July, after Father Tim's departure.  
 
Please reach out to the Vestry with any questions about the nominating process ( discernment@stalbansmaine.org).
 
Thank you!

... Even More Transition Information 
 
The calling of a new rector is a uniquely important responsibility for any Vestry. 

Although we did not desire that this duty be part of our terms of Vestry service, we are confident that in prayer with each other, the bishop, the canon, and indeed, the wider church, this Vestry will call a fine new priest to serve God and God's people at St. Alban's! 

Your officers approach this exciting challenge in confidence that the strengths of our past will serve us well for the years ahead. With you, we have a common posture as faithful, non-anxious leaders, and together we will meet the task with grace and God's help.

And our first steps are upon us already! For more information click here.

St. Alban's Prayer Box
If you would like a name spoken aloud during our Sunday worship prayers for healing and hope, please put your prayer request in the St. Albans Prayer Box by emailing  prayers@stalbansmaine.org. Our intercessors at worship will pray your prayer request aloud.

Saint Alban's Cares
   
St. Alban's Cares  Update
Feeding your heart, mind, home...and more!
 
For more information on what you can do to help or if you need assistance please  click here.
 
St. Alban's Cares that you stay connected...
St. Alban's Cares that you stay connected...
Pull up a chair! Bring your mug and join in!
Interested in connecting informally mid-week for 30 minute chat with other St. Alban's folks?
Drop in for a St. Alban's Zoom Coffee Chat 
on Thursdays at 9:30 AM. Look for the meeting link in our Tuesday weekly Saint Alban's Cares email. 
This casual conversation will be facilitated by other parishioners. See some familiar and new faces and be part of something new.
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St. Alban's Cares that good meals are available!

We offer high quality frozen meals to-go for any member of the parish or community in need without charge. Delicious meals from Trader Joe's are stocked in the church freezer and will be packed up for pick-up. To make arrangements email   stalbanscares@stalbansmaine.org
 
Our partnership with Blue Spoon Restaurant continues! Affordable, nutritious meals delivered curbside at St. Alban's each Friday afternoon. Nutritious, local, affordable. Deadline for orders is Wednesday at 5:00PM 
 
Staying Healthy

We are all in search of the best information. 
Here are two great sources,   CDC and Maine CDC.
 
Picture of the week
Fresh lines in the parking lot! These past weeks St. Alban's has been blessed by the terrific handyman work of Matt and Jack Fisher who have been unable to travel as planned, but are happy to do amazing cleaning, painting, lawn work and prep for when the doors are able to be opened for all!
Lectionary of the week
Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24th 
These are the lessons you will hear read aloud at Sundays morning prayer service.

Clynk Update

CLYNK! DURING COVID-19
Redeemable cans and bottles put in these green Clynk! bags benefit the Youth Pilgrimage. 
Thank you for your continued support.  

You can pick up Clynk! Bags in the shed by the back parking lot of St. Alban's.

After filling your CLYNK bag and tying it tight, please hold on to it for 3 days before you drop it off at any CLYNK drop location.  
 
Please take your bags to Hannaford, as usual, and do not leave them in this shed for the church to transport.  For more information click   here  .

While you shelter in place and continue to shop online please use Amazon Smile for St. Alban's

Support St Alban's Episcopal Church
Shop at smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate to Saint Alban's Episcopal Church, at no cost to you.

Click here for our direct link.
 
Online Group AA Meetings
The AA meeting which are normally scheduled at St. Alban's church are now meeting online.

Click here for more information.  

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