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!


Does the Church need to Act Poor?

While I was away on vacation, my brother sent me a link to the following article:

Why churches are poor—By Rebekah Simon-Peter

Simon-Peter makes a number of interesting points around the question of whether it is “theologically necessary” for churches to  “act poor,” by which she means allowing money to be the limiting factor in our ministries.  For example, she asks:

What if we were to pray that God direct the riches of the world to us and through us to bring about healing, reconciliation, justice and wholeness in our communities and world? I wonder what might happen then?

We need a new consciousness around money — one that allows us to be honest about our needs and the unlimited God we serve. Money is not in short supply. But if we believe it is, we will act, and ask, accordingly.

. . . .

Money makes the world go ’round. And churches need it as much if not more than other organizations. We have holy business to attend to: acts of justice, works of mercy, support of denominational initiatives, paying the salary and benefits of leaders, mortgages, heat, light, etc.

So why these mixed messages about money? Why awkward silences and the lack of clear direction or invitation? The truth is, many people want to express their gratitude to God, yet they don’t participate in the offering.

These are the kinds of questions we have been working to ask at Holy Trinity, not only with regard to money but also with regard to people and other types of resources.

Now at Holy Trinity we have no need to “act poor” in the sense of pretending. We are genuinely having trouble paying our bills. In recent months, however, we have abandoned some of the following behaviors where we found ourselves “acting poor”:

  • hiding our real financial needs from ourselves by refusing to look at the budget
  • hiding our real ministry needs from ourselves by allowing a few people to do most of the work, regardless of whether they are called to or suited for that ministry
  • spending whatever money happens to be in the checking account “because it’s there to be spent” rather than looking ahead to what our needs might be over the coming months
  • refusing to ask for pledges from the congregation or to teach about what a faithful pledge might look like

In the meantime, we have been adopting behaviors along the lines that Simon-Peter suggests, as we consider the work to which God is calling us on the West Side of South Bend. For example, we have been:

  • asking God to supply our needs, not simply naming those needs as a matter of honesty but also trusting God to meet them as a matter of faith
  • assessing the gifts that we do have—such as really amazing hospitality—and praying that God will direct us in using those gifts for the benefit of our neighbors
  • forming relationships with our neighbors as a first step towards bringing about healing, reconciliation, justice and wholeness in our community

Instead of responding to our financial crisis by cutting back on outreach, we have decided to expand our outreach ministries. For example, we have decided to to invite the other Episcopal Churches in the area, nearby churches from other denominations, and other civic groups to join us in Soup After School so that we can offer it every week instead of just one week a month. When we do a fundraiser like Holy Smoke! we make sure that our neighbors are welcome and fed, regardless of their ability to contribute financially.

We are, slowly but surely, dealing with our financial crisis. Thanks be to God, who is turning a shortage of funds into an abundance of blessing!