Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

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Please Help with Presiding Bishop Nominating Committee Survey

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Dear Friend of the Episcopal Church,

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church will elect a new Presiding Bishop at our meeting in July, 2015. We are beginning our search and nominating process.

The Joint Nominating Committee wants your input. This survey instrument will be used to help the Nominating Committee write a document describing the priorities and hopes of the Church in our selection process. It will also inform our understanding of the qualities and skills we would like to see in our Presiding Bishop. We ask you to take a few minutes to complete this survey.

Here is a link to the survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GGCLYCQ

Please know your responses will be kept confidential.

Bible Challenge Week 38 September 23rd-29th

12ba4fb9-5a18-4263-b078-33c47ce543e3Weekly Word from Bishop Barker for Week 38
September 23rd-29th

In the Old Testament this week we finish reading the Book of Jeremiah and we’ll read Psalms 63 through 68. In the New Testament we will read 1 Peter and begin reading 2 Peter.

I wonder…

– In Jeremiah chapter 49, the prophet foresees that the fall of the land of Edom will be absolute. Here, there is no prediction of exile and restoration…no hope for return, renewal or redemption. Edom will become an “object of horror” where no one can even live (see Jeremiah 49:18.) As a follower of Jesus, how do you understand stories of God’s utter and everlasting condemnation of a place or people? Is there really such a thing as being, “beyond redemption”?

– The note from the ancient scriptures introducing Psalm 63 says, “A Psalm of David. When he was in the desert of Judah.” The words of this much beloved psalm are hopeful and encouraging despite the setting in which the poem was composed. Has there been a time in your life when God has sustained you, “in a dry and weary land” or through, “the watches of the night”? Was this a time of testing or strengthening your relationship with the Holy One?

– 1 Peter is written to encourage early church communities and disciples who were suffering ostracism and persecution for their beliefs. Some of the teachings here are hard for modern ears, including the notion that some on the margins should suffer such indignities willingly as an emulation of Christ and perhaps, even as a way to witness to one’s persecutors. Could this message still apply today in our here and now? Are there ways you might be invited to simply bear up when suffering, as a way to deepen your relationship with Jesus and share the Good News with your own community?

 

  Please consider inviting a friend to join us in our read.

May each and everyone one of us be blessed by the Word this week!

 

In love and Faith –

+ Bishop Barker

 

This week’s readings:

Day 260  – Monday, September 23, 2013
– Jeremiah 46-47, Psalm 63, 1 Peter 1
Day 261  – Tuesday, September 24, 2013
– Jeremiah 48-49, Psalm 64, 1 Peter 2
Day 262  – Wednesday, September 25, 2013
– Jeremiah 50-51, Psalm 65, 1 Peter 3
Day 263  – Thursday, September 26, 2013
– Jeremiah 52, Psalm 66, 1 Peter 4
Day 264  – Friday, September 27, 2013
– Lamentations 1-2, Psalm 67, 1 Peter 5
Day 265  – Saturday, September 28, 2013
– Lamentations 3-4, Psalm 68, 2 Peter 1
Day 266  – Sunday, September 29, 2013 – Enjoy hearing the Scriptures read aloud in church

Deacon’s Bidding Prayers Sept 20th

Peace of God_scripture

We Bid Your Prayers…

 

Each week, the deacons of the Diocese of Nebraska invite everyone to join us in praying for the needs, hopes, concerns, and joys of the world beyond our immediate circles of family, friends, and parish. Deacons are invited to send biddings for prayers for the world to deaconbetsy@windstream.net by Thursday noon for each week’s gathering of biddings.

 

The deacons of our diocese bid your prayers:

 

 

 

For an end to senseless violence both in the world at large and in our communities across the United States.

 

For those involved in the negotiations intended to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria and for the people of Syria and all people who seek peace and safety.

 

For healing after the shootings at the Navy Yard this week. For the victims and their families and friends, for the first responders, for the Navy community, for the shooter and his family, and for the wisdom and courage to find a way to end gun violence in this country.

 

For all those affected by floods in Colorado, New Mexico, Mexico, Japan, and elsewhere in the world this week. For those mourning the loss of homes and the deaths of loved ones. For the people in the village of La Pintada as they search for family members and neighbors buried in a landslide.

 

For the church; for our diocese as we prepare for our Annual Council; for all parishes in transition that they be led in their discernment for their futures by God, through the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Christ; and for the House of Bishops as they meet.

 

For all those known and unknown who have been killed in wars around the world, especially 1st Lt. Timothy G. Santos Jr., 29, of Helena, Ala and Master Sgt. George Bannar, Jr of Orange, VA.

Colorado national guard assists with flooding in Boulder, CO

Colorado national guard assists with flooding in Boulder, CO

All Saints Omaha: Annual Cycle for South Sudan Fund Raiser

Pedal for Treadles Riders and Volunteers

Pedal for Treadles Riders and Volunteers

On Sunday September 15th , All Saints Omaha had their 5th annual Cycle for South Sudan fund raiser for our Companion Diocese of Twic East South Sudan.

This year’s theme was “Pedal for Treadles”. The funds raised will go towards the purchase of treadle manual type sewing machines and grinding mills. The sewing machines will be used to make different clothing to be sold to the communities. The motorized grinding mills will be used to replace the manual stone grinding operation the women now use.

We had a record turnout of bicyclers and walkers for the event. A very special occasion for this year’s event was the attendance by Bishop Ezekiel Diing, the Bishop of Twic East Diocese and his wife Rebecca. The event was especially exciting because of their attendance. They are here due to their son Paul’s surgery at Sanford Hospital Sioux Falls South Dakota. (Bishop Ezekiel and Rebecca received a cash prize for coming the greatest distance for the event!)

A cookout picnic was held at the All Saints Retreat Center following the event. Everyone is looking forward to next year’s event.

– Jim Yeates

Using a grinding mill

Using a Stone Grinding Mill

All Call Omaha Kiva Kickoff Raises $925, Gives Micro-loans to Three

Dean Pritcher explains Kiva

Dean Pritcher explains Kiva

More that 40 people, from every parish in Omaha, attended the All Call Omaha Kiva kickoff party, to discover what Kiva is about, to select the recipients of our micro-loans, and to say thank-you and farewell to Dean Joan Pritcher.

The group collected $925 dollars, and we browsed through the Kiva site to select two loan recipients in the Dominican Republic (one of our sister Dioceses), and one in Honduras.

It was fun and fulfilling and humbling for everyone attending to see how Kiva works, to browse through the list of possible recipients, and choose whom to help. Thanks to everyone who participated, and stay tuned for loan updates, news of the next All Call Omaha service project, and ultimately a repeat of this Kiva party when the original loans are repaid and we meet to re-invest!

Kiva: Loans that change lives!

Here are the three recipients of our loans:

Gladis in her rice field in Honduras

Gladis in her rice field in Honduras

Gladis is a 31-year-old woman who makes a living as a teacher. Since she does not have a husband and she receives paychecks every four months, she decided to work in agriculture to earn other income. She is the mother of three children. Her oldest daughter is six years old and in the first grade. Her son is in kindergarten and her younger daughter is not old enough to study yet.

Gladis has the support of her brother who is in charge of caring for the crop, while she takes care of the financial resources in order to attend to them and give them the necessary and possible maintenance. Through the cultivation of rice, she earns income for the entire year and provides for her children. She has been cultivating rice for five years on land which belongs to her parents, which allows her to save money on rent for the land which is located around her house.

Gladis dreams of someday being able to buy her own land for cultivation, using the profits from this year’s rice harvest. For this reason she has requested financing from the COMIXMUL cooperative to provide greater maintenance and technical assistance to her rice crops through the purchase of three gallons of ARROMAX, 15 QQ of fertilizer 12-24-12, two liters of FURORE, and 10 QQ of urea.

Francisco at his house in the Dominican Republic

Francisco at his house in the Dominican Republic

Francisco, a married man with three children, is a micro-entrepreneur selling miscellaneous products, especially fuels, such as gasoline, gasoil and motor oils. He is a member of the group called Vecinas Unidas (United Neighbors), located in the city of Samana. He has had his business for over eight years, started from his savings.

This is his sixth loan, which he will use to improve his house. After his last loan, which he invested in his business, Francisco realised the need to improve his home, and with this loan he will change his wood walls for a safer structure made of concrete blocks walls. With this loan he will buy cement, concrete blocks and other building materials.

Esperanza Internacional runs a program for their good clients who are reliable in paying back their loans, who have fulfilled the commitment to grow their business and who have shown fidelity in their groups. This allows them to take out a loan to improve the structure of their house at the same time as running their business and attending their group meetings. The other members of Franciso’s group are recommending him for a housing loan.

Francisco thanks God, Esperanza Internacional and all of you for this opportunity. In his name and that of his family, he thanks all of you for your support!

Maria at home in the Dominican Republic

Maria at home in the Dominican Republic

Maria is one of Esperanza Internacional’s entrepreneurs. She is a single woman. She lives together with her children. She is working hard to change her home structure, and with her husband, she has decided to take a loan with Esperanza to continue improving their house.

Maria has been taking loans with Esperanza Internacional since she started her business, with her first loan almost seven years ago. She is receiving her 13th loan and this one is to finish building her house. She will build some concrete block walls in her house. With this loan she will buy concrete blocks, cement, rods and other building materials.

Maria is one of the members in the group called Nuestro Progreso (New Progress) located in one of the rural villages in the city of Samana. Esperanza Internacional runs a program for their good clients who are reliable in paying back their loans, who have fulfilled the commitment to grow their business and who have shown fidelity in their groups. This allows them to take out a loan to improve the structure of their houses at the same time as running their businesses and attending their group meetings. Maria thanks all of you for your support!

Here are two more photos from the evening:
(click on images to enlarge them)

Honoring Dean Joan Pritcher for her loving service to Trinity Cathedral and the people of Nebraska

Honoring Dean Joan Pritcher for her loving service to Trinity Cathedral and the people of Nebraska

Counting the generous offering

Counting the generous offering

Resurrection House: The Journey Begins…(Again)

The Big Picture Website Sidebar

Where is God in all this?

The Resurrection house interns have already been in Omaha two weeks. During this time we have spent many hours getting to know one another. Conversation topics have included baking, coffee, family dynamics, scripture readings, and which road will get us back to the house from our current location. Through sharing our past experiences, as well as taking part in new experiences together, we are well on our way to forming a close knit community. Fr. Jason mentioned we all seem to be on the same introvert scale. We laughed when we heard this, because we definitely agree. We talked about how we can all be in the same room, reading, and not talking to each other, and afterwards it feels like we’ve had a good bonding experience. We also do some actual socializing, which has primarily taken place while cooking and eating together. There is a reflection that was written by Jan Richardson for World Communion Sunday, which I have been thinking about quite a bit this week. It not only speaks to the literal Eucharist, but also to community:

“And the table will be wide. And the welcome will be wide. And the arms will open wide to gather us in. And our hearts will open wide to receive. And we will come as children who trust there is enough. And we will come unhindered and free. And our aching will be met with bread. And our sorrow will be met with wine. And we will open our hands to the feast without shame. And we will turn toward each other without fear. And we will give up our appetite for despair. And we will taste and know of delight. And we will become bread for a hungering world. And we will become drink for those who thirst. And the blessed will become the blessing. And everywhere will be the feast.”

I like many parts of this blessing, but this week I was focussed on the line, “And everywhere will be the feast.” As part of our spiritual formation we will turn in reflections each week to Fr. Jason, and we will strive to answer the question, “Where is God in all this?” We will of course have specific instances and experiences which we can draw from to anwser this question, but it’s also quite wonderful to reflect on the omnipresence of God. That through our struggles as well as our successes, God was, is, and will be present. In the baptism lesson from Godly play, we wonder aloud during the time when we light a candle for each person in the circle from the Christ candle, “Look how the light where all the light is coming from is not getting any smaller. I wonder how so much light can come from just one light?” How amazing it is that with open hearts this light can be manifest in the world around us, particularly in each other as we continue grow in community together.

– Reagan Grabbe

Reagan Grabbe

Reagan Grabbe

Bible Challenge Week 37 September 16th-22nd

12ba4fb9-5a18-4263-b078-33c47ce543e3Weekly Word from Bishop Barker for Week 37
September 16th-22nd

In the Old Testament this week, we continue reading from the Book of Jeremiah and we’ll read Psalms 57 through 62. In the New Testament we will complete Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews and read the entirety of the Letter of James.

I wonder…

– Several chapters of Jeremiah seem like complete “sermons,” aimed at returning the Hebrew people to faithful living and right relationship with God. Matthew Henry’s Bible commentary says of Jeremiah chapter 35: “The scope and tendency of many of the prophet’s sermons was to frighten [Israel] out of their disobedience, by setting before them what would be the end thereof if they persisted in it. The scope of this sermon, in this chapter, is to shame them out of their disobedience if they had any sense of honor left in them.” Do you think shame is an effective tool for bringing people into relationship with God? Why or why not?

– At week’s end we’ll be praying Psalm 62 together: “For God alone my soul in silence waits.” Do you make time and space in your busy life to regularly find some solitude, and to wait in silence upon our God? Might you incorporate a measure of silence around your Bible challenge reading in the last few months of this work?

– Martin Luther called The Letter of James an “epistle of straw.” Because of his emphasis on the fallen state of human nature and the utter necessity for “faith alone” in Christ as a means to human salvation, Luther rejected the centrality of Christian “works.” How do you understand the relationship between faith and works in your life? Does James’ famous line, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26) ring true for you?

 

  Please consider inviting a friend to join us in our read.

May each and everyone one of us be blessed by the Word this week!

 

In love and Faith –

+ Bishop Barker

 

This week’s readings:

Day 253  – Monday, September 16, 2013
– Jeremiah 31-33, Psalm 57, Hebrews 14
Day 254  – Tuesday, September 17, 2013
– Jeremiah 34-35, Psalm 58, James 1
Day 255  – Wednesday, September 18, 2013
– Jeremiah 36-38, Psalm 59, James 2
Day 256  – Thursday, September 19, 2013
– Jeremiah 39-41, Psalm 60, James 3
Day 257  – Friday, September 20, 2013
– Jeremiah 42-43, Psalm 61, James 4
Day 258  – Saturday, September 21, 2013
– Jeremiah 44-45, Psalm 62, James 5
Day 259  – Sunday, September 22, 2013 – Enjoy hearing the Scriptures read aloud in church

Kiva Micro-loans: A Personal Perspective

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Rosemery, Marjorie, Maria and Magdalena at their daycare

From our friend Pat: I’ve been doing Kiva since last fall… And so far every one of my loans is in the process of being repaid. I gave my daughter some Kiva dollars on a Gift Card for her birthday, and now she looks forward to the notifications of repayment so she can continue to “pay if forward”. I think with her leaving for college this fall, Kiva was a good way to help her take a moment to reflect on how fortunate she is in life, and how many people around the world live in poverty and all that this entails. My nephew and his partner are going to South America next week, and plan to eat at a little restaurant they made a Kiva loan to over a year ago – How cool is that?

Who will we help at the All Call Omaha Kiva kickoff party this Tuesday th 17th at Trinity Cathedral at 7 PM?  How about Rosemery, Marjorie, Maria and Magdalena, in Washington DC?

Four Latina women (Rosemery, Marjorie, Maria, Magdalena) worked together for two years to establish their own daycare cooperative, Semillitas, in Washington D.C. The daycare first opened its doors in January 2013 and currently serves 16 children. Rosemery is applying for a $8,475 loan on behalf of the cooperative to purchase and install four smoke detectors at the daycare. In the future, the women would like to open a second daycare.

Diocese-on-the-Road Report #3

calvary-hyannis

calvary-hyannis

Day 7 – Calvary, Hyannis
Day 7 of our Road Trip brought us to Calvary Church in Hyannis. This small parish was filled with family and youth who were all connected in ways that many larger churches do not always get to see. The families who established these communities and work hard to maintain the schools and other community activities are certain that parish life is the center of the family for their youth. Learning about foreign exchange students who love to experience the ranching life and help add to the student population, and the upcoming football games played before dark due to stadiums with no lights, are a real part of the lives of these parish communities. They are the everyday joys and struggles that make up their community. We thank the parish and youth of Calvary Church for hosting us and sharing so much of their lives with us last evening.
Heres the link to the full set of photos
St. George's Oshkosh

St. George’s Oshkosh

Day 8 – St. George’s, Oshkosh
The last visit on our Road Trip 2013 was spent at St. George’s Oshkosh. This tiny church is warm with love and kindness. We were welcomed with smiles and warm wishes. We celebrated the Eucharist and enjoyed a wonderful meal followed by great fellowship! Included in our pictures (click here) at the parish are those taken on the journey earlier in the day. We hope you enjoy!
Bishop Barker at Carhenge

Bishop Barker at Carhenge

Bishop Barker at Stonehenge!
Nebraska kitsch at its finest!
Morning sunrise on the road

Morning sunrise on the road

Beginning the drive home
The morning sunrise as we began our drive home from our 8-day Road Trip across the Panhandle. Thank you to everyone for hosting us and the wonderful hospitality we received!

– Kate Baxley

Kiva Awarded Charity Navigator’s Highest Rating

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The Kiva micro-loan organization has been awarded the highest rating by Charity Navigator.
Charity Navigator is based in San Francisco, and it works to guide intelligent giving, helping people give to charity with confidence. At the same time, it aims to help charities by shining lights on truly effective organizations. It scores charities based on financial health, accountability and transparency, management, and overhead costs.

Click here to see Kiva’s score.

Who can we help? Come to the All Call Omaha Kiva kickoff party at Trinity Cathedral, 7:00 PM on Sept 17th, and help decide. Here’s a link to the Facebook Event. Maybe it will be Evangelina:

1424709 Evangelina is a very hardworking woman, and has been carrying out both domestic and farming chores since she was young. Her parents were the ones who taught her to work the land. She could only study until the third grade because her parents were unable to support her economically.

She is the mother of five children. She fights, along with her husband, every day in order to dress them, give them shoes, feed them, and provide them with everything they need that she and her husband, as their parents, are able to give them. Four of her children are studying in school and are in different grades; her youngest son is too small and is still at home.

She dreams of her children’s futures, and of seeing them become adults and professionals. She also hopes to be able to grow more crops on her land, and to grow a greater variety of crops, which is more attractive to her customers. This would allow her to generate more income so that she can achieve her goals and dreams.

For these reasons, she is requesting financing today from Comixmul. She will buy four quintals of organic coffee, six quintals of 18-46-0 fertilizer, three quintals of urea, four quintals of foliar fertilizer, two liters of fungicide, three quintals of 12-24-12 fertilizer, and four quintals of a special fertilizer specifically for coffee plants. These supplies will help her crops and will ensure a good harvest.