Nancy Brown and the Recovery Commission of the Diocese of Nebraska submitted this beautiful poem by the Rev. Sam Shoemaker as a reminder to keep our doors open and warmly welcome all our brothers and sisters into our lives and our churches in the Christmas season just ahead.
Note: Rev. Sam Shoemaker was a co-founder of A.A.
For more information on Rev. Shoemaker, see this link http://aa-history.com/samshoemaker.html
The Voice of a Christian
One of the strange realities of our newly-dawned “Information Age” is that we can become acutely aware of every great and serious topic from every sphere of life. Our local community hears news from our town, our state, our region, our nation, and the world.
One challenge this creates within the life of faith – and especially faith lived out in community, including our own parish, is that we can get hold of full or partial information about many of the great topics of our age. I confess that this is one of my greatest satisfactions from technology: it means quite a bit to me to be aware of the movements of history and nations, and to feel secure in my sense of my own place within them. I love to take up serious topics in conversation. The challenge of this is that our opinions, formed by diverse experiences and the different aspects of a story that we come to hear or experience, can become sources of tension, anxiety, or even division within our friendships, families, and churches.
I offer two thoughts in response. One is that Scripture is as true for us today in our Information Age as it was for the early churches to which Paul wrote – and in particular the community of the church in Corinth. I encourage you all sometime to read Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (you can finish it in about 20 minutes). It’s a letter to a church divided: they’ve chosen different leaders, and they’re unclear about what public Christian behavior should be, what sexual morality should be, and whether they still have a need of the Jewish law or not (any of this sound familiar?). Paul writes wonderful things to them, including a reminder that no human vision is perfect (“now we see in a mirror, dimly” 1 Cor 13:12), and that we all have a need of one another (“For just as a body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. […] The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” 1 Cor 12:12, 21). Paul understood that those who seek to follow Jesus would disagree in good conscience, but that it’s Christ who gathers us all together again, in spite of the visions and expectations we have – as scattered today as they ever were after Babel way back in Genesis 11!
The other thought is this: Rowan Williams, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury and head of our sister church, the Church of England, wrote this in a Lenten book called Christ on Trial (one of my favorite spiritual reads): “In the late nineties, Britain and other countries took up arms against tyrannical regimes elsewhere in the world. These military adventures may or may not have been justified or helpful, but the underlying problem for the Christian is how to be truthful about them. Yes, there is a cost in civilian deaths. Yes, such and such a policy, at home or abroad, will cost resources that will not therefore be available for other things. Yes, politics is frequently about the choosing where the cost will come, not about finding a cost-free option. The Christian is certainly called on to take up the unpopular position of being the person who asks about specific costs, about the tragic element in public decisions – not to turn the screws of guilt, but to remind us that facing cost is the only adult way of understanding the full nature of freedom. The Christian may also be the person who has the still more unpopular task of saying that this particular cost is unacceptable in terms of social or international wellbeing or public integrity,” (p 115).
It strikes me that we are in a time where that is precisely the public conversation we are having. Christians, and others, are raising our voices to face costs: the cost of taking on risk in our own nation if we seek to shelter others and someone who would do us violence might slip in amongst those fleeing that same violence, and the cost of locking in the innocent with the terrible. Each of these comments is a matter of facing cost: each has at its core a hope that human lives will not remain in danger.
I have already valued at Saint Augustine that we are able to have these conversations and understand that our higher commitment is to remain a part of Christ’s Body the Church together. That whatever cost is paid, we will acknowledge it soberly with our prayer and, when possible, our relief. We have had Syrian refugees as visitors at our parish on several occasions, and they have been treated with respect and hospitality. Few of us have the ear of the powerful, to offer our voice directly to them, but I believe we take on fully the challenge of living out the faith that demands that we follow Jesus, and not our own simple pleasures, and I believe that we have the capacity for loving conversation even around the weightiest topics of our age.
May we never neglect to face the true costs of our choices, nor the actions of our nation, and may we always speak to one another what we could also offer to God in prayer,
Fr Benedict Varnum,
St. Augustine of Canterbury, Omaha
The communion of saints is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise (BCP 862).
This is how the Book of Common Prayer defines the “communion of saints,” one of the things we declare we believe in when we say the Apostles’ Creed. What an amazing way of describing the family that God has created in Jesus. Through baptism, we are knit together, connected to each other so completely that nothing—not distance, or death, or the ways we hurt each other—can break us apart.
Loved ones who have passed on, Christians throughout history who inspire us, and, yes, even that person who gets on our very last nerve: God has brought us all together, has made us profoundly, eternally one, in Jesus Christ.
This Sunday, All Saints’ Day, is when we celebrate that eternal communion.
– Deacon Sarah Miller, Bishop’s Society Curate
Eternal Lord God, you hold all souls in life: Give to your whole church in paradise and on earth your light and your peace; and grant that we, following the good examples of those who have served you here and are now at rest, may at the last enter with them into your unending joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
ALLIANCE, St. Matthew’s
Dale Val Jean Borg
ARAPAHOE, St. Paul’s
BASSETT, St. Mary’s
BEATRICE, Christ Church
BELLEVUE, Holy Spirit
BLAIR, St. Mary’s
BROKEN BOW, St. John’s
Verla Ruth Scafer
CENTRAL CITY, Christ Church
Edward “Ed” L. Burke III
Clarence “Bud” A. Gaghagen, Jr.
CHARDON, Grace Church
COLUMBUS, Grace Church
Phillip Hockenberger, Jr.
COZAD, St. Christopher’s
CREIGHTON, St. Mark’s
CRETE, Trinity Memorial
DE WITT, St. Augustine’s
ELKHORN, St. Augustine
FALLS CITY, St. Thomas
FREMONT, St. James
GORDON, St. Mark’s
Anna Mae Fitch
GRAND ISLAND, St. Stephen’s
Botros Eltahir Gabriel
HARRISBURG, Good Shepherd
HARVARD, St. John’s
HASTINGS, St. Mark’s Pro Cathedral
HOLDREGE, St. Elizabeth’s
David M. Hamilton
Mae Marie Lofton
Harley Griffith Lofton Jr.
HYANNIS, Calvary Church
Betty J. Dyer
KEARNEY, St. Luke’s
Gary E. Zaruba
John G. Haeberle
Bettie C. Godfrey
Thomas B. Murray
Grace F. Hause
KIMBALL, St. Hilda’s
LEXINGTON, St. Peter’s
LINCOLN, Holy Trinity
LINCOLN, St. David’s
LINCOLN, St. Mark’s on the Campus
LINCOLN, St. Matthew’s
Ellen (Becky) R. Greenwald
McCOOK, St. Alban’s
MITCHELL, Holy Apostles
MULLEN, St. Joseph’s
NEBRASKA CITY, St. Mary’s
NORFOLK, Trinity Church
Joan L. (Jody) Thoma
Kay Ann Putters
Burton E. Nixon
NORTH PLATTE, Our Savior
Mary Helen Haythorn
OGALLALA, St. Paul’s
OMAHA, All Saints
Coralie Strickland Dossel
James Foutch Pegram
Paulina Helen Carlos
Richard E. Gibson, Jr.
Fedrika R. Pirruccello
Clora Elizabeth Haviland
Lorenz Kellner Muller
Gunnar K. Mossblad
Leslie Lee Hadan
Mary Lou Keyser
Jim R. Kanago
Diane Young Hamsa
OMAHA, Church of the Resurrection
OMAHA, St. Andrew’s
Ingrid Van Blerk
Edwin “Ding” Daisley, Jr.
OMAHA, St. Martin of Tours
OMAHA, Trinity Cathedral
Ellen Marie Scott
The Rev. Larry Jaynes
Samuel Blanchard, Jr.
OSHKOSH, St. George’s
PAPILLION, St. Martha’s
PLATTSMOUTH, St. Luke’s
RUSHVILLE, St. Mary’s Holly
SCOTTSBLUFF, St. Francis
The Rev. Kenneth “Cal” Henderson
Pauline Mae Brown
Teresa Josephine Lynn
Katherine (Masid) Connelly
The Rev. Dorothy “Dottie” Wolfe
Barbara (Hatch) Vernon
Jason Alan Krager
SEWARD, St. Andrew’s
Langdon “Paul” Green
Walter Stanley Waas
SIDNEY, Christ Church
TECUMSEH, Grace Church
VALENTINE, St. John’s
Priests Deceased Since Last Council
The Rev. Kenneth “Cal” Henderson
The Rev. Larry Jaynes
The Rev. Ed Newbury
The Rev. W. J. Barnds
The Rev. Mary Lou Reynolds
Deacons Deceased Since Last Council
The Rev. John Titus
The Rev. Dorothy “Dottie” Wolfe
Omaha native, resident and artist Pamela Jo Berry saw a need for more art to be infused into her community. So she dreamed up something called North Omaha Summer Arts (NOSA) in order to bring art in all its forms into that underserved neighborhood. With the help of partners and collaborators she’s made it a reality. This free, family-friendly arts festival for the community, by the community wraps up Year 5 with the annual Arts Crawl on Friday, August 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. The Arts Crawl happens at venues up and down and around North 30th Street. Take a stroll or drive from Metropolitan College Fort Omaha campus north to various churches to Heartland Family Service/Solomon Girls Center to enjoy inspiring visual art and soothing live music by artists from the community.
Sample the work of artists in a wide variety of mediums and meet some of the artists sharing their work.
Free refreshments and homemade snacks available at each stop.
“I am very excited about the fifth annual North Omaha Summer Arts Arts Crawl.” Berry says. “From 6 to 9 p.m. we have five locations showing beautiful art and serving really good food. New this year, the Washington Branch Library is hosting a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and there will be food and art there as well.
“The Arts Crawl features established artists and newcomers, all of whom love to share their art and its story with audiences. The food is wonderful at each stop. The deserts at Parkside Baptist Church are another work of art.”
The Arts Crawl lineup:
- Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha campus, Mule Barn Building #21 New this year: Omaha Fashion Week at the Mule Barn
- Church of the Resurrection, 3004 Belvedere Blvd. (just northwest of 30th and Kansas Ave.)
- Trinity Lutheran Church, 6340 North 30th St. (30th and Redick) Featuring a Community Peace mural made by teens and seniors from the North Omaha Intergenerational Human Services Campus
- Parkside Baptist Church, 3008 Newport Ave. (30th and Newport Ave.)
NEW THIS YEAR:
- Washington Branch Library, 2868 Ames Ave. is hosting an Arts Crawl reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Enjoy art and refreshments at the library.
Berry describes the Community Peace mural that a group of teens and seniors from the North Omaha Intergenerational Human Services Campus made under the direction of artist Pamela Hinson:
“This year we wanted to make a mural about North Omaha,” Berry says. “It is a beautiful, vibrant place to live, yes. even with all the attention on the violence and the issue of poverty. There are sweet, peaceful neighborhoods, people of different hues, faiths and languages, families of all generations in the parks, community gardens and small forests. And there is art in all forms.
“Many people care about North Omaha’s redevelopment and the well-being of the people. Better things are on the horizon. There is much prayer for peace in exchange for the violence that seems to linger in the in-between spaces here.. Our mural is about peace in and for North Omaha. Maybe as we focus on the good that can be found here, better ideas for mastering poverty and violence will come forth.”
The mural will be displayed at Trinity Lutheran Church during the Crawl.
The North Omaha Summer Arts team invites the general public from all over the metro to come participate in this important milestone of 5 years bringing art to North Omaha. Discover art and artists in our midst whose work deserves wider appreciation and recognition.
Before, during or after the Crawl, enjoy some of North Omaha’s other resources, including the Loves Jazz & Arts Center, the Carver Bank, the Union for Contemporary Art, the Bryant Center, Miller Park and the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation.
Visit the NOSA Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NorthOmahaSummerArts and the NOSA Arts Crawl Facebook Event page.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-502-4669/402-709-1359.
The Bishop Kemper School for Ministry is offering this two classes this summer that, while open to clergy, they are particularly designed for lay leaders, whether paid or volunteer, who are responsible for children and youth ministry programs. The two courses are:
MINI 340: Christian Education Leadership Survey
Saturday, June 13 – Sunday, June 14
Upton Hall, on the Diocese of Kansas campus in Topeka
MINI 350: Christian Education Teaching Survey
Saturday, July 18 – Sunday, July 19
Upton Hall, on the Diocese of Kansas campus in Topeka
Each class costs $125, which includes overnight accommodations and meals.
Attached here you will find both a color and black & white flyer in PDF format. If you would be willing to share the flyer with your clergy list and ask them to print and post the flyer in their churches to help us get the word out about these wonderful classes, it would be most appreciated.
Also, I would gratefully ask your assistance in sharing this information with clergy and laity in your diocese via Facebook, at meetings or via any upcoming e-publications. This link has complete information about both classes as well as an online registration form.
February 24th Lenten reflection on the Episcopal Service Corps site
“On Doubt,” by Fr. Jason Emerson, Resurrection House Program Director and Alum
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
my God, I put my trust in you; *
Growing up, I loved comic books. A common feature it seemed of every comic book was each super hero had an arch nemesis, an enemy that posed the the greatest threat to the hero because he or she knew the hero’s weakness. Our society does not value weakness. Somehow we are taught that admitting weakness will cause us to doubt ourselves. In our hyper-individualistic culture the cardinal sin is to doubt one’s self. To doubt that you alone by yourself can achieve whatever dream, task, or ambition…to doubt that by your actions you can satisfy whatever instant gratification you can imagine…to doubt these things is considered un-American at best and down right treasonous at worst….
Click here to read the full post on the ESC site.
Five of the seven All Call Omaha Kiva loans have now been paid back in full! Currently, Lalitibe in San Diego, California, Tuyen in Vietnam, and the Mariposas 1 Group in Santiago, DR are repaying their loans on schedule.
Click here for a pdf with details.
With the repayments we have received, there is over $600 in the All Call Kiva account to be re-loaned, and we’ll be having a Kiva party to do that at 5 PM on Sunday, February 8th at Church of the Resurrection. Snacks will be provided, and we’ll also hear a presentation from Pamela Berry on the North Omaha Summer Arts Crawl, and close with a brief prayer service.
Berry created the North Omaha Summer Arts organization(NOSA) in 2011 to serve the area north of Ames Ave. along the 30th Street corridor. The free Arts Crawl public festival is held every summer and it includes visual and mixed-media artists, quilting classes, and musicians. Artists are stationed with their works at Metro College and various churches along North 30th Street, and attendees have a chance to talk with the artists about their work as they snack their way through the venues.
Berry sees NOSA as a much needed asset for an underserved community challenged by poverty, crime, scarce amenities and a perception problem. “In the area of North Omaha where we live we could find no art,” she says. “We knew it was there, we just had to uncover it. We knew art would bring hope and peace and most of all community to our neighborhood. We’ve seen it grow, we’ve noticed the interest and the benefits…and we want it to continue to flourish.”
Nebraska Arts Council Heritage Arts Manager Deborah Bunting says NOSA is part of the new energy and sense of community being built in North Omaha.
Below are some photos from the 2014 arts crawl.
St. Luke’s, Plattsmouth will be celebrating 150 years of service with an anniversary celebration Eucharist at 6 PM followed by a pot luck supper, on November 26.
All are welcome!
Click here to read a great article on St. Luke’s on the Fremont Tribune site.
The culmination of four years of in depth research and digging into the rich history of the Church of Our Savior in North Platte was recognized recently when the Stephen Kay Heritage Room was dedicated by Bishop Scott Barker in early September,
The room, named in honor of COS historian, Steve Kay, features tall recessed and lighted display cases, a storage room with shelves for documents, a special picture hanging system for the west wall, and room for displays on the north and south walls as well.
The process which led to the new facility actually began four years ago when Steve began doing some research on COS history. “I started with finding pictures of all the priests that had served Church of Our Savior,” Steve said. “We had a list of names but not many pictures so I began researching all the places they had served after leaving COS and contacted those places as well as doing internet searches and found all the pictures except for one, Actually, I found it (the Rev John Gray), but it was of such poor quality it could not be reproduced.”
Steve worked with Don Milroy, a member of the parish and a photographer as well as owner of Brown Harano Studio in North Platte, and got all the images restored and framed. “I had found over 100 pictures of the 27 priests that have served COS over parts of three centuries and I worked with Don to pick the best one for each person.”
The priest pictures are now displayed in a gallery in the main hall at Church of Our Savior.
In addition to getting the pictures, Steve also made contacts with many people. “When getting pictures of the priests I made contact with many families of the priests and that has been most interesting,” Direct ancestors of the first priest to serve COS attended the dedication of the Heritage Room after driving down from Minneapolis, MN. Steve provided copies of all the pictures to the National Episcopal Archives in Austin, TX.
Once completing this project Steve then set his sights on researching the Japanese heritage of Church of Our Savior, especially the ministry of Hiram Hisanori Kano. In connection with Father Jeffrey Nelson, current priest at COS, Steve began to put together pictures and a history of the Japanese mission congregation in North Platte (St George’s.)
He was greatly aided in his research by photos placed in scrapbooks by the Rev Francis Pryor and his wife in the 1930’s and 1940’s. These pictures were scanned and restored by Don Milroy and displays were made and put out for people to view on display boards and tables in the main hallway at COS.
The pictures generated a great renewal of interest in the Japanese congregation and Father Nelson and Steve began discussions of ways to honor and recognize this important part of the heritage of Church of Our Savior. Steve then found an article about a sermon preached about Father Kano, organizer and priest of St George’s, by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Shori.. Working with Father Nelson and Brian Gardner, Senior Warden at the time, it was decided to invite the Presiding Bishop to come to North Platte and join in recognizing the ministry of Father Kano. Father Nelson extended the invitation to the Presiding Bishop and she came to North Platte the weekend of July 28-29. 2012 to join in the celebration of Father Kano’s ministry, not only in North Platte but in Mitchell as well.
The event was filmed and placed on the website of the national Episcopal Church and was noted in several national church publications.
Following this event, Steve began to concentrate more on the history of COS Itself and began to dig in closets. files, and drawers throughout the facility. Steve dug through closets not only in the church building itself but in the adjoining Educational Wing and also the Sacristies. He kept an eye out for historically significant artifacts, documents, and photos.
“One of the most interesting items I found were the brass items donated by the Foley family in 1889.,” Steve pointed out, “They were all used in the first church building built in 1872-73.” Steve also located the original documents of incorporation of the parish and the actual record of the order for the first bell for the church! “I was also able to find newspaper articles reporting on the Consecration of the second church building for COS in 1893.”
So that all of the information that Steve has found is not lost to future generations, Steve has authored a book entitled “Church of Our Savior – Our Second Century of Service”. The book reports on the time period from 1967 to the present and builds upon an earlier book telling of the earlier history of COS called “Travails and Triumphs” authored by Sharon Hollen, another member of Church of Our Savior. The new book is $20 and can be purchased through the church office at COS.
“What really amazes me is how much this parish has done for the city of North Platte,” Steve says. At one time or another we have sponsored a hospital, a school, a Sunday School for children on the north side of the city Many of the projects the parish undertakes today such as the Wednesday community meals, the free haircuts for students returning to school, and the like are in the spirit of these previous outreaches.”
The new Stephen Kay Heritage Room is currently featuring displays of original photographs taken of the damage to the previous church structure by a fire which destroyed that building in July. 1962. Some artifacts from that building are on display. Also photographs of the construction of the current COS facility and pictures of the corner stone laying and the consecration of the new building in September, 1964 are on display. Also being featured in the Heritage Room at this time are the artifacts placed in the cornerstone of the church in 1963 and removed recently to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the building.
Displays in the room will be changed periodically to reflect different eras of parish history. Two large glass display cases sit outside the room and also feature elements and pictures of COS history. Those displays will be changed periodically as well.
The Stephen Kay Heritage Room is located to the south of the main hallway at COS and just opposite of the Fireside Room. The Heritage Room is open during regular business hours and on Sunday during worship services.
“I think Church of Our Savior has one of the most interesting histories among the parishes of the Diocese of Nebraska”, Steve reported. “It’s great to see this story on display in the new Heritage Room.”
“Church of Our Savior’s story is the story of service to others,” Steve said.
– Brian Gardner
For the past couple of decades St. Luke’s, Kearney, has celebrated the end of summer and the start of the new Christian Education year with a Eucharist and picnic in one of the parks in Kearney — we call it ‘Mass in the Grass’. This year it was at Centennial Park in southwest Kearney.
About a week prior to the picnic Fr. Jerry had issued a challenge to all the other pastors and youth groups in Kearney to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and said that he would do so at our picnic. After we had celebrated Eucharist and fed ourselves on the many picnic dishes provided (including hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on the spot by Bobby Wiester and Frank Robinson) we all moved over to the children’s playground area to watch Fr. Jerry get doused.
– David Clark