Thursday, August 4, 2016

Compline Services

Beginning August 9, and continuing every Tuesday and Saturday thereafter, there will be a Compline service at 7:00 p.m.

The Compline is the last of the four services in the Daily Office.  It comes from the night prayers said before bed at the end of the monastic round of daily prayer. Compline is a simple office including a confession of sins, one or more psalms, a short reading from scripture, versicles and responses, the Lord's Prayer, collects which ask for God's protection during the night to come, and the canticle Nunc dimittis. A hymn for the evening may follow the short reading from scripture. The collects may be followed by a time of silence, along with free intercessions and thanksgivings.

Below is a Compline service done at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, Washington.  It's a bit longer than most Compline services because they have a men's choir devoted to performing the prayers and songs sung.  So, if you can't attend an evening, please enjoy the podcast, and end your day with praise to the Father.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Growth and Events

Our little town of Troy has about 960 people in it, and 10 Christian churches.

Now, strictly on the basis of math, if we use the 70.6% of people in the US claiming Christianity (2014 surveys), that would indicate approximately 677 people in our town would also claim Christianity.

Making the wild (and likely horribly wrong) assumption that each of those people attend church,  Episcopalians have a national percentage of 1.5% (including Anglicans) of people who espouse Christianity.

Therefore, Holy Trinity should have an average of 10 plus a little, and we actually do have that, on paper.  Our attendance is a little lower, given snow birds and illnesses.

So, in an effort to improve our averages, and have Troy be above the national average, we are planning events and outreach to help the people of Troy learn about the Episcopal Church and hopefully, improve our numbers.  As our Presiding Bishop has said, we are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement.  Our job is to reach out and provide services that the community needs, to build up hearts and hands, to build community.  And we can do that in a variety of ways - service, education and fellowship.

We'll have more information as the dates get closer, but:

Holy Trinity has a sanctuary that is open 24/7.  We all watched the movie "War Room" (and if you haven't seen it, it's worth a watch!), and thought about the fact that many people don't have a spare closet or space that they may be able to devote to their prayer life.  So, we would like to offer the sanctuary as a Community Prayer Room to anyone who would like a quiet space for prayers and talking with God.  We'll have Bibles, pencils and scrap paper available for you.  Any prayers that you'd like to have some help praying for, you're welcome to pin to the board and people using the prayer room are asked to pray for those concerns if they feel so moved.  We do ask that you stay in the sanctuary itself, as there are groups that use the church in the meeting hall side at various times of day, and we would appreciate that they not be disturbed.

On August 27, 2016, at 1:00 p.m., we will have a workshop on Kitchen Medicine - what you can use in your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer (along with potentially your yard) to help with fairly typical household ailments/emergency treatment until you can get to a doctor.  If you have particular problems, diseases, etc. you'd like to discuss, just send us an email.  We'll be sure to include something.

On September 17, 2016, at 1:00 p.m., we will be having an Unbirthday Party, complete with odd hats, scarves, dress up, etc. for the kids, a showing of Disney's Alice in Wonderland, and a high tea - replete with a variety of types of tea, and finger foods.

Closer to Christmas, we will probably have some craft station workshops, with a variety of things that can be made and used or given as gifts.

God willing, our little Episcopal Church will grow over time.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday - Message from the Presiding Bishop

While I'm still working on getting the Lent blogs caught up, time does continue to march on, so we're sharing the Presiding Bishop's message for this Easter.  May it be a blessing to you!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lent: Relationship With God's Creation - Soil

The worksheet for this section of the program talks about your relationship with God's creation.  We'll begin with the first video which talks about what's in the soil, both in a literal and metaphorical sense.

So, print out the worksheet twice, and fill in what you have currently.  Then fill in what your idea is, and figure out a rule to get you there.  What type of soil do you want in your heart?

Lent: Love or Attachment

The video on this topic is probably one of the more deeply philosophical concepts the Brothers at SSJE have addressed, so it may take you a time or two through it to determine where this might fit in your life.

Usually, we hear about love as being a specific type or another, generally reverting back to the various Greek words for love:
Agape, or love for everyone
Eros, or sexual passion
Philia, or deep friendship
Ludus, or playful love
Pragma, or longstanding love
Philautia, or love of the self
This discussion today, however, posits that all love comes from God, and that we should focus on that, so that we don't form an attachment to the love we might individually generate, thereby diminishing the connection that could otherwise be full with the presence of God.  Is this a monastic idea or one that we need to seriously consider for ourselves?  And where might it fit into your rule of life?  Take a look. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lent: Getting to Yes

Saying that two letter word can be so tough at times.  Br. Luke hits it directly on the head in this video.  How many times do we agree to do things, because, as people know, if you need something done, ask a busy person.  And often behind every busy person is an inability to say "no."

However, this exercise is about building a Rule of Life, about finding things that are good for us, healthy for us, that make us better able to serve God and serve others.  And sometimes, saying "no" will allow us to be in a better frame of mind, in better health, and in a better spiritual place to then be able to say "yes".

Setting boundaries, learning that you don't have to try to please everyone all the time - these are very difficult lessons for some people.  Here's a collection of articles that might be able to help.

Look at your schedule.  Look at some of the things you already know are good for you - are some of the things in your schedule interfering with your ability to do the things that are good for you?  Things like exercise, preparing healthy meals, getting enough sleep, etc.  Where do you need to say no?  And what do you need to clear away so that you can say a health "yes" to?

Lent: Thriving

Br. Nicholas expressed an excellent point in this video - which can be summed up in the KISS principle.  We'll go with the nicer version, and say that it means Keep It Short and Simple.  And the short and simple of it is, what works?  Do that.

In looking at our relationships and our interactions with others, look at what has worked best for you in the past, what has made you feel good and achieved what you want to achieve.  In most instances, it's a fairly simple solution.

I have a friend whose very first response to absolutely everything is "No."  I'm not sure if that's her method of keeping things simple, but it has led to no small amount of frustration on my part, because sometimes, what I'm asking is - at least to me - a very easy, logical, simple request.  But, I have learned that if I accept her no, and then give her a day, she thinks about it, processes it through both her brain and her huge heart, within a day, she's altered her answer.  Now, the answer may still be no, but this time, she'll have a logical argument against whatever it is.  More times than not, however, the answer is either an unqualified yes, or a qualified yes, and again, she'll have very logical and sound reasoning.  So the lesson for me in this KISS process is, don't get frustrated, just wait a day.

Part of this can also be explained through personality "types".  The one I learned is called PACE, and essentially they divide how people think and react into colors:  red (big picture, bottom line, very dynamic), blue (emotional, heart motivated), yellow (all the details, down to the very last one, very organized), and green (everything is about why).  Now, the world needs all of those colors, but in learning about someone, you learn how to communicate.  If you have a yellow person who has to talk to a red person, they're going to get really frustrated, really fast - particularly if they don't know how the other communicates.  If the yellow person is aware they're talking to a red person, they have to bite their tongue about all the details, and give an overview and the expected result - then stop.  Really hard to do, but the red person then has as much information as they need and want - because they actually trust that the yellow person knows and has done their job in all the details that they can't stand - to make a decision.

Think about your relationships with others.  What makes you thrive?  What feeds your soul?  What nurtures you and helps you grow?

Do that.