“Churches tend to become generationally narrow — focused on a single generation that shares a certain moment of imprint, like grand hymns of the 1950s or contemporary Christian rock. Each generation hears its soundtrack, as it were, and relaxes. Going broader and deeper means accepting a fresh take as worthy: new songs, words, and images, new sorts and conditions of people….
Click here for full story by Fr. Tom Ehrich of NY.
There is a new TNE “Sister Site” for daily prayer requests. Please pass the word that all are welcome to post prayer requests here as a comment to each day’s devotion, and others will “Like” the comment as they pray for the intercession.
or Facebook: Nebraska Common Prayer
Review of Lee Daniels’ The Butler by a loyal Tri-Faith member.
For the past several days, a fellow member of the Episcopal Tri-Faith community and I have been exchanging email messages about this past week’s Gospel: Luke 12:51-53. Paraphrased (by me) it reads:
“The simplistic ‘feel good’ message of many contemporary preachers is flat wrong. God did not send me here to gift unto you Peace. I do not come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to simply increase Average Sunday Morning Attendance figures. To the contrary, with intention, I have come to bring division and angst—especially within the family unit. I assure you that I will divide families and cause great turmoil within your family. I will set father against son and son against father.”
What is Jesus saying? The total body of the Gospels’ writers works ought to leave all Christians with the firm conviction that the Prince of Peace commands mankind to reform and be individually transformed so that we love and take care of the least among us—not to continue running over the poor and disenfranchised.
Fresh on the heels of rummaging around with this week’s Gospel, I attended a showing of The Butler.
What is the director saying? This fictional family story is raw with father-against-son and son-against-father tension. In the end, it is a story about the transformation (individually and for all of mankind) that comes out of the division that Jesus intentionally brings to our lives.
So, my take: study last week’s Gospel. With that study fresh in mind, go see The Butler. I am drawn to Carl Sandburg’s poem that may be saying something similar. Perhaps something along the lines of: God does not want us to simply follow in our father’s footsteps and/or (more to my stage of life), God most certainly does not want our children to follow in the messy foot prints we have left.
Lay me on an anvil, O God.
Beat me and hammer me into a crowbar.
Let me pry loose old walls.
Let me lift and loosen old foundations.
Lay me on an anvil, O God.
Beat me and hammer me into a steel spike.
Drive me into the girders that hold a skyscraper together.
Take red-hot rivets and fasten me into the central girders.
Let me be the great nail holding a skyscraper through blue nights into white stars.
– Carl Sandburg
Church of the Resurrection renews water/bus stop ministry.
The summer has finally arrived in Nebraska. With temperatures nearing 100 predicted for the next two weeks, the Church of the Resurrection renews a much needed urban ministry.
There is a bus stop at the corner of the church yard and led by the St. Teresa’s Guild, COR has placed a cooler of water bottles, a bin, and a tablet there. Pedestrians, bus commuters, and neighbors are invited to take a water and leave a prayer request.
This is one of the many small ways the congregation serves its neighborhood. You may not have a bus stop near your church or be in a metropolitan area, but there are probably many ways your church can reach out in this way – construction workers, roofers, farm workers…
Peggy Mitchell, St. Teresa’s Guild
May 5th was declared “Deacon Ellen Day” by Trinity Cathedral’s Chapter to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of Ellen Marie Reimer Ross to the diaconate. A needlepoint deacon’s cushion was installed in the cathedral sanctuary.
At a special coffee hour, Ellen was present a bouquet of Gerbera daisies, an engraved hand-blown glass vase and a mini-dalmatic which substituted for the real-size special order green dalmatic ordered for Ellen.
Many words of thanks were said, many gifts of affection were given, much fun and laughter were heard. Most of all, Trinity Cathedral returned to its deacon the gift she has always given them – the gift of love.
“Environmental stewardship” is basically caring for the earth. Stewardship in general involves the careful and wise use of the gifts God has given us. In our traditional understanding, environmental stewardship involves the careful and wise use of a particular set of those gifts: the air, land, and water that support all living things. God’s placing Adam in the garden to till it and keep it is a story that reminds us that God expects us to be tillers and keepers of the earth, good gardeners. With a long history of conservation practices from soil conservation to Arbor Day and everything in between, Nebraskans are natural environmental stewards.
In most parishes, fall is the season for committing ourselves to a pledge of stewardship for the coming year. I remember the first time (I think in the late 1970′s) that I saw a pledge card with spaces for more than name, address, and number of dollars pledged. Various ministries of the parish were listed on the back, and we were asked to write down the ministries to which we pledged our time and talent. Seeing that card expanded my notion of stewardship in the church.
These sorts of pledge cards are common now, usually distributed after several reminders that gifts of time and talent are at least as important as monetary gifts. For those of us who have been around for many stewardship seasons, “time, talent, and treasure” is a familiar phrase.
Recently I was at a gathering of people committed to telling people about the reality of climate change and to advocating for practices to address climate change before we reach a point where catastrophic consequences become inevitable. We talked about ways to share the reality of “dirty weather” (extreme weather caused by carbon pollution from human activity) and its effects, but we also talked about happier news. While the reality of climate change and its effects can be alarming, we do have the technical know-how that would allow us to cut our use of fossil fuels dramatically. If we can find the will to do the right thing, there is great hope for a future with perhaps an even better way of life than we enjoy now.
One of the speakers said that the way to get from our present climate crisis to a brighter future is for all of us to use our “time, dime, and voice”. I had no more than noticed how catchy it was to couple ‘time’ with ‘dime’ when I realized the phrase also resonated with me because it was awfully close to that old, familiar “time, talent, and treasure” phrase. Especially when the speaker emphasized that ‘voice’ wasn’t limited to words — it could be art, music, presence — I realized it was really just another way to talk about talent.
Yes, environmental stewardship does involve traditional conservation practices and more recently learned recycling practices. But to count as stewardship in the way we understand it as Christians, it has to stretch beyond conservation of resources. Especially when the future of most species of plants and animals and even the future of human civilization as we have known it face a very real and very present threat from climate change, stretching ourselves to commit our time, talent, and treasure to the long-term sustainability of a planet that can support life is an essential piece of environmental stewardship for Christians today. A gift of time can help us learn more about what is happening, digging beyond what news headlines tell us. We can give our time to do something such as writing a letter to a political leader spelling out particular concerns about our inadequate response to climate change. Our talents can help us find ways to help others understand the importance of paying attention to what is happening, to help develop economic, technological, and political solutions to various aspects of climate change, and to find all sorts of creative ways to advocate for the earth or to support those who are doing this work. A commitment of treasure involves buying and investing in environmentally friendly products and companies rather than more harmful alternatives even if the environmentally friendly products cost more or yield a lower return on investment.
A devoted gardener cares for the garden not only through traditional good gardening practices such as weeding, watering, and conserving the soil, but by protecting the garden when something threatens to overrun or destroy the garden. Fr. Thomas Barry called tending to our relationship with the earth so that the relationship is mutually beneficial rather than mutually destructive The Great Work. Being tillers and keepers of the earth in this century calls us to The Great Work of environmental stewardship. If we do this work well, future generations will look back on our work with gratitude. It is morally essential for us to do our best while we have the opportunity.
Archdeacon Betsy Blake Bennet
Is 2014 your year to join folks from across Nebraska in forming our Companion Diocese relationship in the Dominican Republic?
Are you ready to witness the joy and faith which makes the Dominican Episcopal Church one of the fastest growing dioceses of our Church?
2014 Mission Teams are now forming. The Adult Team will work at the Diocesan Camp in the mountains near Jarabacoa on February 10-17, 2014. A Youth Mission Team will work at the Camp on June 23-30, 2014.
We will be visiting a mission diocese in an emerging and developing country. Many of our Dominican brothers and sisters live in difficult conditions. Though financial resources are limited…faith is great, joy is abundant, and hope sustains those in need of food, clothing, and education. The blessings received will be equal to those blessing given.
The expected cost will be approximately $1500. Necessary fundraising will be left to the individual and their home parish, but fund raising ideas may be found at http://youthoutreach.episcopal-ne.org/fundraiser-ideas.html. Very limited scholarships may also become available.
Youth must be at least 16 years old in order to participate. Both the Adult and Youth Teams will arrive into Santiago on Monday evening. Our Teams will be met at the airport by local clergy who will either escort us to a downtown hotel or see that we are safely on our bus to the Diocesan Camp. Our journey will continue early Tuesday morning as we become familiar with the new surroundings that will become home during the coming week. We will work at the camp and in the surrounding barrio until we embark upon our journey home….changed forever.
Join folks from around the Diocese of Nebraska, as we continue to build companion relationships with our church and our brothers and sisters in the Dominican Republic!
For more information regarding these missions please contact:
Adult Mission Information
Rev. Karen Watson
Youth Mission Information
Don and Melissa Peeler
If you are unable to participate, but still wish to support our DR Ministry, educational scholarships are a wonderful way to support the work being done in the DR. A gift of $350 provides a student in the DR with the opportunity to learn for one year, and a much needed physical, vision, and hearing examination. For more information on how your life changing gift may be made, go to http://dgm.episcopal-ne.org/dominican-republic.html.
A special ministry opportunity exists for a creative individual with a little extra time and web-site development experience. The Diocese of Nebraska is looking for a volunteer to maintain its global mission web-page, and take it to the next level for communication, interaction, and information. If global mission and technology are your passions, please contact Canon Judi Yeates at 402-341-5373.
The significant news the past few weeks from South Sudan is the sacking of the entire national cabinet of ministers and the vice-president. It appears President Salva Kiir wanted to downsize the central government cabinet posts. Having completed that task the president is now re-appointing ministers to some of the positions and also appointing new personnel to some of the positions.
One of the new appointments to the president’s cabinet is the appointment of Jonglei State Governor Kual Manyang Juuk to the position of Minister of Defense. Twic East Diocese is in Jonglei State.
The South Sudan petroleum pipeline which travels through North Sudan is now back in operation, however North Sudan is threatening to shut it down due to some border disagreements.
The county commissioner Mr. Dau Akoi from Twic East has been travelling in the U.S.A. to several cities the past 3 weeks. His base location was Omaha during his stay. He is assisting the U.S. South Sudan diaspora in fund raising for the proposed construction of a youth center in Panyagor the county seat of Twic East. If the fund raiser is successful this project will provide a much needed location for the youth in Twic East County to gather and participate in various activities.
At the Twic East Diocese headquarters village of Maar, we now have an operating mobile phone tower. The tower was actually constructed several years ago, however it was not completed and activated until this past spring.
This will be a real asset for communications directly to Maar and Twic East Diocese personnel.
We also have word that the Bol Deng Compound which is adjacent to the Diocese church compound in Maar is being renovated. This undertaking is due to the need for an adequate facility for the visiting medical teams working at the new primary health clinic in Maar.
The annual “Nets for Nets” fund raiser in Elkhorn, Ne. was recently completed. Their proceeds this year will be for medical supplies for the Twic East Diocese. This is an annual fund raiser organized by two students from Elkhorn, Abi Heller and Ashley Knight. Congratulations on your great work!
All Saints Omaha is preparing for their annual fund raiser on September 15th. The fund raiser “Pedal for Treadles” will be for the purchase of sewing machines and grinding mills for the Maar village community.
Agriculture training will begin with the fall semester at the Baraka Agriculture College in Molo, Kenya for a South Sudan priest in Nairobi. This will be a two year program of study. Upon completion he will relocate from Nairobi to Twic East. The purpose of the training is to teach and train the Twic East Diocese communities ways and methods of producing vegetable garden produce for use by the individual communities.
There is an ongoing study to investigate the best method to complete the Wanglei girls school. This school completion will be a primary focus for the Nebraska diocese Companion effort to Twic East in the coming year.
God’s richest blessings on your summer! I hope you were able to spend some down time enjoying your loved ones, and the beauties that remind us…it is summer! Family picnics…vacation outings and play time… cook-outs with neighbors and friends. This article focuses on the role of the family in self-esteem.
The family plays a significant… if not critical role… in the development of self-esteem. Much of our self-esteem can be traced back to how we were treated as children in our families. Children are not born with self-esteem; rather self-esteem is really a reflection of other’s opinion of us.
A healthy sense of self is a very important gift we can give to all/our children. As adults, we may need to forgive our parents if they were not able to help us feel lovable, capable, and valued. The only healthy source of self-esteem comes from our relationship with our loving heavenly Father. As children of God…our Father is the only divine being who can love us with the unconditional love that never fails.
So how can families help children develop self-esteem? Well there are several things Christian families can do to foster self-esteem.
First: We can provide our children with an abundance of unconditional love. This is the love that we learn best from God. It is easiest for adults to share this with their children if they can enjoy God’s love for themselves (see Rom. Ch. 5 and 1 Jn. Ch. 3 & 4). Unconditional love speaks loudly to children that they are valuable because of who they are… not what they do! Each person is a precious and irreplaceable child of our loving Father…of such worth…that Jesus died to redeem him or her!
Second: We can provide the structure and guidance that children need. Love without guidance really…is not love! Children need discipline and I am not talking about physical discipline here. It is the discipline that our loving Father offers every one of his children so that we can learn to understand our roles and position in the world that is logical and predictable. In God’s loving hands… it helps us all to feel safe and to focus on our real work and purpose in this world.
Third: We can provide a positive environment that affirms one another. Children learn a great deal from watching their parents interact! “Love is patient, love is kind…it is not rude…it is not easily angered…it always protects…always trusts, hopes and perseveres” (1 Cor. 13: 4-7).
Family Esteem: Is the belief that our family is valuable and worthwhile. It identifies the strengths that the family has and values how the family works together to assist each other in growth. Most of all…it appreciates each family member and the family as a whole. How is your family esteem?
May he who is faithful help us to experience wholeness and love in our families’ lives.
Have a Healthy and Blessed Day!
The Rev. Dn Stephanie Ulrich, RN, SD, Minister of Health All Saints Episcopal Church