Beloved.

I have just gotten around to reading the Nashville Statement, issued Tuesday by the so-called Coalition for Biblical Sexuality. Call me inattentive, but I was distracted by local pastoral concerns and national events like Hurricane Harvey, the devastation it leaves in its wake and the courage and love folks are demonstrating in response.  Anyway, though I usually shrug off such manifestos on the theory that the less attention paid to them the better, this one offends so much of my understanding of God and of human sexuality that I feel compelled to state, here within my own parish family, just where I believe it goes wrong.

First, though,  I suppose I should affirm the values I do share with the authors. If I thought they got nothing right, I would not consider them worth responding to, after all. It is precisely the attractiveness of these shared values that makes such statements dangerous. So, I agree that God has given us marriage as a life-long covenant that reflects to us the covenantal love both between God and individual human souls and between Christ and the Church. I agree that emotional and sexual fidelity within marriage is a significant characteristic of that reflection. I agree that all humans are “created in the
image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers.” I even agree that “sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant
and toward sexual immorality— a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.” I agree that we are called to speak the truth in love to one another, even about sexuality, and I agree that “the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” I agree with the authors on all these points, yet I fear that what I mean by them and what they mean by them differs widely.

Let’s start with God giving us marriage, since that gift is at the heart of the matter. In Genesis 2, God makes Adam, takes stock of the situation, and then says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner” (2:18). God then presents each of the animals in turn, but Adam names and rejects them. God goes along with this, indicating that God wants us to have choice in the selection of our partners. Recognizing who is and who isn’t suited to us as a helper and partner is important to the formation of marriage as a particular type of covenant relationship. When God presents Adam with Eve, however, Adam recognizes her as both kindred—”This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”—and as other—worthy of receiving a name different from Adam’s own.

It is true that this first relationship is between one man and one woman. The Genesis account doesn’t give us enough humans at this point for polygamy or polyandry. It is, shall we say, a procreative relationship of necessity, because humanity would have died out had it not been. We humans have adapted the examples of Adam and Eve in many creative ways since then—for better and for worse—and the Scripture does not call us to follow them exactly. Part of being human is coming to some kind of terms with—in different ways that may include changing—the bodies into which we have been born. Thus there are many different expressions of masculinity and femininity and all the other “inities” between and around them that are all different reflections of the image of God.

Acknowledging in each other both our kinship and our differences, loving both the kinship and the differences, is our primary task in the covenantal relationship we call marriage, whether the kinships/differences are between our sexual organs, our mental ones, our emotional outlooks or our family histories. In marriage, we are called to speak the truth to one another and to the world about these matters. That truth is the foundation of the beloved relationship we are called into with our God who both is and is not like us. Likewise it is the foundation of the beloved relationship we are called into with another person who both is and is not like us.

Those two beloved relationships are primary while providing a model for our various secondary and tertiary relationships (and so on). Precisely because these relationships may resemble our primary relationships, we set boundaries around our primary relationships—”forsaking all others”/”no other gods”—in order to clarify what fidelity might look like. What that fidelity actually means on a day-to-day basis is part of what makes both marriage and religion such a wonderful adventure.

It is that adventure—that multiplicitous working out of what it means to be faithful to the command to love God and our neighbor with all our heart, soul mind and strength—that brings God the greatest glory. This is the purpose for which god has made each and every one of us. If God wanted slavish obedience to one and only one expression of God’s will, creating humanity was an awfully strange way to go about it. No, God created us because God wanted relationship with something both kindred and other than God’s-self. Thanks be to God for that!

—Terri+

The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin

BVMBanner

The Church of the Holy Trinity invites you to a Procession and Eucharist in Honor of

The Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin

on Tuesday, August 15 at 6:30 pm

Please Join Us on the The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin as we keep the ancient tradition of the Crowning of Mary in Solemn Procession followed by a Sung Eucharist. In the Episcopal Church, we celebrate the end of Mary’s earthly ministry and her joyous reception into the hosts of heaven without specifying how, in fact, this came about. So, whether you believe that Mary was assumed bodily into heaven without experiencing death or that she experienced a death as gentle as falling asleep, there is a place for you in the procession. What we all share is the recognition that Jesus’ joy in receiving his mother provides us a foretaste of the joy that will greet us when, having experienced the forgiveness of sins, we too will have entered the realms of heaven. We invite you to come celebrate that promised joy with us!

Upcoming at Holy Trinity

Because the next two weeks will be very busy at Holy Trinity, here is a handy list of reminders!

Tuesday, 10/25 at 7:15pm    A Faith for the Future

This class is both for those considering the possibility of formal confirmation/reception in the Episcopal Church and for those who would like to refresh their acquaintance with the ways in which Episcopalians understand their relationship with God through liturgy, the creeds and the bible. We will be using the book A Faith for the Future, by Jesse Zink, as a guide to our discussion, but you will not need a copy for this first class.

Wednesday, 10/26 at 7:15pm    Vestry Meeting (Rescheduled from 10/18)

Sunday, 10/30 at 11:15am     Pot Luck and Stewardship Celebration

Join us as we celebrate our successful stewardship for 2016 and cast a vision for the year to come. As we emerge from a period of transition and crisis, what are the different type of asset that each of us brings to our common life in Christ? How might we collaborate with our neighbors to help all of us recognize and employ our assets for the betterment of our community? What kinds of commitments can we make with each other so that we can walk forward with confidence in the year ahead?

Tuesday, 11/1 4-6pm     Soup After School and 6:30pm Eucharist for All Saints Day

Join us for a bowl of soup and fellowship with our neighbors in the late afternoon, and then stay afterwards for a celebration of All Saints Day. This “major feast” is one in which we celebrate the “great cloud of witnesses” who set an example for us of heroic life in faith and whose continual offering of prayer supports us even when we ourselves lack the strength to pray as we should. Because not every saint has been recognized as such and assigned a specific date in the church calendar, All Saints Day provides us with an opportunity to give thanks for those  unnamed saints who have played such an important role in the lives of those whose souls they have touched.

Wednesday, 11/2 6:30pm     Eucharist for All Souls Day

Not all of us are saints. Yet we believe in a God whose property is always to have mercy, and so we gather on the Feast of All Souls to remember before our God the names of both the faithful and the not so faithful departed who have played a meaningful part in our lives. After naming each person, we insert slips of paper with their written names into a cross designed for that purpose. In so doing, we also offer to God all the various and complicated memories and feelings we have about these folks, trusting that God is able to return our offering to us as a resurrection blessing. Join us for this celebration of the Body of Christ, in death as in life.

All of the departed named in the newsletter each month and in the prayers of the people will be remembered at our All Souls Day service. If you have other names to add, but will not be present on 11/2, please submit them by phone (please spell out the names!), email or in person by 11/1. If you will be present on 11/2, you will have an opportunity to write those names on the spot.

See you at church!

Terri+

Holy Smoke!

HolySmokeKettleDoes the smoke from your brisket or ribs ascend before the Lord like the incense of the evening sacrifice? Do you think you’ve got a heavenly pulled pork recipe? Do your wings inspire the weeping of angels? Do you just love a good ‘cue ? Then Holy Smoke is the event for you! Join us at Holy Trinity on October 1 for food, fellowship and maybe just a little bit of healthy competition at . . .

Holy Smoke!

Neighborhood BBQ Cook-Off
and Fund-Raiser
for the Church of the Holy Trinity
A Day of Celebration and Fellowship
October 1, 2015

Make a Donation
to Help us Continue our
Outreach and Ministry
and Enjoy:

  • Smokin’ Hot
    Live Music by the Oblates of Blues
    5-7pm
  • BBQ Judging and Sampling
    6-8pm

    Compete for the best ribs, pulled pork, brisket or chicken!

    Church of the Holy Trinity is located at
    915 N. Olive Street in South Bend

Soup After School Starts Again!

Soup After SchoolThis time next week, Soup After School will have returned to Holy Trinity from its summer vacation! From 4-6pm on the First and Third Tuesdays of each month, you can come by Holy Trinity to enjoy a free meal of soup, bread and a beverage while visiting with your neighbors. The Church of the Holy Trinity, along with our partners from the Cathedral of St. James host Soup After School from September through May, and all are welcome!

Soup After School Dates for the 2016-17 School Year:  Sept 6/20 • Oct 4/18 • Nov 1/15 • Dec 6/20 • Jan 3/17 • Feb 7/21 • Mar 7/21 • Apr 4/18 • May 2/16

The Multiplication of the Children

You’ve heard about Jesus multiplying the 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed the multitude? Well today at Holy Trinity, Jesus multiplied 5 girls and 2 boys into 22 children who feasted upon God’s love for them!

It happened like this:  our Diocesan Sr. High Mission Week is focusing on missional work around the diocese. Today the youth were visiting Holy Trinity to offer a one-day Vacation Bible School for the children of our neighborhood. The only problem was finding some children in the 4-12 age range for the high school kids to work with!

Last Thursday I went around putting leaflets on doors, but I only had time to cover 6 blocks. I came back on Monday afternoon to cover a few more blocks, but one never knows how many people those leaflets will reach. . .

Tuesday morning came along, and one girl came a bit early, then three more girls with their grandmother. Just as the Senior High youth arrived (delayed by road closings), two boys arrived with their mother. So now we had 10 youth, 7 adults, and only 7, really nervous kids to teach. Oh, and did I mention that I had only met 1 of the kids before today?IMG_1837

So that’s when the miracle started. We welcomed the kids we had, started telling them about Jesus and his love for them, shared some food and some stories, played some games. Somewhere along the way, more kids started arriving, and then some more (the noontime arrival of a Bonny Doon truck, driven by Adam Craroll, one of our parishioners, might have helped!). By the end, we had 22 children, plus several parents, gathered to hear about the love of God.

Hope is indeed a growing thing!