From the Rector
Last month Mary Oliver, one of our best loved poets, died aged 88. A Pulitzer prize winner, her poetry was marked by a gracefulness and simplicity (with depth), which endeared her to many, even to those who don't like poetry.
She began to write from an early age; her "dysfunctional" childhood resulting in her making
"a world out of words". She had an affinity with the natural world, which inspired and nourished her art; reading a book of her poems is akin to taking a walk with a friend in the wild: as you wander along together she would be saying, "did you see that?" She was observant both of the beauty and cruelty of nature; something which resonated in her own life, since she had suffered abuse as a child.
She writes in the poem Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond:
As for life,
I'm without words
sufficient to say
how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over
As an adult Mary Oliver was a reluctant celebrity and rarely gave interviews, preferring to let the poetry speak for itself. Her poetic voice is spare and musical, her words and phrases often achieving a harmony and lightness which, like the birds she studied, take flight and lift the poems out of the ordinary. She possessed an awareness of the "other", of a reality beyond the senses, which is one reason why she is popular with clergy, poetry therapists and composers. Occasionally her poems startle us with their insight. In the poem
White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field,
a simple description of an owl turns into a meditation on death:
and then it rose, gracefully,
to lurk there,
and flew back to the frozen marshes,
like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows -
so I thought:
isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us
I can recommend spending time with a book of her poetry. Her style is simple enough to follow and there is not a wasted word. She encourages us to slow down and see things differently. Christians take inspiration from the Gospels, but we can also be moved and inspired by poets and the arts, especially where the light of God shines through their work.
Mary Oliver's poetry was born out of a love for her subject. To respond to God's creation with love is not only the vocation of the poet, but remains the calling for every person. When you learn to see as God sees - with the eyes of love - then the whole world opens up for you.
With love and blessings,
During the month of February, we will be preparing for the Annual Meeting which will take place in March. An important part of that meeting is the election of people for the vestry. These are the people who are responsible for the direction that Redeemer will take now and in the future. One of the things I have come to appreciate in my career as an educator, in my volunteer work in non-profits, and in my life at Redeemer is that it takes all different kinds of people to make an organization work. It takes practical people, social people, financial people, spiritual people, visionary people, and any other kind of people you can think of.
If you don't want to serve on the vestry, we will be working on strengthening our committees and ministries. Please consider running for vestry or joining one of the ministries of the church. No matter what kind of person you are, we need you. As St. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians that Grace Brzezicki so ably read on Youth Sunday, "But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose." Please help to make Redeemer a strong and vital body for the Lord.
A Guide to the Eucharist
The Post Communion Prayer and Blessing and Dismissal
The final prayer said together affirms the congregation as "living members" of Christ by virtue of our receiving his body and blood in the holy sacrament. The prayer acknowledges that members are being sent out into the world "in peace" to serve "with gladness and singleness of heart".
Before they are sent out, the priest gives a blessing, making the sign of the cross over the congregation. The dismissal is short and to the point: "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord". This "sending out" is where the Church's mission begins. In the old Latin Mass, the priest said
Ite, missa est,
meaning "Go, it is the dismissal". The word "Mass" comes from this Latin phrase.
A final hymn concludes the service as the priest, servers and choir process down the nave. St Augustine said that "He who sings prays twice." Sung prayer expresses the joy of the heart, the happiness resulting from one who has encountered Jesus Christ and experienced his love. Sung prayer reminds us of the choirs of heaven, with whom we are called to praise God eternally in heaven.
Volunteers Needed for the Flower Guild and Usher
- The Flower Guild could use two new members to partner with Betty Arzt (2nd Sunday) and Janet Barber (4th Sunday). Please contact Helen Lightcap if you are interested: email@example.com.
- The Usher Team could use two new members to round out the schedule. Please contact Sharon Parry if you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Martyrs of Japan, 1597
In 1854 the American naval Commodore Matthe
w Perry was received by the new Japanese government of the reforming Meiji dynasty which was beginning the process of ope
ning up that previo
usly closed land to Western trade and influence. Yet among the people of this overwhelmingly Shinto and Buddhist nation Perry was surprised to find a small number of persecuted Japanese Christians who had survived underground, without Bibles or clergy for centuries; and, though somewhat hazy in their understanding of Christian doctrine, had a firm faith in Jesus as Lord.
The Christian faith had been introduced into Japan three hundred years earlier by Jesuit and later by Franciscan missionaries who first arrived in Japan with the Portuguese in 1543. The Jesuit priest Francis Xavier (see December 3) landed at Kagoshima in 1549. He studied the Japanese language for a year and then preached in many of the principal cities. By 1551, when he left Japan, he had established a vigorous Christian community and laid the foundation for the future Christian Church in Japan.
Initially the mission progressed: the first baptism was in 1563 and the first church was built in Kyoto in 1576, but the first decree banishing the propagation of Christianity followed in 1587. Nevertheless, for ten years Christian missionaries experienced a form of relative toleration and by the end of the sixteenth century there were probably about 300,000 baptized believers in Japan. But after the arrival of Spanish Franciscan and Dominican priests at the beginning of the 1590s quarrels broke out between the different orders and between Spanish and Portuguese nationals.
On 5 February 1597, 6 Franciscan friars and 20 of their converts were executed at Nagasaki, becoming the first martyrs in Japan. They were tied to crosses in a parody of the crucifixion and speared to death. But in spite of local persecutions, the mission continued to expand. After a short interval of relative tolerance, many other Christians were arrested, imprisoned for life, or tortured and killed; in 1614 an effective edict of persecution was issued and by 1630 the Church was totally driven underground. A peasant uprising under Christian leadership in Kyushu in 1637/38 was suppressed and, as a result of it, the government closed the country to European traders as well as to Christian missionaries. Contact with the West was strictly controlled and persecution of Christians continued until Commodore Perry's arrival in 1854.
Evening Prayer is said every Tuesday in the chapel at 5 pm. The service takes between 20-25 minutes. All are welcome to come and pray.
Every Wednesday at 11 am in the chapel. All are welcome.
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Timothy Sean Daley
2/11 Jack & Bertie Sproul
Redeemer Thrift Shop
Thank you for your many donations and support during 2018. We had a great December making $2,568 for the church! Christmas sales are over BUT our shelves and tables and racks are still full of many good buys for your winter pleasures - lots of warm tops, sweaters, jackets and coats. So, come on in and get ready for the coming snows. Remember - the best bargains are right here in your Redeemer Thrift Shop.
You'll be interested to hear that our earnings from September through December totaled $9,034.
Open Tuesdays 10 am - 2 pm and Saturdays 9 am - 2 pm.
Visit the Thrift Shop on Facebook
For more information, please contact Cyn Mattson (610) 356-8125 or
Luisa Andrews (610) 353-9299.
Just for Fun
Ministry at Time of Death
In a convent in Ireland, the 99-year-old Mother Superior lay quietly. She was dying. The Nuns had gathered around her bed, laying garlands around her and trying to make her last journey comfortable. They wanted to give her warm milk to drink but she declined. One of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen. Then, remembering a bottle of Irish Whiskey that had been received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.
Back at Mother Superior's bed, they lifted her head gently and held the glass to her lips. The very frail Nun drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had finished the whole glass down to the last drop.
As her eyes brightened, the nuns thought it would be a good opportunity to have one last talk with their spiritual leader.
"Mother," the nuns asked earnestly, "Please give us some of your wisdom before you leave us."
She raised herself up very slowly in the bed on one elbow, looked at them and said: "DON'T SELL THAT COW."
Send corrections, remarks, or updates to the Redeemer Reporter to Israel Ramirez: email@example.com.
Church of the Redeemer, Springfield
145 West Springfield Road
Springfield, Pennsylvania 19064
The Reverend David Beresford, Rector
firstname.lastname@example.org, (302) 468-9062
Minister of Music
George Baughan '19
- Senior W
Lee Lucas '20 - Junior Warden
Keith Brown '19
- Accounting Warden
Ginny Doyle '19
Jim Lambert '21
Joan Strayer '18
Helen Lightcap '20
Gary Rew '21
"As people of God, we come together in joyful worship, to care for each other, to engage in Christian formation, and to reach out to others thoughtfully and compassionately."
"Becoming one with Christ, with one another, and with all God's people"