Dear St. John’s,
This week, we celebrate All Saints’ Day. We remember giants of the faith, like Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist, and the many people throughout history whose examples we’d like to emulate: Dame Julian of Norwich, John and Charles Wesley, Harriet Tubman, Oscar Romero.
It’s also a time to remember our personal saints. These are the people who made a difference in our lives and helped us grow in faith and love. It could be our grandmother or a beloved teacher or maybe the school crossing guard.
I encourage you to think about who has been a saint in your life, and to give thanks for them. If you can, join us in church on Sunday, when we will read the names and display photographs of some of these spiritual ancestors.
Let us take courage and inspiration from the saints, famous and not-so-famous and those known to God alone. For all form the communion of saints, who surround us as we strive to continue God’s work here on earth.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
“... God gave the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:9
Dear St. John’s,
I stopped by our Pledge Garden today for the first time in a while and was in awe. The small plants we put in the ground earlier this summer now fill the space with beautiful flowers and foliage.
This week, I also visited the annual summer Drumming Camp at St. Stephen’s in Millburn, which several of the children in the Wilson House attended. There, I saw some children I hadn’t seen in person for two or more years because of COVID. Again, I was in awe of how tall they had grown and how beautifully they had “sprouted.”
As we go about our day-to-day tasks, we can’t always see the progress we are making or the growth of the seeds we plant or the projects we begin. But, thanks to God’s grace, the growth does occur. We may not see it for awhile, but keep the faith: The harvest is coming!
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
Dear St. John’s,
Earlier this year, WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer asked listeners to share the events that shaped them in a series called “News That Defined Your Generation.” While major events like Watergate and 9/11 immediately came to my mind, I realized that the event that affected me the most was one whose true impact I only felt years after it happened: the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church.
July 29 marks 49 years since the first 11 women became Episcopal priests in Philadelphia in what initially was labeled an “irregular” ordination. Two years later, General Convention officially approved ordaining women to the priesthood starting Jan. 1, 1977, and “regularized” those 11 ordinations and four more that followed in Washington, D.C., in September 1974.
I was a child when all of this happened and couldn’t have imagined the tremendous impact numerous female priests would have on my life, let alone that I myself would be called to ordination.
I can only imagine how hard it was for women who previously felt that call and were told “no” simply because they were not men. I remain incredibly grateful for the Philadelphia 11, the bishops who ordained them and all who worked for many years to allow all who hear God’s call to ordination the opportunity to pursue it.
Let us continue to work toward equality and equity for all within the church, for we all equally are children of God.
P.S. – This Sunday, we will celebrate the anniversary of women’s ordination during our 10:30 a.m. Eucharist. Join us, and hear our guest preacher, Ms. Brigid Dwyer. She is the Youth and Children's Minister at St. George's Episcopal Church, Maplewood, and a PhD student in Bible and Cultures at Drew Theological School, where she also received her Master of Arts and Master of Sacred Theology, and was a classmate of mine. Brigid is also a nominee for Diaconal orders, serves on the ACTS/VIM board, and previously served on the Executive Board of the Union of Black Episcopalians, Diocese of Newark chapter.
Lenten Evening Prayer- Friday, 7 P.M. One of the most valued benefits is the opportunity to quiet the mind and settle the soul after a busy week. Finding a way to center one’s awareness and transition from the bustle of the world to the calm of resting in God can be life-changing. Please join us as part of your Lenten practice, and stay for the fellowship of our Virtual Coffee Hour right after.
Announcements To all who are worshipping with us today, or watching this on-demand, thank you for being with us in prayer—you are most welcome, always!
We follow the Diocese of Newark's guidelines requiring the wearing of masks and social distancing. To support the mission and ministries of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Boonton, NJ, go to our website, online giving, create an account and you can donate once or set up a recurring donation. Your generosity is deeply appreciated! An on-demand recording of services is available on Facebook.
Articles are posted by the Communication team, Rev. Sharon and others.