Good morning, men of Ascension & Holy Trinity. Please join us tomorrow morning for our monthly Men’s Prayer Breakfast. We meet at Frisch’s in Hartwell at 7:30. We order our breakfast, pray Morning Prayer with a discussion about the Gospel, and then eat and have fellowship for a bit. Tomorrow’s meeting is especially important as we’ll be organizing ourselves for Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner. This year the men have graciously agreed to cook up some delicious pancakes for Shrove Tuesday on March 4th.
A Christian Formation Opportunity:
Discussion Group based on the book
Reading the Bible Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg
Seven weekly discussions (11:15 am to 12:30 pm) from Sunday, February 23 through Sunday, April 6. N.B. We shall not be attempting to read the Bible, whether again or for the first time, in this seven week program! Each week we shall cover one section of the book:
1. Chapters 1-4: Foundations + Creation Stories
2. Chapter 5: Pentateuch (First 5 books of Hebrew Scriptures)
3. Chapter 6: Prophets
4. Chapter 7: Israel’s Wisdom Scriptures
5. Chapter 8: Gospels
6. Chapter 9: Paul
7. Chapter 10: Revelation
Objective: To enrich our understanding and insight about the role that the Bible might play in our lives as individual Christians and as members of a faith community.
Background: Marcus Borg is a renowned Biblical scholar and a prime mover of The Jesus Seminar—a movement which has brought both Biblical and historical scholarship to bear in deepening an understanding of the historical Jesus.
In Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, Borg uses a metaphorical-historical ‘lens’ in seeking the profound truths about the nature and character of God, and of our needed response, that are pointed to through the writings of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. This metaphorical-historical lens is in contrast with the literal-factual ‘lens’ insisted on by some Christians today.
In each discussion we shall be asking:
“What does this mean for me as an individual Christian?”
“What does this mean for me as a member of a faith community?”
“What does this mean for the vitality of a faith community?”
Maurice Bason & Don Schmidt, Co-facilitators
My family and I have been pondering which of three family camps to attend this summer. All three family camp experiences are over the weekend at the beautiful Procter Conference Center outside of London, Ohio. About a week ago I received an email from Rob Konkol, Diocesan Youth Minister, asking if I would consider serving as Family Camp I Chaplain. Would I ?!?!
I am thrilled to get to serve as Family Camp I Chaplain this summer. This Family Camp is scheduled for June 6-8th. My hope and prayer is that many of my Ascension & Holy Trinity Faith Community avail themselves to a great experience at Procter June 6-8th. We’ll laugh together, learn together, worship together, relax together, and all over a weekend less than an hour and a half away from Wyoming, OH. I encourage you to get on the diocesan website at www.diosohio.org and register for Family Camp I. You won’t be disappointed.
February’s Community Dinner will be Tues., Febr. 11. The menu will be
spaghetti and meatballs, hot rolls, tossed salad and fruit. As usual,
St. Simon’s will provide the fruit for dessert and do the setting up
the tables and cleaning up afterwards, We will need salad greens,
cherry tomatoes and other salad goodies; bottled marinara sauce or
tomato sauce, frozen meatballs, such as La Rosas or Kirkland meatballs
at Costco, and rolls. If it would be more convenient for you, you can
donate money instead. Please have the donations in the kitchen by
Tues. morning, marked for Community Dinner, so I will know what I have
to buy for the dinner. As usual, those of you who want to cook or
serve are welcome. Please come at 4:30 to help cook and 5:30 if you
are going to help serve. Thank you for all your help. Dee Damico
Once again, I am reminded of the vulnerability of our health and our living. The Rev. Siobhan Patterson, priest from the Diocese of West Virginia and friend of mine, died this week from cancer. I met Siobhan through the Rev. Donald Vinson. Donald was my supervising rector when I served as curate at St. John’s in Huntington, WV. Siobhan served under Donald as summer intern a few years after I’d left St. John’s to serve as St. Stephen’s rector in Beckley, WV.
Siobhan was young, too young to die, and yet, she has moved on from this mortal world. She touched many lives as she served as Chaplain at Peterkin Camp and Conference Center’s Senior Camp for several summers. She shared God’s love with grace and compassion and will be sorely missed as one of God’s holy priests.
Thankfully, Sarah Cotterill, parish administrator extraordinaire, had a great surgery Tuesday morning to repair her detached retina. Sarah does excellent work for Ascension & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. In fact, she’s so committed to outstanding work ethic that she was in the parish office early the morning before her surgery getting her office ready for parishioners to help throughout this week.
My thanks to Betsy Cooper, Renee Kuyath (Renee’s day was snowed out), Rich and Carol Gomez, and Cindy Belew for helping out at the office. Ministry is a team event, and I am thankful for all of our ministers at Ascension & Holy Trinity.
Have a blessed day. I look forward to seeing you on the streets and in the pews!
In God’s Grace,
Eric L. Miller+
An Ascension & Holy Trinity parishioner emailed me the following “Interview With God” poem. I find this poem very true of how I’ve lived some of my life. “They get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.” Growing up I couldn’t wait to get into High School and then get my driver’s license. Then, I couldn’t wait to graduate High School and go off to college. I enjoyed college for a while and then couldn’t wait to go to Seminary. Seminary was fine, but I couldn’t wait until Rosemary could get married. Of course, it didn’t take long until I was amped to graduate and get ordained. On and on life goes.
Now, I am thirty-six years old with an amazing wife, two bright young boys, an up and coming Episcopal Church, and good health, and yet, it can be so easy to yearn for more. In reality, I have been given more than I could imagine. Think about it–most of us have been given more than we can fathom. That doesn’t mean that we don’t get down and out some of the time, but in general, life is really really good.
Why do we have this need for more of everything? The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry just hosted an online course titled, “Crazy Christians.” One of Bishop Curry’s points was that each of us has a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only God can fill. Many of us search desperately for the next whatever to fill our God-shaped hole when only God can fully fill that hole, but we have to let God fill the hole.
Allowing God to fill the hole in our hearts isn’t through wishing our lives away until our next big milestone is met. Believe me, I get that that’s difficult. As stated above, I’ve lived much of my life in that manner. The clearest way for me to allow God to fill that space in my heart is through being fully present in the moment, in the good moments and in the bad moments. Being present in the bad moments means trusting in God and my God-given abilities that the bad moment will pass, and I’ll be a stronger person through it. Being present in the good moments looks like me fully enjoying whatever grace I’m receiving and not worrying about the next thing coming up or when the “other shoe is going to drop.”
I don’t practice any of this living in the moment perfectly, far from it. The point is that I practice. There are brief times when I catch myself living in the moment and what joy that is! What prevents you from living in the moment? Are you tired enough of the anxiety and the worry to give practicing a try?
The Interview With God” Poem
I dreamed I had an interview with God.
“So you would like to interview me?” God asked.
“If you have the time” I said.
God smiled. “My time is eternity.”
“What questions do you have in mind for me?”
“What surprises you most about humankind?”
“That they get bored with childhood,
they rush to grow up, and then
long to be children again.”
“That they lose their health to make money…
and then lose their money to restore their health.”
“That by thinking anxiously about the future,
they forget the present,
such that they live in neither
the present nor the future.”
“That they live as if they will never die,
and die as though they had never lived.”
God’s hand took mine
and we were silent for a while.
And then I asked…
“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons
you want your children to learn?”
“To learn they cannot make anyone
love them. All they can do
is let themselves be loved.”
“To learn that it is not good
to compare themselves to others.”
“To learn to forgive
by practicing forgiveness.”
“To learn that it only takes a few seconds
to open profound wounds in those they love,
and it can take many years to heal them.”
“To learn that a rich person
is not one who has the most,
but is one who needs the least.”
“To learn that there are people
who love them dearly,
but simply have not yet learned
how to express or show their feelings.”
“To learn that two people can
look at the same thing
and see it differently.”
“To learn that it is not enough that they
forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”
“Thank you for your time,” I said humbly.
“Is there anything else
you would like your children to know?”
God smiled and said,
“Just know that I am here… always.”
Ok, so this picture isn’t the highest quality (I’m not the best at “selfies” anyway), but it hopefully portrays my joy and excitement looking to Sunday’s Annual Meeting. I’m at my office away from the office, a favorite barista of mine, preparing for the Annual Meeting, thinking about Sunday’s homily, and meeting with one of our Christian Formation Council co-chairs to discuss their report for Sunday.
The weather forecast isn’t the best for Saturday and Sunday, but I’m a believer in the saying, “There isn’t bad weather, just a lack of preparation and appropriate attire.” Our heat will be on, and the sidewalks will be cleared and salted. I want you to join us for worship Sunday and our Annual Meeting because Ascension & Holy Trinity is doing some great ministries. It is important for us to gather as the body of Christ for worship, and it is important for us to have Bible study, fellowship, and time to rejoice over and receive reports from all of our ministries.
We have an outstanding slate of Vestry members for which to vote for the 2014 year, and our finance team and Vestry have done a magnificent job with our 2014 budget. Our Capital Campaign co-chairs will share with us all of the great work they’ve done over the last year and plans for 2014. Rolf Stottmann will share plans for our June Mission Trip to help rebuild from Hurricane Katrina. Formation Council will share our formation offerings for spring and summer of 2014.
At the beginning of our meeting we’ll read Scripture together and discuss what the passage means to us, what vitality looks like in light of the passage, and what a vital faith community might look like for Ascension & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
I encourage all my faithful blog readers to have a joyful and safe weekend and to plan on attending all of Sunday’s events. We continue developing into the church God wants us to become because of God’s faithfulness and your commitment to sharing your gifts with our faith community. So, keep your scarves, hats, and mittens ready for Sunday morning! See you in the pews and on the streets!
In God’s Grace,
Eric L. Miller+
I’m excited because I’m about to walk out the door with Nathaniel and Lucas, my children, to help serve food at our monthly community dinner. I appreciate the community dinner for a few reasons.
One of the reasons to appreciate this ministry is because it is collaborative. The food is prepared at Ascension & Holy Trinity’s kitchen, and it is served at St. Simon’s parish hall in Lincoln Heights. Great numbers of both churches come out to support this ministry.
I also really appreciate this ministry because my children can actively participate. In fact, they’ve been participating for three and a half years now serving food. I enjoy watching their interaction with the other children.
Tomorrow night will be equally exciting. Tomorrow night all four of my family get to participate in serving food at the Interfaith Hospitality Network dinner of Greater Cincinnati. Again, this is an excellent ministry for all age levels. My children will be present and able to actively minister in God’s name.
Friday morning I have the opportunity to gather with men from Ascension & Holy Trinity for our monthly men’s prayer breakfast. We have between six to twelve or so participants and enjoy good food, good prayers, and good company. We talk about the Gospel lesson for the coming Sunday, and we simply catch up with one another.
Most exciting of all, Grace, my two-year-old Labrador retriever gets to begin her pet therapy next week at Maple Knoll. She’s been certified as a therapy dog for a while now, but it has taken me a bit of time to get her into a facility. I can’t wait to have her begin her ministry!
What have you, my faithful readers, been up to lately? Where are we able to take God into the world? Remember, you’re always welcome to worship with us at Ascension & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at the corner of Burns and Worthington Ave. in Wyoming, OH. Check us out on the web at www.ascensionholytrinity.com.
In God’s Grace,
I realize I already posted about this earlier this week, but I am quite excited about our Sunday time together as a faith community. The Rev. Scott Gunn, Director of Forward Movement, will be with us preaching at the 8:00 and 10:00 services. Scott will present an engaging forum after our 10:00 worship on why the Church should care about social media and why we should utilize it for the spreading of the Gospel.
I have been privileged to share several conversations with Scott and always come away with a better understanding of my beliefs and the desire to learn and be further formed. You will not want to miss this Sunday. I repeat, you do not want to miss this extraordinary Sunday in the life of Ascension & Holy Trinity! You’re friends outside of our faith community are always welcome. These friends are especially welcome this Sunday.
The weather for January 12th looks to be beautiful with a high of 46 degrees and sunny. The Parish Hall looks amazing with all of the Capital Campaign work that’s been put into it. For many of you, this will be the first time you’ve seen our big projector screen in action in the Parish Hall. Ushers are prepared to have more of a coffee hour than usual for us in the Parish Hall. So please, join me, the Vestry, and the Christian Formation Council this Sunday as we welcome Scott and learn together. Our Ascension & Holy Trinity vision is that we are a vital and growing faith community, with overflowing worship services and Christian growth opportunities. A church with compassion-centered ministries through which all find a place and take God’s love into the world. Join us as we walk this visionary road together.
I’ll see you in the pews and on the streets!
In God’s Grace,
Eric L. Miller+