There is a lot of news this week, as well as the announcements. Please read patiently!
Sometimes things happen in our services that go way beyond our own congregation. This past Sunday at 10 am our final hymn was “Go forth for God.” The text ended up fitting perfectly with the sermon (not planned that way). It is a favorite of Dr. Jody’s, but even though we sang it four Sundays in a row during Lent 2011, many people felt it was unfamiliar. As it happens, not only did we have choir members sitting in the congregation who sang right out and helped to lead us, but we had a visiting church musician who was on holiday from his own parish and just happened to decide to worship with us. His beautiful voice added to the strength of our singing – even the less familiar hymn. At the end of the service he told me that All Saints’ is to be commended for being such a friendly and welcoming parish. Good job, everyone!
Then on Monday I heard from a choir camp friend about “Go forth for God.” The hymn tune was written by Erik Routley (he had been a professor at Westminster Choir College) for Jim Litton (another WCC faculty member, teacher and leader in the church music world). The name of the tune is “Litton.” Jim Litton’s wife Mary Lou, who was known to generations of WCC students, died this past Monday, the day after we sang that hymn. And it turns out that many churches across the country sang that hymn on Sunday, also. I have a vision of Mrs. Litton being escorted to heaven by the voices of Christians in so many places singing the hymn tune that was written in honor of her husband! So maybe the Holy Spirit arranged it all that way! God bless the Litton family, and God bless you all when you sing music that may be unfamiliar to you – you never know when you’ll be serving God by doing so.
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We have a date with the Planning Board for our hearing about the new handicapped-accessible entry-way to the Parish House. The hearing will be on Tuesday, August 14 at 8 pm in the court room of Long Hill Town Hall. Your prayers for this presentation will be greatly appreciated. If anyone can come and show support by sitting in the audience, we’d love to have you. If all goes well on the 14th then we can get the necessary permits to begin the work. If you have any questions, please speak to Roger Kosempel, Tom Day or me.
I’ve recently received a note from Mary Hoens’ daughter (the woman who fell at the Fish and Chips Dinner), which she asked me to share with you:
Dear Rev. McGrath,
Please accept my thanks for all the kindness you’ve shown to my mom and my family. From the care and concern to her when she fell, to the beautiful pulpit flowers you sent to my home, to your presence with us, to your church’s kind donation to Eden [Autism Services], the list is endless. Please pass along my thanks to all of the members of your congregation for their kindness and love. Fondly, Helen Hoens.
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General Convention ended today. I will have more to say about it after I have been to the report back session with Bishop Beckwith and our Diocese of Newark deputies next Thursday. In the meantime, here is a link to the sermon preached at Convention on July 5 by Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina. Bishop Curry is one of the outstanding preachers in America today. I found this sermon very inspiring, especially the part about taking the roll call at the foot of the Cross. Click on the link to see and hear for yourself! http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2012/07/07/north-carolina-bishop-michael-curry-preaches-at-convention-eucharist/#ooid=x0YnViNTqvBpJproohlFpp92wMJ0LWy8
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Please see the announcements below:
Summer Discussion Group – We had a good first meeting to discuss the book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson, M.D. This is an important topic for all of us, and the book is well worth a read (and available for e-readers!). The group will meet again on Wed. July 18 @ 7:45 pm in the Rath House. Even if you missed the first discussion or haven’t read the book but are interested in the topic, please come!
Picnic & Praise/Summer Mid-Week Worship - Away on summer weekends? Need a mid-week faith boost? Come for a simple, outdoor service of Eucharist on Wednesday nights! Bring a picnic supper to the Parish House lawn at 6 pm (if you like), we'll supply cold drinks. The service starts at 7 pm and lasts 30 minutes. This will run through the end of July.
Please Remember Your Pledge during the Summer. If you are traveling or away on the weekends you can always put your pledge check/donation check in the mail or drop it by the parish office. The parish expenses continue during the summer, and we count on your support. Thank you very much!
Rummage Sale - 1st Rummage Drop Off: August 5 from 8 am to 2pm in the Parish House. What do we take? Furniture, housewares, holiday items, linens, tools, electronics, small appliances, toys, games, children's books, yard & garden items, jewelry, boutiques item, etc. - anything except clothes, tires, books for grownups. All donations must be clean and in good repair. The Sale is on Saturday, September 22, and we will need lots of help. See the sign-up sheet in the Narthex or speak to Kimberley Celeste.
Summer Food Donations for Kids Needed - Thank you! Your contributions mean so much for so many hungry families! And thanks once again to our outreach partner Whole Foods Market for the new contributions they have sent our way.
Sunday School Ice Cream Social – Friday, September 7 at 7 pm on the Parish House lawn. Get together after the summer, make a name tag to use on the first day of Sunday School (on 9/9), meet your teachers, bring a friend or newcomer, have some fun! Look for the sign-up sheet soon!
J2A is Coming – our high school group. We’ll meet twice a month, usually after coffee hour on Sundays. Gary Stapperfenne and Hilary Morse will be assisting with this ministry. In addition to class/discussion time, we’re also planning some trips, outings, service projects, etc. Look for more info to come.
Welcome Sunday Hot Dog Picnic is Sunday, September 9 at 11:15 am. Put it on your calendar now and look for more details to come!
Women's Book Group – is on hiatus for the summer, but will reconvene on Wednesday, September 19. The book for discussion is “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave. Happy summer reading!
Looking ahead to September there are several opportunities for greater involvement in our Sunday worship:
· Junior Choir – for kids in Grade 3 and up, rehearses Thursdays at 5 pm (starting 9/6);
· Adult Choir – rehearses on Thursday at 7:30 pm (starting 9/6); both groups are an enjoyable way to make new friends, learn new skills and serve God and the church community through music ministry. Ability to sight-read music is not necessary. Choir Questions? Speak to Dr. Jody.
· Acolytes - serve at the altar during 10 am Sunday and special feast day services (carrying the cross and torches in the procession, assisting the priest in setting up the altar for Communion, etc.); acolytes serve once a month (less often if we have a bigger pool); kids in Grade 7 and older can serve as acolytes – so can interested adults! Acolyte Questions? Speak to Janice Lettieri or Mother Vicki.
All God’s Children at All Saints’ Starting in October - All God’s Children is a non-denominational Christian worship service designed to appeal to children of any age, and especially appropriate for children with autism, PDD-NOS, ADHD, ADD, Down’s Syndrome or any other developmental/physical challenges. It is 30 minutes long, with optional Communion. The service was designed by a parent of two autistic kids at Christ Episcopal Church in Budd Lake (to see a short video about it, click here: http://youtu.be/CiWDqZuzocQ. We’ll be offering an All God’s Children (AGC) service monthly on the third Sunday of every month, at 12 noon, starting on October 21. This will be not just for parish families, but for anyone in the wider community. If you know a family who might be interested in this time for worship and fellowship, please let them know about it. We’ll be making the information available to some of the schools and support groups in the area. There will also be opportunities for high school students (and adults) to volunteer – we’ll need some extra hands! If you want to know more or would like to get involved, speak to Kathy Hunt or Mother Vicki+. And please keep this ministry in your prayers. Thanks!
Stewardship ~ Stewardship and the economics of God, like faith, cannot be taught, but they can be caught, nurtured, and lived into. And that is the ever-present challenge before us. ~ John Westerhoff, Episcopal priest and educator.
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Everyone needs God time. Because He is not pushy about His agenda, God is too easy to forget. He just waits…and waits. What does He think of “efficient” prayers? What happened to the “Be still and know that I am God” times? Societies that have the accelerator to the floor are doomed to become God-less. Speed does not yield devotion. ~ Richard Swenson, Margin, page 121