Next week the public school year ends. Teachers, students, and parents will all shift into summer mode...so will the rest of us! I hope for you that means a more relaxed schedule, perhaps some travel, getting together with friends and family, and some beautiful summer weather. No matter what your summer brings, remember to stop (or at least pause), and breathe, and remember the God’ goodness – and pay attention to the beauty all around you. And when you are in town on the weekend consider coming to worship – whether coming to the 8 am service (quiet, shorter, getting a head start on your day), or the 10 am where we’ll still sing hymns and service music, but with a more laid-back feeling, and dialogue sermons where you get to talk back to the preacher! J It might give you a different slant on worship, an opportunity to hear the Spirit in a different way. Child-care will continue in our Nursery during the later service, and our after-worship refreshments will be cold drinks and munchies on the Parish Lawn. Hope to see you and worship with you!
This week’s announcements are below. Please look particularly at:
*Father’s Day, June 21
*Parish Baseball Out/Somerset Patriots’ Game, July 12
* Family Promise Homeless Shelter, July 10-11
* Bridging the Summer Meal Gap, on-going food collection for Food for Friends, Dover
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Finally, a few thoughts about last night’s shootings in Charlestown, SC. In case you missed it – a 21 year old white man walked into an historically black church at the time of a scheduled Bible study, asked for the pastor (who also was a South Carolina State Senator), and sat with the Bible study group for an hour before he got up and started shooting – nine fatalities in all. When one of the survivors tried to talk him down from continuing, the shooter responded with an answer that was clearly motivated by racism.
There will, of course, be much speculation about the man’s state-of-mind, and whether he was mentally ill. He may be, but that does not excuse nor explain racism, which is sinful. To allow hatred, prejudice, and ignorance to grow and fester so that it becomes the motivating force in one’s life is idolatry – it becomes one’s ultimate goal and highest good, displacing God. It is just a few short steps from there to murder; only a ready weapon and a plan is needed. We do our entire society a disservice when we give racism a pass – whether blatant or subtle. It’s not just a person’s outdated opinion, but an ideology that is rooted in fear of the other that ultimately is destructive to individuals and to the fabric of our common life.
Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves: neighbor does not mean the people who look, act, dress, and talk like us. Our neighbors are all the people God puts in our path, all those who have been made in God’s image (that is, all human-kind), all those for whom Christ died (the whole world). In Jesus’ call and command there is no place for racism, or hatred, or oppression, or violence and murder. They all fall into the category of sin, and we are told to turn away from everything that separates us from the love of God that is to live in us and through us to God’s world.
May the Rev. Senator Pickney, and the other victims rest in peace and rise in glory. And may their families and the congregation of Emmanuel AME Zion Church be given comfort, strength, wisdom, justice, and peace. ~ Vicki+
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FUN & FUNDRAISING
Parish Baseball Outing, July 12 @ 5:05 pm – Come for a fun evening with your fellow Saints and watch the Somerset Patriots play the Long Island Ducks at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. Tickets are $9.50 per person (group rate) and we have field box seats reserved right behind home plate! Sign up on the sheet in the Narthex and bring your family and friends. Once we know who is coming we’ll get transportation organized. Questions? Speak to Greg Story.
Church Ladies’ Night at the Stirling Hotel – this Thursday, June 25, starting at 7 pm; come when you can. We’ll gather in the outdoor area. Share your plans for the summer, decompress after the school year, enjoy your fellow parishioners... and maybe we’ll talk about Rummage, too!
The Rummage Sale – Start setting aside your treasures for the Sale; collection starts on Sunday, August 2. What do we take? Housewares, toys, garden and yard equipment, tools, kid’s books, small appliances, furniture, lamps, electronics, boutique, table linens & bedding, etc. – anything clean, useful and workable. What don’t we take? Tube TVs, books for grown-ups, tires, clothes, shoes. Sale date is Sept. 19. Volunteer sign-up sheets are in the Narthex. Questions? Speak to Kimberly Celeste.
WORSHIP and MUSIC
Father’s Day, June 21 – Special prayers and carnations to honor and remember all our fathers, at both 8 and 10 am.
Special Needs Worship - All God's Children Service, at 12 noon, on the 3rd Sundays of the month – next service, THIS SUNDAY, June 21. 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.
Summer Choir - We’ll be having an informal summer choir on July 19 & August 30. Show up at 9:30 to rehearse the anthem and then sing for the 10 am service. This will be a great time to “try on” choir – either for the day or as an intro to next fall. We are always happy to have new choir members! Interested? Please speak to Alison Siener Brown.
Bible Study, Wednesdays, 10:15-11:30 am in the Rath House. We are meeting through July 15. We’ll take a break for the summer and then pick up again on August 26. We are using a book to guide our study: Bible Women, All Their Words and Why They Matter, by Lindsay Hardin Freeman. This is a great book to read with the group or on your own. We are always happy to have new people join us. Questions? Please speak to Mother Vicki.
Summer Refreshment Hosts are needed for our fellowship after worship. In the summer we have cool drinks and munchies on the Parish House lawn. Please take a turn by putting your name on the sign-up sheet in the Narthex. Questions? Speak to John McGrath
Women's Book Group will meet on Wednesday, July 15 at 7:30 pm in the Rath House. This month’s book for discussion is The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. Come for an evening of fellowship, discussion, and learning.
Bridging the Summer Meal Gap – In NJ, 1 in 5 children face hunger; in Morris County, nearly 8% (38,350 people) are food insecure. When school is out, the children don’t receive school breakfast and lunch. Please remember the kids in your donations to the Food for Friends pantry in Dover. A new summer shopping list is available for you to pick up in the Narthex. Thanks for your help in feeding hungry people!
Please leave your donations in the basket in the Narthex. They will be offered and blessed at our Sunday worship before being taken to the Food for Friends pantry in Dover.
Family Promise Homeless Shelter Our next date to serve at the shelter (at Trinity House/ Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling) is Friday, July 10 to Saturday, July 11. We need volunteers to cook, host at dinnertime, stay overnight, and help on Saturday morning. There are more details on the sign-up sheet in the Narthex. Questions? Speak to Kathy Pfeil. Thank you for helping these families get back on their feet.
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
General Convention is our Church’s triennial meeting for worship, fellowship, governance, and discernment. Each diocese is represented by eight deputies: four lay and four clergy, elected at our diocesan convention. They make up the House of Deputies. The House of Bishops also meets in Convention, sometimes as a whole, and sometimes separately. These two houses are roughly equivalent to the House of Representatives and the Senate. This year Convention meets in Salt Lake City, Utah from June 25-July 3. Here is a link to the General Convention website: http://www.generalconvention.org/. This year the House of Bishops will be electing a new Presiding Bishop; Bishop Jefferts Schori has served her full term. Here is a link to the four nominees for the role: http://www.generalconvention.org/pbelect . And here is a link for our Diocese of Newark Delegation: http://www.dioceseofnewark.org/GC2015 . Various reports and blogs will appear here that you can follow. Please keep the work of the General Convention and our Episcopal Church in your prayers.
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PARISH CALENDAR THIS WEEK
6/24 Bible Study 10:15 am, Rath House
6/25 HE & Breakfast 7:00 am, Church
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
Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24
“The prophet and forerunner of Jesus was his cousin, John, the only child of Elizabeth and Zechariah. He is sometimes called the last and the greatest of the prophets.
John lived very plainly, wearing "camel's hair and a leather girdle" and eating "locusts and wild honey." He preached repentance and called upon people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. He baptized his followers to signify their repentance and new life. Hence he was called John the Baptist. Jesus himself was baptized by John in the River Jordan. John had many followers, at least some of whom became Christians. He preached strongly against the notorious sins of King Herod and was finally beheaded by the king at the request of his daughter Salome.
John figures prominently in the New Testament, and Luke gives us an account of his nativity. His parents were elderly at the time of his birth. His father, a priest of the temple in Jerusalem, was struck dumb in a vision foretelling John's birth and did not speak again until the baby was born. The magnificent canticle, Benedictus Dominus Deus, Blessed be the Lord (The Book of Common Prayer, pp. 50, 92), is attributed to Zechariah, the joyful father. John is particularly remembered during Advent as a prophet and during Epiphany as the baptizer of Jesus.
May we announce the Messiah with boldness, that the world might know the saving power of Jesus Christ. Amen.” ~ Holy Women, Holy Men
The Community of St. John Baptist, our local Episcopal religious order, has John as their patron saint. Keep the Community in your prayers this Saturday as they hold their annual Commemoration Day festival with friends, Associates, relatives, Oblates, and the Sisters. Here is the link to that event: http://www.csjb.org/eventsDetail.php?JUNE-20---COMMEMORATION-DAY-35 . And if anyone is interested in becoming affiliated with the life and work of CSJB by becoming an Associate of the Community, please speak to Sister Monica Clare or Mother Vicki.
Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. ~ The Collect for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, BCP, p.241
Questions for reflection: How does your life point to Jesus, as John the Baptist’s did?
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St. John the Baptist: 1St. John’s Eve
Midsummer night, and bonfires on the hill
Burn for the man who makes way for the Light:
‘He must increase and I diminish still,
Until his sun illuminates my night.’
So John the Baptist pioneers our path,
Unfolds the essence of the life of prayer,
Unlatches the last doorway into faith,
And makes one inner space an everywhere.
Least of the new and greatest of the old,
Orpheus on the threshold with his lyre,
He sets himself aside, and cries “Behold
The One who stands amongst you comes with fire!”
So keep his fires burning through this night,
Beacons and gateways for the child of light.
~ Malcolm Guite
The illustration above is by Rebecca Merry of Malcom Guite’s sonnet.