A Joyful Noise | September 2020

A Joyful Noise | September 2020


Senior Warden Sylvia Sepulveda

The seeds sown pell-mell!
Shall we harvest one crop or
a cornucopia?


The Reverend Paul Benz, Co-Director of Faith Action Network, recently blessed us with a homily in which he spoke to themes of identity and gifts. From Matthew’s Gospel question, “Who do you say I am?” he wondered if Jesus hadn’t grappled with that inquiry himself, about his own identity as the son of God. Rev. Benz referenced as exemplars the Hebrew mid-wives, Shiphrah and Puah, amazing women who had disobeyed the King of Egypt, scriptural heroes responding to a call to use their gifts to save a generation of Hebrew boys. How might we identify ourselves, Rev. Benz asked. What are the gifts we use to live out our own vocations? What new gifts and vocations have we discovered with the challenges and opportunities Covid-19 has presented?

I haven’t heard God speaking to me from a burning bush. Neither have I been visited by an angel counseling me to be unafraid by what I was about to hear. But I have always known a calling to attend to my relationship with God and I’m sure many, if not all of you, have as well. Sometimes the call has been to attend to my spirituality in a very specific way, most recently manifesting itself in our new Contemplative Creativity ministry. Sometimes it has been to seek respite in peaceful, contemplative prayer for a deep emotional wound, as when my brother died. Sometimes I’m called to an outcome about which I’m entirely uncertain. These last calls are uncomfortable for everyone, most of all me! It would be so much easier to be quiet, to walk away, to distract myself with other calls, other ministries. What is it this time that has me alight? Expansion – in liturgy, ministries, formation, activities, gatherings, etc. Now – when folks are weary of Zooming? Yes, now seems like a great time – now that a virtual backdrop relieves the Altar Guild from the hard work of preparing the sanctuary, now that attendance via a streaming device relieves the Hospitality Team from coordinating refreshments, now that advertising and service bulletins don’t require the trouble and cost of printing, and now that most folks aged Generation X (born mid-60’s-80’s) and younger very contentedly live and move and have their being on one digital platform or another.

At the recent College for Congregational Development (CCD) training, June Cook and I learned about the Gather-Transform-Send model, in which:

“The unique purpose and work of a congregation is to gather those called by God into Christ’s body, the Church – a community of transformation of mind, heart, and action and to send these same people into the world both to be and to act as God’s loving and transforming presence. Another way of saying this is that the purpose of a congregation is to be the body of Christ and, with God’s help, to create and renew the Christian folk who in turn create and renew a world that we believe both already is and is in the process of becoming God’s own realm – a realm of forgiveness, reconciliation, courage, compassion, justice, peace, and hope.”

the College for Congregational Manual – The Diocese of Olympia

Each congregation must do this work within its own unique context, but should be open to shifting crops according to changes in church membership, so as to implement this principle in an organic way. In order to gauge how the established model is working for the community, CCD recommends continuous evaluation of the primary elements: Inviting (personal invitation, website, signage, local newspaper, etc.) Greeting (recognizing and welcoming guests, etc.,) Orienting (helping people understand who we are, etc.,) and Incorporating (knitting visitors into the membership congregation through deeper involvement, etc.) Obviously, each element is multi-layered, so making each ministry distinct and attending to each independently would be important. Each item would then be evaluated using the following designations: we don’t do this, we’re not great at this, we do an adequate job here, we’re pretty good at this, or we do this really well.

An open process of evaluation, when entered without judgment (right/wrong,) blame (your job, not mine,) or agenda (important, not important,) etc., will often lead to a productive, imagination-fuelled dream-state which is particularly helpful when all the old ways of doing things are, at least temporarily, not possible. If we look at an element like “Orienting,” for example, this function used to occur to a large extent after Sunday’s worship service when, pre-Covid-19 physical-distancing, we might’ve filled a visitor’s plate with Mary Gronholt’s delightful Plum Kuchen before shepherding them towards an available Clergy member, while wondering to ourselves which committee we could eventually get them to take over for us. Clearly, coffee-hour had always grasped beyond its reach, as Carleton likes to counsel, but if we had to evaluate its Zoom-era effectiveness, we might agree that, while much delicious juice has been squeezed from this orange, it might be advantageous to get some new Zoom Hall coffee-hour ideas from other churches or organizations. Bible trivia, anyone? Scripture scavenger hunt? Haiku Poetry Slam?

And just like that we can go from one stale tradition to a fresh cuppa. Or maybe I just need to ask Scott to make my tea stronger. You tell me. We’ve shared this sheltering-in-place community for almost six months now. I’m sure you’ve all learned some pretty cool screen-sharing tricks from friends and family and have gained some confidence with technology in ways you may not have imagined for yourself. Me too! As we’re not planning to emerge from the safety of our Zoom cocoon anytime soon, I have to ask, are you interested in digging deeper, doing more, doing new or different? Or are you just plain Zoomed out? These positions represent a wide spectrum of comfort and I’m not here to judge where you safely stand on it, but to apply my recently-gained CCD faith development skills.

“The role of congregational leaders is (a) to assess the current faith development of the individual and the congre­gational community; (b) to decide where to apply their efforts toward faith development, identifying ways to meet people where they are and to invite them to take the next step to go deeper…”

The College for Congregational Manual – The Diocese of Olympia

If you’re interested in thinking about possibly toeing the dirt of new ministries, tossing around the seeds of alternative liturgies, willing to prune your spirituality into a novel shape through an unusual formation offering, or just open to joining me and Judith for a once-a-month Happy Hour (no itinerary!) please let me know. I’d love to share a Zoom room, phone call, or email with anyone who’d like to discuss ministries, liturgies, gatherings, activities, etc. that have been spiritually transforming and worth planting at Christ Episcopal Church, Anacortes. I’ll add your potentialities to mine and serve the platter in next month’s Senior Warden reflection. Until then, I look forward to spiritual companionship with you in whatever form you use to join us. Stay tuned for the evaluation forms…

We must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. ­

ephesians 4:15-16

Phased Re-Opening of Our Church Buildings

The Reverend Diane Ramerman

We enter September still locked in the grip of the pandemic, and Phase 2 of the Governor’s re-opening. In mid- August, Governor Inslee issued additional regulations for religious organizations. Notice the word ‘regulation’ not ‘guideline.’ Wearing masks, social distancing, and no congregational singing are among the mandates.

Christ Church leadership is planning a phased (and partial) re-opening of our buildings, beginning with the Parish Hall. In September, the Parish Hall will be available for the exclusive use of a teaching pod (see separate article by Rev. Carol Rodin) during the week. All other uses of the Parish Hall except those deemed ‘essential’ will still be prohibited.

In mid-October, the sanctuary will open for individual meditation/prayer for two to three hours a week (times and days to be announced). A limited number of people will be allowed in at a time; a wellness ‘supervisor’ will be present to explain and maintain COVID protocol compliance. In late October, we will offer a Sunday worship service of Morning Prayer with music in the sanctuary. The number of worshipers will be limited to one quarter of our capacity – 24 (including worship leaders). More information will be forthcoming as the Worship Team and clergy work out the details. The regular Sunday ZOOM service will continue.

The sanctuary will look different! To maintain social distancing, individual chairs will be placed at the six foot radius distance. The pews will be removed or placed along the sides and roped off. This dramatic change in appearance will be disconcerting to all, and likely engender feelings of grief and loss.

We are vulnerable in this time of enforced changes. Finding ways to navigate the accumulated internalized stress of this season of lock-down, isolation and loss is difficult. As a country and as church community, we are deep into conversations about systemic racism and our November election. Connecting with ourselves, what we feel, value and experience, is important to our well-being as a congregation and as individuals. Please be open to the dialogue, and how we may need to alter our course to reach a healing path.

Do not let the temporary physical changes in the appearance of our beloved sanctuary distract you from undertaking the journey of compassion and spiritual revelation set before us over the coming year. Be assured, we will return to our regular seating arrangement as soon as social distancing is no longer required.

Rev. Diane

Children’s Ministry Learning Pod

Reverend Carol Rodin

What’s a learning pod?! It is a small group of students who meet with two teachers on a regular basis to support students. In our case, the students are the children of Christ Church and the teachers are Flor and Dania. Even though the church buildings remain closed, Bishop Greg has given permission to develop the learning pod idea to support student learning.

Flor and Dania were approached last spring as they completed their undergraduate degrees in Education Policy and Social Justice Studies to see if they would be interested in leading a mid-week Children’s Ministry Group. As plans began to develop, we went into lockdown. As we discussed the idea further with parents at Christ Church, we discovered the need for virtual learning support for our Christ Church families enrolled in the Anacortes School District online programs. So, we decided to combine the learning pod and children’s ministry idea. The group will meet two days a week  for three hours daily  in September and expand to three days a week in October. Time will be spent supporting online learning, outdoor play and other spiritual development activities.

We will also be able to expand Godly Play to every Sunday under this model.  Health guidelines and protocols  from the CDC and the local health department as well as  guidance from the Diocese will be followed. The program is 90% filled at the moment. Participants will adhere to a social contract to follow the governors mandates in their daily lives as well as follow the protocols approved by the Bishop.

Adult Faith Formation

Marcus Borg

Beyond Belief: A Marcus Borg Retrospective
We will explore Beyond Belief , a six-session Marcus Borg retrospective.
The series contains favorite moments, core teachings, and extensive never-before seen material.
Class begins Sunday, September 6
9:00 am via Zoom
Please join in. All are welcome.

Blessing of the Animals 2020

Senior Warden Sylvia Sepulveda

Please send a picture or a short video (no longer than 10 seconds) of your family’s critter – slithering to stampeding to slovenly! Maegan Barrett and Sylvia Sepulveda will be compiling images, video, and music into a short film that can be viewed during a future service or coffee hour. All pets will be blessed by Bishop Rickel, with a certificate sent via US mail or e-mail. Please make sure each contribution includes your pet’s first and last name, and include the address to which we should send your blessing certificate. The movie, Blessing of the Animals 2020, will eventually play indefinitely at the Christ Church website. Send email digital contributions to Sylvia at: srsepulveda@mac.com, or mail hard copies to the church office at 1216 7th Street.

Book Review

Reverend Carol Rodin
Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America
Edited by Catherine Meeks

“O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children: through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

Book of common prayer p.840

The Collect for the Diversity of Races and Cultures is a petition for a world that embodies the dream of God’s beloved community, a place where all people live in reconciliation, where all experience justice, and where racial injustice is healed.

Where do we begin that journey of healing and reconciliation? Who will lead the way?

Living into God’s Dream presents multiple perspectives on racial healing and justice and examines the complexities of the problem that help readers explore antiracism in the church and in the world. The multiple authors differ in their approach to the problem of racism, but are united in their conviction that God offers us a way through these wounds to a new and transformed life together.

Editor Catharine Meeks, PhD, is the retired Clara Carter Acee Distinguished Professor of Socio-Cultural Studies at Wesleyan College and serves the Diocese of Atlanta as the chair of The Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism.

Church Community Connections

Pastoral Leader June Cook

During this time of social distancing, not all members of our church are comfortable with or have access to technology to connect with others.  Each of us has the ability to make meaningful connections happen.  Consider phoning or sending an encouraging note to someone you miss seeing.  Plan a masked, socially-distanced walk or lunch in the park.  Take along a prayer book and share a favorite psalm or prayer.  If you need contact info for someone, call me (360-333-9311), leave a message, and I’ll connect you, with due regard for confidentiality.  With heightened use of technology, it’s good to remember that low-tech, person-to-person connections are still the foundation for Christian community.

Website Update

Sylvia Sepulveda

The redesigned website, launched in early July, has been received very positively by the congregation and was reviewed favorably by the diocese. The remodel continues, however, as we transition from pre-COVID-19 era bulletin-board to twenty-first century blog post. Where before one could view the most recently approved BC meeting minutes while noshing a bagel in the Parish Hall, now you can either enter the Member pages on the website for the approved BC Meeting Minutes, January through July of 2020, or you can contact Marcy to have a copy mailed to you. Bagel not included.

Marcy has done a fantastic job of learning how to use WordPress while providing the constant updating required for our most popular website features: posting the Sunday service bulletin and Zoom link to the homepage each Thursday, replacing it with the service video and sermon pdf on Monday, publishing gorgeous weekly e-news and monthly Joyful Noise blog posts, and doing it all over again in a standard word processing program for the hard copies sent to our mailing list.

More website development is underway. We have plans to enhance the Staff and Clergy page with bios and images, add helpful training videos for the Altar Guild and Eucharistic Ministers, and comprehensively update our branding across various platforms like Facebook and Google, as well as our physical, campus signage. What else would you like to see? If you haven’t had time to poke around the new website, please do so now and let us know what would make the experience more pleasurable or useful for you.

Spiritual Book Group

Thursday, September 24
2:00 – 3:00 pm via Zoom
We will continue our discussion of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Please join us. All are welcome.

Christ Church’s Stained Glass Windows

The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan

Reverend Deacon Eric Johnson

The third of a series of eight articles on the stained glass windows in Christ Church.

All four of the Gospel writers record the baptism of Jesus by John, and all four write about this event from different perspectives. Matthew reports the dialogue between Jesus and John, when John declares that it was he that should be baptized by Jesus. Mark’s Gospel account presents the story from Jesus’ point of view: it is Jesus who sees the heavens torn apart and hears the voice from the heavens. Luke’s Gospel presents Jesus after his baptism has been completed, when he was standing among the crowd.  It was then that the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit appeared.

 In John’s Gospel, the Baptist states that God had revealed to him that Jesus was the one whom John was anticipating. Although John’s Gospel does not mention Jesus stepping into the water, this gospel writer reports that on the next day, John says of Jesus, “Look, here is the Lamb of God.” This is a phrase rich with meaning— referring to the use of the lamb as a sacrifice, particularly during the Passover meal,  as well as to foreshadow Jesus’s sacrifice during his crucifixion, which occurs during the Passover.

 We also see this idea of sacrifice repeated in the four crosses depicted on the border of the window and even in the staff that John carries. We are also reminded of this sacrifice in the clothing that Jesus wears in all the windows that depict his adult life, clothing that is predominantly of the color red. In Christian iconography red connotes martyrdom or the blood of Christ. Red is also the color of revolution. The leaves at the corners of the window appear to be holly oak, an evergreen that is often regarded as a symbol of Jesus’ crown of thorns. The blossom at the top is representative of the oak tree, which is said to have been the tree of the cross. 

John uses a scallop shell to pour the water of baptism on the head of Jesus. Although paintings in the catacombs depict people being baptized with water poured from a seashell, it wasn’t until the 12th century that the scallop shell became firmly established as an emblem of baptism. (We often find scallop shells carved into the sides of baptismal fonts.) Often the shell is illustrated with three drops of water, representing the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Here, in this window, we see three shells in the border, depicting the same meaning. The scallop shell is also the symbol of pilgrimage. The scalloped ridges remind us that, even though our destination remains the same, no two pilgrims travel on the same journey; each of us pilgrims follows our own path that leads to God, who lies at the center of our lives and at the apex of our spiritual odyssey. 

New Feature!
Bishop’s Committee Meeting Minutes Summary

It’s always our intent to be as transparent as possible about the planning and management work accomplished by the Bishop’s Committee (BC). While the complete approved BC Meeting Minutes, January through July 2020, have recently been added to the Members page of the website, we’re also going to start providing this monthly summary in the Joyful Noise.

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 August 10, 2020 Bishop’s Committee Meeting

Treasurer’s Report
Lorne Render

  • For seven months (58%) of the year, income is at 66% and expense is at 42%. Last year at this point, income was at 65% and expense at 51%.
  • 2019 Audit Report will be presented at the September BC meeting.
  • Motion to accept the August 2020 Treasurer’s Report passed unanimously.

Bishop’s Visitation/Meeting with BC
Sylvia Sepulveda

  • Bishop Rickel’s virtual visit to Christ Church on October 4 will include a meeting with the BC. Sylvia has created a form that she will email to the BC requesting input on issues for discussion at the meeting. Sylvia and Judith will then compile the responses and submit to June, who will then summarize and submit to the Diocese.

People’s Warden Report
Judith Render

  • Judith reported that she has received feedback from congregants on two issues:
    • Sanctuary Chairs Purchase – Discussion amongst BC and guests Charlene Corbin and Sandy Mathis resulted in the following outcome: committee of Sol, Charlene Corbin, & Sandy Mathis will work together on sanctuary arrangement.
    • Tiny Houses Proposal – Discussion amongst BC and guests Charlene Corbin and Sandy Mathis resulted in the following outcome: Eric+ will continue to advise as this nascent project develops. To date, CEC has made no promises or commitments except to consider the possibilities of working with organizational service partners to find whole-community solutions for our homeless neighbors.

Next BC meeting is September 14, 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…

…Frank McCoy on September 4

……Melissa Simonsen on September 8

………Marcy Perschbacher on September 27

Happy Anniversary to…

………Erin & Sol Kohlhaas on September 1

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 lorneandjudith@hotmail.com, 360-982-2770.

Sunday Services

6 September 2020
The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 18
Presider: Rev. Carol Rodin
Preacher: Rev. Carol Rodin
Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
Readers: Curt Rodin, Diane Guinn
Psalm 149
Exodus 12:1-14
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

13 September 2020
The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 19
Presider: Rev. Brian Lennstrom  
Preacher: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
Readers: Ruth Barefoot, Jerlyn Caba
Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

20 September 2020
The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 20
Presider: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
Preacher: Rev. Brian Lennstrom
Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
Readers: Carleton Manning, Becky Lennstrom
Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

27 September 2020
The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 21
Presider: Mr. Guy Davidson
Preacher: Ms. Shirley Barrett
Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
Readers: Erin Kohlhaas, Ruth Barefoot
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

4 October 2020
The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 22
Presider: The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel
Preacher: The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel
Deacon: Rev. Deacon Eric Johnson
Readers: Sandy Mathis, Jerlyn Caba
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Psalm 19
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46