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
As a blended house of worship famous for radical hospitality, Church of the Resurrection (COR) knows something about gathering diverse people together to break bread. That’s never more evident than during its annual Wesley Dean Memorial Fish and Spaghetti Dinner, which this year happens Saturday, May 3rd from Noon to 6 p.m. at the north side church located at 3004 Belvedere Blvd.
Whether you’re a soul food devotee or just a fan of home style eating, whether you’re an urban or suburban dweller, COR’s famous fundraising feast will satisfy with its deep-fried whole catfish, spaghetti with meat sauce, coleslaw and bread meal. Dessert is included.
Hungry folks of every race, ethnicity and creed are welcome at the table. Dinners are $12 per person and are available on a dine-in and take-out basis. Limited deliveries are also offered.
COR is active in the North Omaha community and proceeds from the dinner support the following church ministries serving people of all ages:
- Nebraska Episcopal Church Camp Comeca sponsored youths
- CORE Outreach (Community Learning Center at Miller Park Elementary) operation and emergency assistance
- Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for families
- Sunday School program activities
- Cultural awareness programming
The dinner is organized by the church’s St. Theresa’s Guild and has been COR’s principal fundraising event since the merger of an all-black congregation (St. Philip’s) and an all-white congregation (St. John’s)formed COR in 1986. Not just Sundays, but every day is a celebration of diversity at COR, which hosts programs throughout the year that promote inclusion, tolerance, dialogue and social justice. A triptych art piece that speaks powerfully to human rights hangs in the church.
Breaking bread together isn’t limited to once a year at COR. It also hosts an annual Soul Food Dinner and it serves a full lunch following each Sunday’s 10 a.m. service. The church welcomes everyone to experience its radical hospitality for themselves.
For tickets or more details, call 402-455-7015.
– Leo Biga
John sends us his reflection on the Passion:
The Passion reading has a way of making all words about it seem inadequate, as though the best response I could make is simply to stand before the cross and watch without blinking. But every year when I look, I see something different, catch some new idea or detail. This year it concerns the place of a skull.
I am accustomed to thinking of Golgotha (or Calvary, as it is named in Latin) as a hill. Visual arts tend to depict three crosses on a rise more often than on level ground. Our hymns speak of “Calvary’s mournful mountain” and “a green hill far away” and “Calvary’s height.” But none of the four Gospels refer to Golgotha as anything other than a ‘topos,’ a ‘place’ in the most non-descript sense of the word. We have no hint in the Gospels that Calvary was anything other than flat.
In fact, the Roman custom was to crucify the condemned along a road leading into a city so that people coming to town would see the punishment meted out to those who defied the authorities and, if the travelers were literate, they could read the crime posted on the cross as well. If you’ve seen Spartacus with Kirk Douglas, or for that matter the first episode of this year’s Game of Thrones, you’ve seen this phenomenon of lining the road with crosses and have some idea of the psychological effect it might have if you had to pass a bunch of dead or dying people on your way to conduct your business in the city. And Matthew’s remark that “those who passed by derided” Jesus certainly would fit with this theory that Golgotha was just the customary place on a road leading into Jerusalem where the Romans would crucify folks.
This deconstruction of my mental image of the hilltop crucifixion would be of academic interest only except for the way it modifies and modernizes an interesting but troubling strand of medieval theology. According to some thinkers, if Jesus’ death on the cross was an atonement for our sins, and we knowingly sin after our baptism, then our sins amount to a literal re-crucifixion of Christ. The poet John Donne best stated this when he wrote that, because he sinned and sinned, “I crucify Him daily.”
This is poor theology, to be sure, but it does raise the question of how our sins today come into contact with the hours of crucifixion. And I think the image of Jesus on a roadside cross provides an interesting answer: our sins do not put Jesus back on the cross, but instead put us in the position of the passersby. In what we think and do and don’t do, we do not cause his suffering but instead daily approach it. We’re going about our business and suddenly see his face, barely recognizable in its pain, on the faces of those we wrong through our actions or inactions or we see him watching us from the deep recesses of our hearts. Our road to the heavenly city of God is like the Appian Way after Spartacus’ defeat, lined with thousands of crosses. And each day as we walk, when we pass that stricken face, we can choose to stop and mock him or keep going and barely notice him. Or we can do what the Queen in Game of Thrones does when she finds that her enemies have crucified a slave along every mile of the road between her and their city: she vows to “see each and every one of their faces” before the bodies are taken down and remember them as she proceeds. As we pass the crucified Christ while walking our own roads, may we do likewise.
Our Diocese has a strong camp tradition.
We think that’s worth celebrating!
We are asking all parishes across DioNeb to join us on May 4th as we celebrate & promote Camp!
Click here to view Noelle’s promo video for 2014!
Below are some ideas and downloadable examples you can use or modify for observing Camp Sunday at your Parish:
• In April, begin promoting Camp Sunday in your bulletins, newsletters and social media sources. Here are some sample promotional items you can use at your parish.
Camp Promo Poster (pdf)
• Ask your youth that have been to camp be present that Sunday and to wear a camp tee shirt, perhaps allow them a few minutes to speak about why they love camp or about a meaningful camp experience at announcements or even give them sermon time. Schedule them to serve as Acolytes, Ushers, and Lectors on May 4. Incorporate Camp Songs into your worship service.
• Hold an On-Site Registration. If you have the technical capabilities at your parish, have a laptop handy and get kids registered on Camp Sunday. Camp Registration is open April 29th – June 30th. Any camper that registers on May 4th will automatically be entered (twice) to win the Ultimate Camper Prize Package: which will include a pool caddy/tote, a beach towel, sunscreen, bug spray, water bottle, flashlight, sleeping bag, PLUS $25 off the price of their registration.
• Serve s’mores at coffee hour, Have the camp kids serve and clean up. For a quick & easy fundraiser, ask the camp kids to host coffee hour, make the coffee, provide the treats, serve and clean up. Use the coffee hour donations as scholarship money.
• Designate an adult in your parish that will see to it that camp information is distributed and communicated to all youth entering 4th – 12th grades. Any camp questions can be directed to Noelle Ptomey at email@example.com.
• Establish a Camp Scholarship Fund at your parish or support fundraisers to help kids pay for camp. Camp costs $275. That can really add up if you have more than one kid going to camp. We encourage parishes to be the first line of scholarship. We NEVER want a child to miss camp for financial reasons. For further assistance contact Noelle Ptomey at firstname.lastname@example.org
If Camp Sunday isn’t feasible at your parish, perhaps you could designate a Sunday school or Youth Group session to promote camp and use the provided resources.
Look for additional TNE and Ministry Memo posts over the next few weeks. You can also find more camp information found at the diocesan website www.episcopal-ne.org
– Noelle Ptomey
Women’s Retreat Friday April 25th – Saturday April 26th
This year’s retreat is extra special with The Rev. Canon Judi Yeates presenting the program on her last weekend as Canon to the Ordinary. We hope you will display the poster and advertise the event in your congregations.
The topic is Forgiveness: A Christian Virtue. Mother Judi has requested that we read the book or have watched the movie Philomena as she will refer to it in her presentation. Sandra Squires may be able to get the movie for us to watch on Friday night of the retreat as well. Retreat attenders will want to bring a journal or notebook and a Book of Common Prayer. The guest rooms at the retreat center have Bibles.
The retreat will be held at the Benedictine Retreat House just north of Schuyler, Nebraska, Friday, April 25th Saturday, April 26th.
The cost is $95 for a double room, $100 for a single room, with meals included. We will gather from 4-6 p.m. and have supper at 6 on Friday, April 25th. Mother Judi will speak on Friday from 7-9, we’ll have snacks and a movie afterward. Breakfast is planned for 7:30 Saturday morning, with the program beginning at 9:00. Mother Judi will celebrate the Eucharist before lunch. There will be time for public or private confession and absolution. We plan to finish by 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26th.
We hope you will join us for the retreat and we hope you will help us get the word out to as many as possible! Please contact me if you have questions or suggestions!
Deacpon Christine M. Grosh, MA
Convener of Women’s Ministries, Diocese of Nebraska
Theme: Forgiveness: A Christian Virtue
Location: Benedictine Retreat Center, north of
Check-in 4-6 p.m., April 25, 2014
Retreat opens with supper on Friday, at 6 p.m., ends 3 p.m. Saturday
$95 double occupancy/$100 single room, includes meals.
Register online: go to Diocese of Nebraska, click on ministries, then down to
women’s ministry. The registration form will come up on the screen.
Questions: Deacon Christine Grosh
Emily Barker, our missionary has been in Cape Town working for HOPE Africa for a month! Check out her update below on what this first month in Cape Town, South Africa has held for her.
Omaha, why Omaha?
Greetings! My name is Alyse Viggiano and I hail from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Interesting fact,I am a triplet. So I have a sister and a brother who are my age and both currently attend WestVirginia University. I attended college at John Carroll University, in Cleveland Ohio, andgraduated with a degree in Marketing and minors in Philosophy and Entrepreneurship.
Prior to college, I was very involved in my parish in Pittsburgh, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I was apart of the youth group, went on several mission trips to Charleston, South Carolina, and was an Acolyte (which is similar to alter serving). At that time, being apart of the worship service and serving others was something I was passionate about, and still so to this day. Two older priests, who truly embody what it means to serve people, noticed these passions within me, and asked me to consider the priesthood. During high school, I didn’t consider myself prepared to take on a vocation in the church. I wasn’t mature enough to handle difficult situations that would plague a congregation, preach the gospel, or give wise advice to others. Ultimately, I didn’t dismiss the idea, I simply set it aside for later. In the fall of 2009, I went off to John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
While at college, I studied marketing, entrepreneurship, and philosophy. In the spring of 2011, I studied abroad in London, England for a semester. Before going abroad, I began working at a little unknown coffee shop on campus. While at the coffee shop, I showed an enthusiasm for making smoothies, and was asked to become student manager of the coffee shop. I took the position, although reluctantly because I had no experience with coffee (I was strictly a tea drinker). But after diving head first into the coffee world, I had a newly found thirst to learn everything about coffee, coffee shops, and the atmosphere they convey. In the fall of 2011, I implemented everything I had learned about coffee and espresso, and began making chocolate chip cookies for the coffee shop, which changed names to The Cubby. When I first started at The Cubby, it barely did $100 a week in sales, by the end of spring 2013, my senior year, we hit record sales of $723 in ONE night. The Cubby was my life, the support and community that surrounded it was growing, and I didn’t want to leave it. It was hard to let go of the reins, but The Cubby wasn’t truly mine, and I was graduating, which meant I had to move on. I was passionate about making cookies and other baked goods, pouring lattes and coffee, but ultimately, I was more intrigued by the development of the community that begun to surround The Cubby. So at the end of four years, I had a college degree in hand, but I had a question to answer, what do I do now?
I took a step back and asked myself the question, “If I were to die tomorrow, what would I regret now doing?”. I earned a degree in marketing with minors in Philosophy and Entrepreneurship (check), I ran a coffee shop (check), I baked a ton of cookies, muffins, scones (check), I had been doing something I was passionate about. The answer that felt right was to explore that call of priesthood. But how to do it?
Through the Episcopal Service Corps. I found the program in Omaha called the Resurrection house coordinated by Jason Emerson. It is a 9 month program where 50% of my time will be in an Episcopal church, 25% will be at a non-profit, and the other 25% will be spent on spiritual development. Starting August 31st until May 19th, I will be in Omaha, Nebraska exploring this option.
I don’t know what will happen by the end of May. I am letting the chips fall as the may, which is much harder than I anticipated. I am anxious and nervous for what lies ahead, but I am listening and staying open to what the future holds. At John Carroll, I worked on a project with two of my closest friends which we called Polis after the perfect community that Aristotle created. The tag line for the project was cultivating community through coffee, collaboration, and community. I use that same tag line for my own goals with a slightly different tilt. My mission is to cultivate community through food, conversation, and spirituality. How I will do this, I do not know. But after completing this year of service, prayer, and discernment, I can only hope to be closer to understanding what it means to cultivate community through food, conversation, and spirituality.
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 email@example.com by Thursday noon for each week’s gathering of biddings.
The deacons of our diocese bid your prayers:
For people dealing with the effects of heavy rains and flooding in Colorado. For those who mourn loved ones who died in the floods and for those risking their own safety to help others.
For seasonable weather, for an abundant harvest, and for safekeeping for workers as our harvest begins.
For all who work for justice and peace in the world, especially those involved in the negotiations intended to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
For all who live in places of war and terror, especially the people of Syria and Afghanistan.
For all those known and unknown who have been killed in wars around the world. We offer thanks that there were no reported United States military deaths in the Middle East the week of August 11th.
For refreshing rains and a return to more seasonable weather in our state, we bid prayers of thanksgiving.
A Resurrection House Alumni and former St. Andrews member Kieran Conroy is entering his 2nd year serving with the Young Adult Intentional Community on Rosebud Reservation, a ministry of the ELCA Lutheran and Episcopal churches in South Dakota. Similar to Resurrection House in some ways, yet also breaking new ground, it welcomes young adults to commitments ranging from a summer to a year or more, centering its values on monastic patterns and a Rule of Prayer, Listening and Hospitality to shape relationships to each other and Lakota neighbors. The Community seeks a new vision of long-term, culturally sensitive ministry putting relationship before “grand plans.”
In its first year the Community has been blessed with growing partnerships with local Lakota Episcopal communities and a wide range of non-profit and denominational partners serving youth and families. Participants also study Lakota language and culture. In the first year they also helped organize an international Taize Gathering at Red Shirt, Pine Ridge hosting 600-1000 people for 4 days of camping, prayer and cultural dialog between young people. They encourage readers to follow their work at the following links: