Here are this week’s parish announcements and reflection pieces. Please take a look at them and note these particular items:
Bishop’s Visitation ~ see Events
God speed to Leroy May ~ see Events
Annual Parish Meeting ~ see Events
Flower Minister Needed ~ see Christian Formation
Parish Communications Update ~ see Christian Formation
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When Bishop Beckwith visits on January 25 he will meet with the Vestry and the Deputies to Diocesan Convention after the Reception/Forum/Q&A, and will ask them to reflect on four questions (which he asks of all Vestries he meets with). They are good questions for the parish as a whole to be thinking and praying about. The four questions are:
1. When are you as a congregation at your best?
2. What is your congregation’s purpose?
3. What are your challenges? What gets in the way of living out your mission?
4. What would you like to ask me or want me to know so that the Diocese can be of assistance in supporting your mission and ministry?
Please think and pray about these for yourself. How do you answer these questions? Our answers help us to see how God is at work in our midst as we minister to one another and our wider community.
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Bishop’s Visitation - The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith will be making his episcopal visitation to All Saints’ on Sunday, January 25. He will preach and celebrate at the 10 am service, and then hold a Forum with Q & A during coffee hour. We need people to bring finger foods (small sandwiches, fruit, crackers and cheese, etc.) Sign up on the sheet in the Narthex. Bishop Beckwith will then meet with the Vestry over lunch.
Please be on hand to welcome our bishop and receive his encouragement and spiritual counsel for our parish.
We will also be bidding “god-speed” to Leroy May on 1/25. Leroy is moving to North Carolina to be close to his son and family. We will miss Leroy’s steady presence, humor and encouragement. As we gather to greet the Bishop, please also be here to wish Leroy well in his move.
The Annual Parish Meeting will take place Sunday, Feb. 1 at 11:15 am in the Parish Hall. (Yes, we know it is Super Bowl Sunday) The Annual Report will be presented, Vestry members and Diocesan Deputies will be elected, and we will hear from our parish leadership, as well as have time for conversation about life at All Saints’ and God’s purposes for us. There will be child-care available during the meeting. Please put the date on your calendar. This is an important time in the life of our parish.
Charlie White is turning 90! Come to his party on February 8 at 11:15 am in the Parish Hall.
WORSHIP and MUSIC
This Sunday, Special Needs Worship - All God's Children Service, at 12 noon. Designed for children and families with a range of special needs – including anyone who has a hard time sitting still! A 30-minute service, no segment is longer than 3 minutes each; optional Communion. Pass the word to friends and neighbors who can benefit from this. Contact Mother Vicki for details.
Mid-Week Service of Holy Eucharist and healing prayer is available Thursday mornings at 7 am in the Church. It is simple and casual with a brief reflection on the Gospel for the day. Healing Prayer involves asking for prayer for yourself or someone else, with the priest anointing your forehead with oil as she places her hands on your head and prayers specifically for your concerns. It is always optional ~ i.e. you can come to the service but not participate in this part. The service is over by 7:45 am, so you can get on your way to work. There is also a light breakfast available in the Rath House afterward. Come for a mid-week faith boost!
Family Promise Homeless Shelter (at Trinity House, Long Hill Road in Stirling) – Monday, January 26 is All Saints’ turn to host. We have cooks and servers lined up, and volunteers to stay overnight. If you want information about this program, or are interested in volunteering the next time, please speak with Kathy Pfeil. Thanks!
Christmas-at-Sea – We got a lovely thank you note from Seaman’s Church Institute for the last batch of knitted caps and scarves we sent. It is posted on the bulletin board in the side hallway. Good work, knitters! We are always happy to have more people contribute to this ministry that supports seafarers and merchant marines who transport goods and food for the rest of us. If you are interested, please speak to Janet Mansfield. We can supply yarn, needles, patterns, and even teach you how to knit!
Souper Bowl of Caring – on Sunday, Feb. 1 our Rite-13 class, along with teens all over the country, will collect canned goods or cash contributions for our food pantry. The amount of food collected will then be called in to a central national number so that we will know how much food was collected nation-wide. At a time when so many people gather with friends and family for parties, it is good to remember those who go without even the basics in life.
Thank You to everyone who helped with or attended the Community Candlelight Walk and Bonfire for David Bird last Sunday. 250 people turned out for the event, despite the cold and wind. The Bird family is very appreciative of everyone’s prayers and support. It is vital to let people know that David is still missing. Someone, somewhere may know something that will lead to information for the family. Thank you, especially, to Boy Scout Troop 56 for setting up the luminaria, leading the walk, and hosting the bonfire. It was wonderful to see the community come together.
Forward Day by Day - these devotional booklets, published quarterly, contain a brief passage of Scripture and a reflection for each day, as well as a few prayers. It is small enough to put in your pocket, purse or back pack. The booklets are free, and the new quarter’s edition is now available on the table in the Narthex, and in other spots around the parish campus. Check it out!
Women’s Book Group – Wednesday 1/21, 7:30 pm in the Rath House. The book for discussion is Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America, by Amy Belding Brown. Come for an evening of fun and friendship.
Bible Study meets Wednesdays at 10:15-11:30 am in the Rath House. We are reading through the Gospel of John. Bring your questions, sense of humor, and curiosity. You can bring your own Bible, or use one of ours. Newcomers are very welcome!
Flower Minister Needed to deliver flowers from the altar to parishioners after Church on Sunday, once a month. This ministry brings hope and encouragement to people all year through. If you are interested, please speak to Mother Vicki.
Parish Website and Communications – When was the last time you looked at our parish website: www.allsaintsmillington.org? The home page gets updated regularly, with information and photos. Also, the announcements for each week are posted under the Home tab: “This Week@All Saints’”; and the sermons can be found under that same tab. The last page, “Spiritual Connections” is linked to the home page. On it you will find a link to the Forward Movement Prayer website, which gives you everything you need for a brief version of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, etc. for you to use in your daily prayers. There was a glitch in the link before, but has now been fixed, so if you tried it previously and were frustrated by it, try again! It also gives you the meditation that you can find in the print edition of Forward Day by Day. All Saints’ also has a Facebook page which is updated almost daily with parish news, photos, prayers shared from the Episcopal Church FB page, and sometimes there are helpful articles. If you haven’t already “liked” it, please do so: “All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Millington, NJ.” Finally, photos from parish events, worship, coffee hour, classes, meetings, anywhere All Saints’ folk gather, are always welcome for our parish communications. If you are willing to share, please send photos to email@example.com. Thanks!
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PARISH CALENDAR THIS WEEK
1/20 Vestry 7:30 pm, Rath House
1/21 Bible Study 10:15 am, Rath House
1/21 Book Group 7:30 pm, Rath House
1/22 HE & Breakfast 7:00 am, Church
Junior Choir 5:00 pm, Choir Room
Adult Choir 7:30 pm, Choir Room
And please check the calendar on our website for the full listing of groups and events in our buildings.
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For All the Saints – January 19 (transferred from the 18th), Confession of St. Peter the Apostle
“When Simon Bar-Jona confessed, “You are the Christ,” Jesus responded, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.” This rough fisherman and his brother Andrew were the first disciples called by Jesus. Peter figures prominently in the Gospels, often stumbling, impetuous, intense, and uncouth.
It was Peter who attempted to walk on the sea, and began to sink; it was Peter who impulsively wished to build three tabernacles on the mountain of the Transfiguration; it was Peter who, just before the crucifixion, three times denied knowing his Lord. But it was also Peter who, after Pentecost, risked his life to do the Lord’s work, speaking boldly of his belief in Jesus. It was also Peter, the Rock, whose strength and courage helped the young Church in its questioning about the mission beyond the Jewish community. Opposed at first to the baptism of Gentiles, he had the humility to admit a change of heart, and to baptize the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household. Even after this, Peter had a continuing struggle with his Jewish conservatism; for Paul, writing to the Galatians, rebukes him for giving way to the demands of Jewish Christians to dissociate himself from table-fellowship with Gentiles.
Though the New Testament makes no mention of it, the tradition connecting Peter with Rome is early and virtually certain. According to a legend based on that tradition, Peter fled from Rome during the persecution under Nero. On the Appian Way, he met Christ, and asked him, “Domine, quo vadis?” (“Lord, where are you going?”). The Lord answered, “I am coming to be crucified again.” Peter thereupon retraced his steps, and was shortly thereafter crucified, head downwards. “I am not worthy to be crucified as my Lord was,” he is supposed to have said.
As we watch Peter struggle with himself, often stumble, love his Lord and deny him, speak rashly and act impetuously, his life reminds us that our Lord did not come to save the godly and strong but to save the weak and the sinful. Simon, an ordinary human being, was transformed by the Holy Spirit into the “Rock,” and became the leader of the Church.”
~ Lesser Feasts and Fasts
Question for reflection: Who do you have a hard time connecting with that God is asking you to love, respect, listen to, and accept on their own terms?
Lord, help me to let go of fear, shame, and the need to defend you or myself. Help me to trust that your Spirit is leading me and guiding me in my work, my relationships and my encounters with others. Amen.