Senior Warden Sylvia Sepulveda
Wind-tumbled seeds land –spirit sower
promise, like hidden treasure,
seeking fertile ground.
In last month’s Senior Warden reflection, I started to answer Rev. Benz’ question, “Who do you say you are?” I thought about the ministries that have helped form the spiritual identity from which I feel called now. As our current home in Anacortes is our tenth in twenty-eight years, I’ve experienced quite a few different ministries, most through very involved membership in six Episcopal churches in four different states. The highlights I offer below aren’t intended as a menu of promising offerings for our Christ Church community, but more to whet the palate, an appetizer for entering into conversation about whether or how we might want to do new and different. Though you may find none of these particular plates to be a good meal for our CEC table, they may lead you to imagine or remember something that would. Channel your inner Goldilocks and let me know what you come up with.
Scott and I joined St. John of Chrysostom Episcopal Church in Santa Margarita, CA in 1994 in order to baptize our newborn daughter, Sara Melena. Scott had grown up Southern Baptist and I, Catholic, and neither of us wanted to introduce our daughter to either of those faith traditions. With Irvine farmland and orchards just north of Santa Margarita, St. John’s responded to local need by offering English as a Second Language (ESL) on weeknights. This was the first ministry in which Scott and I became active. We were both working full-time, so we shared a Tuesday/Thursday class – Scott taught Tuesday nights, I taught Thursdays. We were so grateful the church offered a flexible way for us to use our gifts that was so personally meaningful and convenient for us. During our two years at St. John’s, we also worked on the Capital Campaign that raised funds for a new pre-school. We relocated to Massachusetts before Sara was old enough to attend, but we relocated back to the area eight years later – by which time St. John’s Episcopal School had grown big enough to accept both fifth-grade Sara and Pre-K Sinjin.
We landed at St. Elizabeth’s in Sudbury, MA only a year or so after Rector, Rev. Barbara Williamson had arrived. After a long, lucrative career as a corporate accountant, Rev. Barbara didn’t find the same solutions when adding tradition and practice as most rectors did. In answer to requests for a Bible Study, she formed a group of nine women (including myself) to join her in a three-year journey to complete the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. This was the most profound spiritual work I’ve ever done and has reverberated in every meaningful spiritual venture since, from six years of training for The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) to (almost) two four-year rounds of Education for Ministry.
In addition, Rev. Barbara gathered the high-school juniors and seniors with some of our congregation’s buildings and grounds members for monthly carpentry lessons. The bird-houses, dog-houses, and garden benches these groups built were sold at our annual silent auctions to fund the annual trips to Appalachia (through Appalachia Service Project,) where the kids used their hard-earned carpentry skills to rebuild rotting home foundations, install missing insulation, repair leaky roofs, build room additions, etc. for low-to-no-income families. The conversations and meals shared with these home-owners were transformational for our teens, and their chaperones, and led to long-lasting, revelatory friendships.
I spoke to Barbara last year, just before she entered retirement. She was excited about the discussion group she was facilitating around the Scene On Radio podcast, Seeing White. Though she’d spent some years as a rector for a diverse church in Milwaukee, the congregation at St. E’s in Sudbury is largely white and affluent. This discussion group was allowing her to see how her experiences might bridge the divide between what seemed like two very different perspectives.
Still three churches and two temples to go! After six years in MA, we relocated to Orange Village, OH, just east of Cleveland – into the sweet 150-year-old embrace of Christ Church, Shaker Heights, and it’s grand building. Beyond the wonderful collaboration of implementing a new CGS program here, our family particularly enjoyed the small, all-ages youth choir that hosted a weekly Evensong (Sung Evening Prayer) service. Sinjin wasn’t talking yet, but Sara was a proud third-grade member. I’d drop her off for practice an hour before the service; Scott and Sinjin would join us later, as it started. Returning to SoCal after two years in OH, we joined St. Margaret’s in San Juan Capistrano, which was using CGS not only for the church children’s faith formation, but for religious studies for each grade of its primary school. As the Episcopal school was open to all faith traditions, the CGS atriums were intentionally inter-faith, including figures, stories, and materials that represented all the practices followed by enrolled students. I learned so much about the many beliefs and practices such varied religions hold in common.
Our need for a less traditional faith community led us next to St. Clement’s in San Clemente, CA, where multilingual rector, Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, led services in both English and Spanish. For Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, she spoke both during the same service. (She also speaks Mandarin, but I didn’t attend those services.) While linguistically acrobatic, Rev. Diane also has great liturgical flexibility, and offered alternative Eucharists one Saturday a month, seemingly utilizing every idle page of the Book of Common Prayer, then leading beyond, with services featuring Celtic prayers, Doo-Wop music, (I’ll never again hear the song, My Guy without thinking My God,) St. Francis, Pirates! and even a Jazz Vespers and a contemplative service featuring a silent homily. For these alternative liturgies, we acted like early Christians, bringing food to share (snacks fitting the theme,) and took a short break during the prayers to break bread in companionship before returning to the sanctuary to conclude the Eucharist. Ironically, straying from tradition with these services taught me about the components of various liturgies and made me more comfortable with using the Book of Common Prayer.
Our contemplative mentor at St. Clement’s, Randy Seech, invited speakers to our weekly meditation sessions from Contemplative Outreach, World Community for Christian Meditation, and even his friend, Mindfulness and Yoga teacher, Satyajit. He also organized field trips for us to experience other faith traditions’ prayer practices, such as at The Center for Self-Realization, Vedanta, and Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deer Park Monastery. It was interesting and gratifying to hear so many of these other faith leaders refer so often and reverentially to the wisdom and love of Our Good Shepherd.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have found such vibrant faith traditions and leaders in the various communities in which we’ve lived. I’d love to hear about your spiritual and church experiences. Many of you may want nothing more than the dear, familiar comfort of sliding into your seat in the sanctuary, waiting for a friend to arrive, Lynne Berg’s beautiful prelude lifting your spirit, knowing that soon the parade of cross and clergy will lead everyone into the beautiful celebration of our faith. I, too, await that day with enthusiasm and longing. Until then, I wonder what kind of experimentation you might be interested in?
Bishop Greg Rickel will be visiting Christ Church (virtually) on Sunday, October 4.
Here’s the schedule:
10:30 am Bishop Rickel will preach at our Morning Prayer service
11:30 Blessing of the Animals
11:40—12:30 Congregational Meeting moderated by Bishop Rickel
12:40—2:00 pm Meeting of Bishop, Bishop’s Committee, & Support Circle
All are welcome at this special event.
Plans for Partial Re-opening in Early November!*
The Reverend Diane Ramerman
In so many ways, we are a church community discovering what we are really about. We are learning to ask what is possible, rather than focus on what is wrong. When we turn to one another we discover that although we are physically distanced, we are still spiritually connected. Our personal comfort level, day-to-day, has much to do with our comfort with who we are, and our ability to adapt.
Leadership is planning the partial re-opening of our sanctuary in early November. We are developing Protocols (required by the Bishop) and a Mitigation of Risk Plan (required by the State to be posted on site) which balance five factors: maintaining physical distance between persons; amount of time together; volume of air flow (whether inside or out); use of masks and frequent sanitizing; and health screening for gatherings. We cannot eliminate risk, but we can mitigate the risk.
Much more is known about COVID-19 than six months ago. Health advisors now identify aerosol (what’s in the air) and droplet (think, coughing, sneezing, singing or speaking extra loud) as primary virus spreaders. We are told that there is medical evidence that gloves protect the wearer but not anyone else: the COVID virus is uniquely sticky, gloves spread contamination between the surfaces they touch. The Governor issued requirements for religious organizations, tied to the County ‘phase’ status, and seconded by requirements of our Bishop and the Diocese of Olympia. Developing Protocols and Plan is complicated!
For the mid-week ‘open church’ (planned for two hours on Wednesdays), only five (masked and physically distanced) persons may be in the church at one time. This is a time for silent prayer and meditation, not socializing. A Wellness Supervisor will screen all who seek to enter. The Wellness Supervisor will ring the singing bowl whenever there are people waiting to enter – those inside are asked to leave to make room. The doors will be open for air circulation at all times, so dress warmly! The number five reflects the balancing of time/air flow/distancing as people move in and out for personal worship during the two hour period.
For Sunday morning worship at 8 am, the maximum number of persons allowed in the church at the same time is 24. This number is derived from Governor’s and Diocesan phase definitions and requirements for religious gatherings. The parameters are: 1/4 of the total occupancy permitted in the sanctuary; and the number of persons who can be seated at a mandatory radius distance of 6 feet. For the Christ Church sanctuary, these numbers happen to be the same: 24. Again, we are balancing the risk factors of distance/air flow/time – all persons must wear masks and be screened at entry. The service will be Morning Prayer with a short homily and music, and not exceed one-half hour. All will enter and leave according to a choreographed pattern to avoid passing one another closely, and are asked to leave promptly. Socializing COVID style might occur outside the building; please respect the ‘time in the building’ factor. After each service and open church, frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized. The simple passage of time [Wednesday – Sunday pattern] is part of the mitigation effort.
We are building a sustainable model of face to face (masked) worship for the next year, which will mitigate (but not eliminate!) risk. If all goes well, we will offer Eucharist during Advent – for the reasons set out above, (those 5 factors), this will be a time and limited participant service with very specific choreography for receiving the host. A few have asked about getting a pavilion tent to worship outside. Applying the same mitigation factors including physical distancing and protocols, the participant number on our lawn (or Gentry House lawn) would be the same as in the sanctuary.
Planning on family dinners at Thanksgiving or Christmas? Folks who are eating are not masked. Please use the five risk/mitigation factors, weigh the risk vs. the benefits of gathering face to face, and consider creating your own protocol/mitigation plan for any gatherings in your home.
Peace and good health,
Adult Faith Formation
Beyond Belief: A Marcus Borg Retrospective
Sundays, through October 18
9:00 am via Zoom
No class on October 4, the day of the Bishop’s Visitation.
Please join in. All are welcome.
Consider Your Spiritual Gifts
It’s been five years since Christ Church began the process of calling and preparing new members to join the Ministry Support Circle, the commissioned group that supports our various ministries. The full process takes about two to three years for commissioning and four to five years for those called to ordination as a priest or deacon. Several current Circle members are planning to step back a bit in the next few years, and because of the long lead time, it’s important for us to begin the search process now.
A few words about Total Common Ministry written by the Circle in November 2011 . . . “TCM theology is an expression of the ministry of the baptized. This model assumes the church will reach its greatest potential when ordinary believers realize they have been empowered to do extraordinary things in the service of the community, and when they discover their mutual interdependence as the Body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are not options: all believers are gifted by the Holy Spirit. The TCM church’s challenge is to discover, and to provide training, direction and guidance in the use of spiritual gifts.” It’s based on the idea, from the earliest days of Christianity, that all the gifts necessary for a faith community (preaching, teaching, celebration of the sacraments, pastoral care, reconciling, etc.) are already present. Individuals recommended by the congregation who, after serious discernment, agree to develop and share their gifts are commissioned into the Ministry Support Circle. We are now embarking on the process of identifying those people among us.
In November you will receive a booklet with more information on the Total Common Ministry model and the Christ Church call process. In the meantime, consider completing a personal Spiritual Gifts Inventory. It’s a very useful tool for insight into your own spiritual gifts; the results are often surprising! In thinking about your personal gifts, you may be prompted to consider the gifts you believe are most important for church leaders and who those people might be. Contact me to have the inventory mailed to you. I hope many of you will decide to do this!
During Advent the Ministry Support Circle will offer a forum to explain the call process in more detail and answer questions. In January each member of the congregation will receive a request for nominations and a list of those eligible for consideration. Your input will help set the direction of leadership for the future.
Look for articles in upcoming Joyful Noise issues for updates as we walk together on this path of shared ministry.
“A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”Robert frost
Come and travel with us in pursuit of poetry! This new monthly offering will focus on the mindful reading of verse, concentrating on sensory experience and spiritual connection. Instead of using analysis and explanation, we will approach poems with a sense of curiosity and openness, a holistic approach to appreciating the beauty and wisdom of a poem. The sessions will be offered via Zoom on the last Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., with Becky Lennstrom and Sylvia Sepulveda as co-hosts. Each session’s poems and a brief introduction to the various poets will be provided in advance. Please bring a notebook or journal for writing down impressions, sensory experiences, and connections. BYOW – Bring your own wine.
Just as we shift from thinking to experiencing in meditation, when we read a poem we can also focus on noticing and appreciating rather than interpreting and explaining. We can immerse ourselves in the poem’s atmosphere, its tones and textures, its sounds and images and rhythms, the way it moves and how it feels, the details of how it’s made. Doing so requires no special literary training. What’s needed mainly is alertness and curiosity, a willingness to be with what is happening in the poem without worrying too much about what it means.”john brehm, the poetry of impermanence, mindfulness, and joy
If joining by phone:
Meeting ID: 503 653 606 One tap mobile +12532158782,,503653606# US (Tacoma)
As the Stewardship Drive Chairperson this year, I’d like to thank all of you for your continued support of Christ Church. We are officially kicking off the drive this month, and will be mailing out pledge cards with return envelopes in the upcoming weeks. Please fill out your card and return before the end of October. If you have been contributing regularly, but not making the leap to pledging, please consider it. By tabulating our pledges each fall, we are able to set a fairly accurate budget for the upcoming year.
So much has changed in all our lives since last spring, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I certainly miss interacting with everyone, but am grateful that we can at least talk and see each other’s faces through Zoom. The closure of the Red Door Thrift Shop for most of the year has had a huge impact on the funds generated for Community Support Outreach. Over the years, the profits generated through sales at the Red Door have allowed us to support many important causes in our community and surrounding areas. Part of our Stewardship Drive this year will include a call for Community Support Outreach donations to offset the loss of Red Door revenue. I’m confident that we can rise above the difficulties being faced and continue to support the good work being carried out around us.
Spiritual Book Group
Thursday, October 22
2:00 – 3:00 pm via Zoom
We will discuss How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg M.D. & Mark Robert Waldman.
Please join us. All are welcome.
Questions? Contact Betty Anne McCoy
Christ Church’s Stained Glass Windows
Jesus Teaches About the Reign of God
Reverend Deacon Eric Johnson
The fourth of a series of eight articles on the stained glass windows in Christ Church.
In this mountaintop scene we find Jesus surrounded by his disciples as he preaches about the Kingdom (or Reign) of God. Jesuit priest James Martin writes that most New Testament scholars point to the Reign of God as the crux of Jesus’ teaching. “This sometimes surprises people,” Martin writes, “who assume that his central message was loving your enemies or offering forgiveness or helping the poor. But though all of those are central to his message, they are not the central message: the reign of God was.” 1
Jesus certainly seems ambiguous as he speaks about the Kingdom. Jesus often refers to a Kingdom that was in heaven, which we will enter sometime in the future. However, Jesus also said that the kingdom was in his own present work of healing and freeing those under repression. For Jesus—and for us—the reign of God is happening before our very eyes. Right now, here and today.
Jesus stands barefoot in this scene, a reminder that when he sent out his disciples he told them not to bring sandals for their journey. This habit of going barefoot was restored by the Franciscan and Dominican friars in the 13th century. Francis and Dominic both rebelled against the property and riches that were accruing to western monasteries. They preached that Jesus came into this world poor and that the true church must also be the church of the poor. The vows taken by friars bound them to a life of poverty, with their survival dependent on the good will and support of their listeners. From this arose two distinctive branches of friars and nuns: “discalced” (i.e. “shoeless”) and “mendicant” (derived from “mendicare” to beg).
The border of the window reprises the Christmas Roses found in the Nativity Scene, reminding us of the legend of the girl who, from her poverty, was able to offer a gift of love to the child Jesus. We also find three crowns in the border as well, referring to the Kingdom of Heaven. At the apex is a crown surmounting a cross, which reminds us of Jesus telling his disciples, “If you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me.”2
Jesus’ mother, Mary, is in the forefront of this scene, typically clothed in blue. Here, she is supported by a walking stick; she is a much older lady and her face is grayer than that depicted in the nativity scene. English art historian Sister Wendy Beckett writes that we often see Mary depicted with Jesus at the center of Christian artwork. “He is the source of love; but she was the one, above all, who received it. She shows us what the power of God can accomplish. She placed herself among the lowly, the poor, because she knows that she possessed nothing. It was this very poverty that made it possible to receive everything from God.”3
1Martin, James. Jesus: A Pilgrimage. HarperCollins.
2Luke 9: 23 (Good News Translation)
3Beckett, Sister Wendy. Sister Wendy on the Art of Mary. Franciscan Media
Order Now for Free Delivery by October 9!
Would you like to own a piece of Christ Church history? With the addition of more chairs in the sanctuary, we have excess pews looking for good homes. By my count, there are five. If you have empty space along a wall in your home, visualize a church pew. Looks great, doesn’t it!? Integrating our new chairs into the sanctuary seating plan will offer plenty of space for those who prefer the feel of a classic church pew and accommodate congregants who need chair support for various body parts.
Contact me if you’d like to adopt a pew, and I can arrange delivery to your home. They are being sold, with price set by the buyer. Make checks payable to The Red Door with “pew” in the memo line and place it in the church mail drop or send it to the church office. Or . . . you can give it to me when your pew is delivered. We’d like to have all five pews delivered by October 9 so we can arrange remaining pews and chairs in anticipation of partial re-opening of the sanctuary. Thank you!
June Cook, 360-333-9311, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bishop’s Committee Meeting Minutes Summary
Please remember you are always welcome to attend Bishop’s Committee Meetings, which typically occur the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. The meeting information and Zoom link can be found on the website calendar. If you have trouble finding any of this information, please contact Marcy for assistance.
Summary of September 14, 2020 Bishop’s Committee Meeting
- For eight months (67%) of the year, income is at 76% and expense is at 48%. Last year at this point, income was at 73% and expense at 57%.
- Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report passed unanimously.
- Finance Committee recommended $15,540 from the Community Support Outreach Fund be used to reduce the Thrift Shop Payroll Fund deficit. Hopefully, the launch of The Red Door online marketplace will markedly increase revenue. Motion to accept the Finance Committee recommendation passed unanimously.
- The 2019 Financial Audit was presented, finding the church is in very good financial health, with accounting systems that accurately track expenses and income, an extremely capable Treasurer, and volunteers to count deposits and financial management that ensures prudence. Thanks, Guy and Mike! Motion to accept the 2019 Audit passed unanimously.
Clergy Report – Deacon Eric
Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
- Eric presented an update of Horizon Audio’s quote to install recording/livestreaming equipment in the sanctuary. The $1,286 increase from the previously approved budget for this expenditure is due to better equipment that will require less training and management to use. Motion to accept new quote from Horizon Audio passed unanimously.
- Eric requested that Christ Church join Faith Action Network/WA in building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Motion for Christ Church to join Faith Action Network/WA passed unanimously.
Senior Warden Report
- Mark Perschbacher has agreed to serve as 2021 Stewardship Chair. Thanks, Mark!
- Next BC meeting is October 12, 6:00 pm, via Zoom.
What Day is Your Birth Day? Birthdays, like the rising sun, Dawn’s radiant pink, soft blue, and gleams of gold Air pure, sphere full of blessings, Earth revives, Mr. and Mrs. Robin, their divinely spotted, turquoise eggs. Stars send crystal light...to mother earth with each new born, Sea-angels float in clear clean, bubbling foam, Bumblebees buzz pollen to the plum-purple foxglove flower. The sun is our ultraviolet musician. She paints our world with a variety of souls, We are all One. -Margo Huth I lift my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?(Psalm 121:1)
Happy Birthday to…
…Betty Anne McCoy on October 7
……Helen Simonsen on October 26
Please send the month & date of your birthday, baptismal date, anniversary, and/or other special occasions so we can help you celebrate your blessings in the Joyful Noise. Please send to People’s Warden Judith Render at email@example.com, 360-982-2770.
4 October 2020 The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 22 10:30 am Homilist: Bishop Rickel Readings Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 Psalm 19 Philippians 3:4b-14 Matthew 21:33-46 11 October 2020 The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 23 10:30 am Presider & Homilist: Rev. Diane Ramerman Deacon: Rev. Dn. Eric Johnson Readings Exodus 32:1-14 Psalm 106:1-6,19-23 Philippians 4:1-9 Matthew 22:1-14 18 October 2020 The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 24 10:30 am Presider: Rev. Brian Lennstrom Homilist: Mr. John Okerman Deacon: Rev. Dn. Eric Johnson Readings Exodus 33:12-23 Psalm 99 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Matthew 22:15-22 25 October 2020 The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost Proper 25 8:00 am Presider & Homilist: Rev. Diane Ramerman 10:30 am Presider: Rev. Dn. Eric Johnson Homilist: Rev. Berto Gandara Readings Deuteronomy 34:1-12 Psalm 90:1-6 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 Matthew 22:34-46 1 November 2020 All Saints’ Day 8:00 am Presider & Homilist: Ms. June Cook 10:30 am Holy Eucharist Presider & Homilist: Rev. Carol Rodin Deacon: Rev. Dn. Eric Johnson Readings Revelation 7:9-17 Psalm 34:1-10, 22 1 John 3:1-3 Matthew 5:1-12 8 November 2020 The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost Proper 27 8:00 am Presider & Homilist: Rev. Carol Rodin 10:30 am Presider & Homilist: Rev. Brian Lennstrom Deacon: Rev. Dn. Eric Johnson Readings Joshua 23:1-3a, 14-25 Psalm 78:1-7 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Matthew 25:1-13