The past few weeks have provided me with opportunities to reflect upon the many changes taking place. Whether it be in the life of my family, in the parish, or in the world, the times, as Dylan says, they are a-changing. I know the same is true for you all. Although our lives are unique, we share the effects of the three pandemics: COVID-19, racism, and divisiveness.
There are a few things which have held true in my life about change: something dies, something returns and something new is born. There are emotionally and spiritually responses to all of this. In the case of the three pandemics, there is much trauma.
Thinking about the Gospel readings, I think about all the change the followers of Jesus experienced, and I am reminded of the trauma they too had to cope with. Many just gave up and left. But those who remained not only relied on one another and on God's love in his Son, they built up a community that held each other during these times and invited others to join them. Sometimes this community got sidetracked with inconsequential things, but it was the gift God sent to hold us fast during these times.
The Episcopal Church is renewing its commitment to becoming the beloved community that reflects the love of Jesus. This will require change that will be both unsettling and life-giving. God wants us to be a part of this Jesus movement that relies on God's love in community to heal and bring the world from trauma to deep joy.
In the Way of Love,
This Sunday, the Gospel continues to bring us examples of how Jesus takes, not our faith, but our doubts and misconceptions to teach us about the realm of God.
At 10:00 am, the Church School will gather to engage in a story with Melissa Barnes.
At 10:00 am, During the Stewardship Epistle, Allison Mascolo will tell us about a gift she received and the impact its had on her life. Laura Beasley-Topliffe will be our lector, Tom and Karen Tucker will be the ushers, and Jason Stonehouse will be our Digital Verger for those of you viewing online.
At 4:00 pm, our Celtic Evensong with Communion will have Marianne Cannon giving her reflection of gifts., and Paul Massari will be our usher. You may also engage with this service on Facebook.
Please join us wherever you are
in your search for meaning.
Everyone is welcome at any and all services at
Grace Episcopal Church
Parish Prayer List
Please keep the following in your prayers:
Mel, Virginia Szurma, Melissa Glassman, Corey MacNeil, Cliff Cutler, Helen Phillips, John Gourley, Martin Ryan, Kristin Gourley, Scott Tucker, Zan Duffy, Dianne, Linda Whalen, Kim Colvin, Sarah Colvin Duffy, Michael Towey, Jesse Kamp, Stacia, Bob Peterson, Brian Peterson, Jenny, Loretta and Kris, Deb Papps, Derek Fuller and Family, the people of Palestine, Afghanastan, and Haiti, and the Salem Public Schools. For the peaceful repose of the soul of Robert Squillaro. For an end to racism, gun violence and oppression.
If you have prayer requests, please email email@example.com by Tuesday at noon for publication in that week's e-news.
Choir to Sing this Week
The choir will be present to sing the anthem, "O come, ye servants of the Lord," by Christopher Tye at our 10:00 am service.
We would love to have any vaccinated singers out there join us on Wednesdays from 7:30 - 8:30 pm. Please talk to Larry Kamp our Director of Music if you have any questions.
The Anti-racism team has been meeting regularly to build relationships amongst ourselves and to develop programs for the parish.
In our conversations lately, we began talking about our Christmas traditions and understandings, and how white supremacy culture has influenced that story. We'd like to expand the conversation to include you too.
In November, we will host a few cottage gatherings to facilitate this . We hope to share our own early images of the Nativity scene and how this has impacted our adult considerations of the Holy Family and of the Christmas event. We think that sharing various "creche" scenes from of our past may make our current understanding more inclusive. We will be sending out a survey to discover when the best times would be for these gatherings. Please let us know when the survey drops into your email what works for you.
Virtual Services in October
The number of visitors in Salem has dramatically reduced our capacity for parking and even walking to church. Many of those visiting Salem are coming from parts of the country with different expectations of what can and cannot be done during a pandemic in church. It could be challenging to enforce our protocols, which would distract us from the worship experience, especially for our ushers. Therefore, on Sunday, October 24th and October 31st, the services will be live streamed on Zoom and Facebook Live. We will return to our Daily Office only format for these two Sundays, as we will not be physically present for communion. We will return to services held in the church and streamed on Facebook on All Saints Sunday, 7 November. Please stay safe this month.
This Year's Stewardship Theme
Read this week's reflection from a member of
The Episcopal Church's Stewardship Network
Last summer, I ran out of gas at a gas station. The car stopped moving a few yards from the pump. To my great relief, another customer came over and offered to push my car to the pump.
Before this kind, young person drove away, I shouted “Wait!” and hurried toward him.
He shook his head from side to side. “I don’t want anything for helping you,” he declared. “Not even homemade chocolate chip cookies?” I countered.
He laughed, took the bag of cookies, and thanked me.
When we share the gift of being human beings together, especially in difficult moments, we slip into an awareness of abundance. We feel full. We know goodness given and received. Travels continue. Cookies and laughter are enjoyed. Every good gift comes from God, and in sharing our gifts we become even more gifted, whether or not we are recognized or rewarded for sharing.
Sometimes we step up to help from a desire for recognition. We offer our gifts, like James and John in today’s Gospel text, out of loyalty to Jesus
and a desire to be useful. Our egos may be attached in healthy, or unhealthy, ways.
Sometimes we share a gift without expectations. We give without needing recognition. We push a car for a stranger and get a tired priest, her daughter and two dogs back on the road to Vacationland.
Making an annual financial commitment to a congregation is like offering to push a stranger’s car to a gas pump. It gets ministry moving. We seek no recognition, yet are rewarded in surprising ways. We offer our gifts because doing so creates the type of world we want to inhabit — a world where strangers collaborate and laugh together during a frustrating and embarrassing experience, sharing every good gift along the way.
The Rev’d. Dina Van Klaveren is Rector of St. Andrew’s in Glenwood, Maryland and a member of the TENS Board of Directors.