Rector's Remarks
Jesus said to them,
“Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?"

Matthew 21:42
How can I (and we) best support one another for a difficult time ahead?

That's a question I spent a lot of time wrestling with this summer in thought and prayer. The answer I eventually discerned was this: we are going to ground ourselves in the basics.

We are going to promote normative Episcopal Christianity for these non-normative times.

That's why I've been focusing on the Eucharist since my return. First, I'm convinced we can do it with reasonable safety -- i.e., it's safer than going grocery shopping or going to work in an office. Second, it's normative to celebrate the Eucharist weekly, and it can help us profoundly in our walk of faith.

I'm going to send this new email, the Rector's Remarks, to you occasionally, in order to highlight different aspects of normative Episcopal Christianity.

I wish to bring to your attention some of the basics, the cornerstones, of our Episcopal Christian spiritual practices, so you can consider whether these things will help you at this point, or not. As always, nothing is forced in Anglicanism. We invite, not force.

I invite you, therefore, to consider the various spiritual practices promoted and to avail yourself of them when they will be helpful to you.

Lastly, another normative aspect of Anglicanism is a kind of attitudinal realism. We acknowledge that life can be very hard; using our symbolic language, we would say that life entails crosses. Hard, but true. Collectively, the world is going through a cross right now, isn't it?

Despite the reality of crosses, however, the Episcopal Church affirms the greater positivity -- that God can bring good from evil and resurrections from crosses (Romans 8:12). The stone that the builders rejected has indeed become the cornerstone! Jesus is risen and has overcome the world (John 16:13) and through his Holy Spirit he promises us victory over sin and death as well (1 John 5:4).

This is the reality we must cling to -- that Jesus Christ has overcome all manner of evil and death and that he shall empower us through his Holy Spirit to do likewise -- even when it feels, at times, that we are stuck in a dark tomb, alone, waiting for the resurrection light.

We may feel alone at times, but we are not alone.

We have the Holy Spirit, and we have each other. These are no small things! I shall be sending you, in future Rector's Remarks, classic Anglican spiritual practices that will help you get in touch with the Holy Spirit to feel that presence and to access that power. Accessing the Eucharist is a great place to start, if that makes sense for you at this time.

Below are some instances of light I found scattered around even our little neck of the woods. May they lift your heart and inspire a smile.

Where are you experiencing the Light?

Better yet Beloved Christian: where (and how) are you personally scattering Light in these grey days?

Yours, with love and prayers,

Fr. Hal
Goodness, like fireflies, flitting around Good Shepherd:
Did you know the parking lots have not only been professionally sealed but striped? Come check them out!
Many thanks to Rick and Leslie who worked many months to make this project happen. And many thanks to Otto Koegel, who remembered us in his will, and whose funds paid for 100% of this project. Thanks Otto!
The trash cans are no longer located near the back door of the church. Now what shall we plant instead to beautify the space?
We even made clarifying marks to the front circle.
The backpack/student/parent blessing Sunday was a big hit.
Lots of folks were on hand to generate blessings: Fr. Hal and Deacon Norm, the Easter Bunny and helper, SS and MS staff, vestry members, Raggedy Ann, and more.
Families enjoyed the chance to get out of the house and see folks from church safely.
Grandparents, like Ms. Victoria, and other adults who came were given flowers as a thank you for being a blessing to others.
"Glory to God,
whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine:
Glory to him from generation to generation
in the church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20)
The Church of the Good Shepherd
39 Granite Springs Road
Granite Springs, NY 10527
Come check us out!