Dear Friends in Christ,
Please join us this Sunday Aril 7th in the Parish Assembly Room as our Helping Our Neighbors In Need Team discusses our mission trip opportunities for this summer. Remember, we live to put God’s love into action! That’s a wonderful mission statement, a wonderful purpose for Ascension & Holy Trinity, but how will we choose to live that our for our summer mission trip? We need your input and your commitment for a great mission week.
I’ll see you this Sunday for worship at 8:00 and 10:00 for worship and for the mission meeting.
In God’s Grace,
Easter Day\Luke 24.1-12
The Rev. Eric L. Miller
I’m still a little shocked I actually did this, but as Holy Week coincided with Spring Break this year, I took my family to the Great Smoky Mountains Sunday night through Wednesday of Holy Week. I say “I’m shocked” because when I was newly ordained there wasn’t any way I would even consider going anywhere over Holy Week in nervous preparation for all things Holy.
On our drive home from an indoor water-park, boys in the backseat watching a dvd, Rosemary in the front passenger seat playing solitaire on her phone, I noticed two interesting billboards that looked to be roughly 400 yards or so apart. The first billboard had the words, “Your Neighbors Need You!” by the United Way. The second billboard had even bigger letters, “It’s ALL about You!” by a local car company. “Your Neighbors Need You!” “It’s ALL about You!” Those two billboard messages couldn’t be much different could they? The first sign was “other” focused, outwardly focused. “Your neighbors need you,” beckoning readers to help the United Way to help others. Really, a beautiful Christian-centered message. The second sign, “It’s all about you,” inwardly focused. “You want the automobile of your dreams? Then come to us where we’ll give you all of our attention.” Not such a hot Christian message, the second sign. Of course, I suppose the car company wasn’t aiming for a Christian message.
Today, and really, all our lives we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s a glorious day today! Jesus’ resurrection isn’t about us; Jesus’ resurrection is about the transformative power of God, the transformational power that only God can accomplish. And yet, Jesus’ resurrection is about us because, you see, all are given a new lease on life through the transformative power of Jesus’ resurrection, and we are expected to do something with the gift of the resurrection.
The essence of Jesus’ resurrection can be found all around us; in the eyes of our neighbors, in the sounds and sights of nature, and especially in the art of poetry. Tenth century theologian, St. Symeon wrote this piece of poetry, reflecting the fruit of Jesus’ resurrection.
“We awaken in Christ’s body As Christ awakens our bodies, And my poor hand is Christ, He enters my foot, and is infinitely me. I move my hand, and wonderfully My hand becomes Christ, becomes all of him (for God is indivisibly Whole, seamless in his Godhood). I move my foot, and at once He appears like a flash of lightning. Do my words seem blasphemous?— Then Open your heart to him. And let yourself receive the one who is opening to you so deeply. For if we genuinely love Him, we wake up inside Christ’s body Where all our body, all over, Every most hidden part of it, Is realized in joy as him, And he makes us, utterly real, And everything that is hurt, everything Seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful, Maimed, ugly, irreparably Damaged, is in him transformed And recognized as whole, as lovely, And radiant in his light. . .” –St. Symeon, “The New Theologian” (trans. By Stephen Mitchell and quoted in Andrew Harvey’s book Son of Man, Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1999).
This Celebrative Feast of the Resurrection I want for us to pay attention to the fact that our Gospel writers are not concerned with how the Resurrection happened. In fact, they aren’t interested in the least bit pertaining to any particulars to Christ’s resurrection. Rather than going into any great length on the matter, they simply proclaim Jesus’ resurrection. The Gospels give great detail in describing Jesus’ death. We get some description regarding the fact that He was buried. And then we get to the third day, that glorious morning changing our lives forever. We get to the resurrection, and our inquiring minds want to know, “How did that happen.” And, we’re simply not given the answer to that question.
What do we hear about? What we do hear about is what happened, what took place after the Resurrection. The women came to the tomb taking the spices to anoint Jesus’ body for a proper burial. They found the stone in front of the tomb rolled aside. These women step inside the tomb and quickly come to the conclusion that Jesus, was indeed, missing.
They are perplexed by Jesus’ absence. Who wouldn’t be?!? The women stood in the chilly rock-hewn tomb, stood there puzzled and perplexed, and then took notice of two men in dazzling clothes standing beside them. Talk about one strange weekend! We’re told that the women were terrified and that they bowed their faces to the ground.
I love the angels’ question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” What is it that you and I are looking for? Are we looking for abundant life with a living God, the Resurrected Lord and Savior of our lives? Are we looking for a God who takes care of all of our problems, a God who magically fixes everything? Or, are we looking for a God, this Jesus of Nazareth, who was an example every day of his earthly life, an example of how to truly live serving others, proclaiming God’s unending love through words and without words.
Are we prepared, as the women were, to go and tell all the rest about God’s love, about Jesus’ resurrection? The answer is a loud and resounding, “Yes!” Yes, we are prepared to share this love that God has instilled in us. Yes, we have the needed skill set to go forth and to proclaim God’s message of grace and redemption. Yes, we know God well enough to share His presence with others. All of us are preachers of God’s Word, of God’s love overflowing in this sacred space. Our entire lives are to be breathing and living sermons. Preaching isn’t just one act that takes place for twelve minutes or so once a week. Yes, we are ready, as long as our hearts are open to God.
That, my friends in Christ, is the requirement—as long as our hearts are open to God. The women’s hearts were open to God, for know they returned from the tomb to the rest of the disciples, to all the rest and told what they had seen and been told, and the others simply didn’t believe their words. They thought it was an idol tale. But, but Peter got up, didn’t he? Peter got up and ran to that empty tomb to check it out for himself. He went and saw the empty tomb with nothing but the linen cloths, and he went straight home amazed at what had happened.
You see, the resurrection isn’t about the women who went to Jesus‘ tomb, it isn’t about the disciples‘ in disbelief, it isn’t about Peter’s swift running to check things out for himself. The resurrection is about the power, and more importantly, about the love of God, and the joy is that through the power and love and grace of the resurrection we are changed. Through our baptism with Christ into his life and death, we go from a people living our lives saying “Life’s all about us” to “Hey, our neighbors need us.”
If we allow it, the resurrection changes us. My theologian and writing buddy, Henri Nouwen wrote,
“When we gather around the Eucharistic table and eat from the same bread and drink from the same cup, saying, “This is the Body and Blood of Christ,” we become the living Christ, here and now. Our faith in Jesus is not our belief that Jesus, the Son of God, lived long ago, performed great miracles, presented wise teachings, died for us on the cross, and rose from the grave. It first of all means that we fully accept the truth that Jesus lives within us and fulfills his divine ministry in and through us. This spiritual knowledge of the Christ living in us is what allows us to affirm fully the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection as historic events. It is the Christ in us who reveals to us the Christ in history.”
As you receive the blessed body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, remember to keep your hearts open to God. As we leave this fantastic place of worship and love, remember to keep your hearts open to God. As we go about the daily affairs of our everyday lives, remember to keep your hearts open to God. As St. Symeon’s words of grace remind us, “Open your heart to him. And let yourself receive the one who is opening to you so deeply.” I bid you a Happy Easter, this Sunday and every Sunday! Alleluia, Christ is risen. The Lord is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!
What time is it? Time to get excited for Men’s Prayer Breakfast! Men, we meet Friday morning the 15th at 7:30 at Fricsh’s in Hartwell. Last month we had to add a table. How about shooting to add two tables to our usual line-up tomorrow?
In addition to our usual great food, prayers, and conversations, Terry Kessler, Team A&HT Relay Captain, will be with us to share about our involvement in American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Remember, Men’s Prayer Breakfast is for men of all ages. So, come on out to Fricsh’s for a great breakfast with your brothers in Christ. I can’t think of a better way to start our Friday!
In God’s Grace,
Continuing the Conversation—on Teen Alcohol Use
Sunday, March 3, 2013 – 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Ascension & Holy Trinity Church
Topic: What do I do when my friend has had too much to drink?
The Wyoming Fire-EMS and Wyoming Youth Services are hosting an event for parents and teens on how to deal with and how to prevent alcohol-related emergencies.
Specific topics will cover:
- When friends need to call for professional help if a fellow student is in medical need
- How to deal with peer pressure
This forum is open to all members of the Wyoming community but especially geared to High School students and their parents.
For additional information on underage drinking check out our Facebook page: Who R U?
Did you know Ascension & Holy Trinity is about to embark on a capital campaign? Indeed, our campaign launch draws closer and closer. Carol Gomez and Guy Belew, campaign co-chairs, have done a magnificent job working on a plan for our much needed capital campaign work. Our co-chairs shared the beginning of the plan at our Annual Meeting, and said plans were graciously accepted. Guy and Carol sought feedback during the Annual Meeting, and many folks stayed around after to offer constructive feedback.
Now, we want more feedback and engagement from you, the good folks of Ascension & Holy Trinity. Our fine church cannot as effectively live out of our mission, putting God’s love into action, without much needed repairs to our building structures. The reality is that no amount of planning or preparations will make a capital campaign successful without the congregation’s support.
Our Vision: 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.
We need a stronger building structure to “take God’s love into the world.” We are “a vital and growing faith community,” but in order to become more vital and grow even more it is important for our community to see that we are good stewards our spiritual lives and our buildings. ”Overflowing worship services and Christian growth opportunities” will happen more readily when folks can walk through the doors and see that we’ve invested our time, talents, and treasure into our spiritual home.
Join me this Sunday February 24th at 9:00 in the Parish Hall for a conversation with Guy Belew and Carol Gomez. We are a church family filled to the brim with knowledge, experience, and innovative ideas. Come out to hear our current plans and to share of yourselves. Our capital campaign process will be ever so meaningful to each of us as we become more involved in the process.
In God’s Grace,
Eric L. Miller+
Gregg’s visitation will be held at Ascension & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of Burns and Worthington in Wyoming Friday Feb. 15th from 5:00-7:30. Visitation will be in our church sanctuary. Folks are encouraged to enter through our Burns Ave. doors for ease of entry and navigation.
A celebration of Gregg’s life and the love in Christ Gregg shared with the world will be Saturday Feb. 16th at Ascension & Holy Trinity at 10:00. Wyoming Schools has been gracious enough to provide a live video/audio feed of the worship service in our Parish Hall where chairs will be set up. Wyoming Presbyterian Church has been kind enough to allow parking in their lot on the corner of Burns and Wyoming for the funeral.
A reception in honor of Gregg will be held in our Parish Hall wing following our funeral liturgy. All are welcome to the Visitation and the Funeral. ALL are welcome to receive Holy Eucharist.
In God’s Grace,
Eric L. Miller+
A Visitation for Mr. Gregg Rocca will be held on Friday, February 15th from 5:00-7:30 p.m. at the Ascension and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 334 Burns Ave., Wyoming. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 16th 10:00 a.m.at the Episcopal Church. The services will be a celebration of Gregg’s life. All families and community members are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Miracles in Action for the Gregg Rocca Library in Guatemala at www.miraclesinaction.org or the USC Cancer Center at www.uscnorriscancer.usc.edu/support. Arrangements are being made by the Hodapp Funeral Home.
“ Share the Love” Dinner benefitting the Gregg Rocca Library
Please join the Wyoming School Family on Friday, February 22nd from 5:30 until 8:00 p.m. in a ”Share the Love” celebration of life dinner. All monies raised will go to the Gregg Rocca Library, which is to be built in the Mayan Highlands of Guatemala- one of the poorest places in this hemisphere. This is a project close to the heart of our beloved primary guidance counselor, Mr. Gregg Rocca, who has been a major supporter of this project since it was first proposed. Cost of the meal- by donation, pay what you can and come join us as we, “Show our Love” for Mr. Rocca.
In addition to La Rosa’s spaghetti and salad meal, desserts will be provided by the Primary School staff!! Musical groups from the primary, middle and high schools, will entertain us, and face painting, crafts, cornhole, silent auction, jewelry sales and raffle will add to the fun.
The dinner is sponsored by Wyoming High School Project LEAD, Wyoming Youth Services, and the Wyoming Primary School “Family.” If you have any questions, please contact Pat Lehman, at 305-2117.
Gregg Rocca Library
As many of you know, Greg Rocca’s health is failing. A library in Guatemala is being dedicated in his honor and books are being purchased to stock this library. In conjunction with the Share the Love Dinner for the Gregg Rocca Library on Feb. 22, our church has been asked to sponsor a basket to be raffled off at the event. Our basket’s theme is “Spring Break”. We are hoping to get donations from members of the congregation to put in our basket. Items such as beach towels, blankets, sunscreen, tanning lotions, sunglasses, beach toys, coolers, and anything else that makes you feel “warm” would be greatly appreciated!
Please contact Kathy Kessler or Rosemary Miller with questions or items to donate. Even if you are unable to donate an item, please plan to attend the dinner on February 22 at the high school! Thanks!
REFRESH YOUR SOUL CONFERENCE
Riding the Dragon – Strengthening Your Life in Challenging Times
Saturday, March 9; 8:30am – 3pm; Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blue Ash
$45 before February 20, $55 after February 20; includes continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials.
Contact hours approved.
This annual conference sponsored by our parent organization Episcopal Retirement Homes (ERH) promises to be very exciting. Keynote speakers are Robert Wicks, PsyD, G. Scott Morris, MD, MDiv, Shelly Beach and Wanda Sanchez. Topic titles include: Riding the Dragon: Strengthening Your Inner Life in Challenging Times discussing prevention of secondary stress and developing resilience; The Health Care System May Be a Mess – but You Don’t Have to Be discussing how health care went wrong, how much the church can offer real answers and how you can take charge of your own wellness; Trauma Queens – Trading Hurt for Hope and Healing offering insights into PTSD, including guidance regarding the associated symptoms and struggles, as well as interventions and hope for treatment.
Registration brochures are posted on the PHM bulletin board in the main hallway. Everyone is welcome to attend. Questions, contact Angela Horne at email@example.com.
A TRUE VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL EXPERIENCE.
We at A&HT, in partnership with All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island, S. Carolina, are exploring the possibility of staging a joint Vacation Bible School (VBS) on Hilton Head Island this summer. To assess whether this concept is worth pursuing, both congregations need to test the degree of interest in participation. While there is no firm plan yet for such a VBS, here is how it might operate:
The VBS would run for 5 days, Monday through Friday, with classes in the morning, free time in the afternoon and voluntary participation in evening activities, like beach picnics and cook-outs. Classes would be appropriate for the age of the participants.
Participation in the VBS classes would be open to children/youth from A&HT and from All Saints. (All Saints does not at present have a strong children/youth program, but would invite the grandchildren of parishioners and children/youth from the Hilton Head area.)
We’d expect A&HT children/youth to be accompanied by a parent or parents. In other words, this would be a family vacation opportunity. (For those who’ve not visited Hilton Head Island, it is an outstanding summer vacation destination.) Transportation to and from Hilton Head would likely be by car. Accommodation on the island would be in rented property or, possibly, All Saints parishioners would accommodate visiting families.
All Saints would provide their well-equipped building facilities for the VBS. The VBS would be staged jointly by All Saints and A&HT. Visiting A&HT parents and older A&HT and All Saints parishioners would be encouraged to assist with the staging. Evening events could be planned for older parishioners.
Clearly there is much work and planning ahead if this VBS is to happen. We must test the degree of interest in possible participation to determine if it is worth undertaking this effort. To be clear, we are not seeking commitments at this time, recognizing that factors like cost and timing will influence ability to participate.
If you have an interest in participating, please respond to this e-mail, telling us:
1. Your degree of interest (e.g. strong, mild).
2. Names of possible participants.
Depending on the degree of A&HT interest (and that of the All Saints congregation), the expected next step will be an A&HT meeting to discuss and learn more about this True VBS possibility.
This is a joint venture between the high school Project LEAD students, Wyoming Youth Services and Wyoming Primary Schools “family.”
We invite all members of the Wyoming community to come, eat a delicious meal, have fun and support a terrific cause. This library is very close to the heart of our dear friend and wonderful guidance counselor, Gregg Rocca. he was the first person to donate to the fund for the library.
The meal will be La Rosa’s spaghetti and salad, and dessert will be provided by the primary school staff. We will have music from all divisions- primary, middle and high school. Young folks can be entertained with corn hole, face painting and crafts, while parents get a chance to “chat” with their neighbors. We’ll have jewelry for sale -beaded items made by the Mayan Indian women so that they do not have to work in the coffee fields and can stay home, raise their children while making money from beaded jewelry and novelty items. A raffle and silent auction, will add to the fun. we have no set cost- we ask for donations of whatever amount folks think they can afford.
Please, please help us in this event- monies for the actual building have already been raised. We have close to $40,000 of the $45,000- $50,000 we need. The monies raised by this event will go towards buying books, tables, chairs, bookcases etc.
Again, I cannot express how “deprived” an area this school will serve -we have nothing in this country to compare. The Mayan Indian families whom this library will serve, are desperate to receive the education they know will help improve the lives of the children, the families and the community. Many years of horrific civil war, and with a corrupt government still in place, has left the area and the Mayan community in terrible circumstances.
If you have any questions, please contact Pat Lehman, 513 305-2117, or Angie Reichert-Hester, Wyoming Youth Services, 821-2428
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ascension & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church takes Ash Wednesday to the Streets
On Ash Wednesday, February 13, Ascension & Holy Trinity will be offering “Ashes to Go,” a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition, at the corner of Burns and Worthington Ave. at 3:30.
Ascension & Holy Trinity is part of a new nationwide movement that has clergy and lay people visiting transit stops, street corners, coffee shops, and college campuses to mark the foreheads of interested passers-by with ashes and invite them to repent of past wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and renewal.
In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. For centuries, Christians have received a cross of ashes on the face at the beginning of that season as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness. Ashes to Go provides the opportunity to participate in that tradition for people who have lost their connection to a church, or have never participated before.
“Our lives are increasingly busier and busier as we meet the daily demands of family and work. Ashes to Go helps us receive God’s forgiveness in the midst of overflowing and hectic lives,” says the Rev. Eric L. Miller.
Contact Ascension & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, firstname.lastname@example.org, 513-821-5341 for more information.