Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

Spreading the Word

New Book by Fr. Jeffrey Nelson: Christ Has no Body Now But Yours

Fr. Jeffrey Nelson's new Book

Fr. Jeffrey Nelson’s new Book

A new book of three years of Lent and Easter sermons preached at Episcopal Church of Our Savior in North Platte, Nebraska by Fr. Jeffrey Nelson has been published by Parson’s Porch & Company. The collection, entitled Christ Has No Body Now But Yours: Sermons for Lent and Easter can be purchased for $18.95 at http://www.parsonsporch.com. (To find the book, click on search in the left navigation of that website, and then search for “Nelson”.) All proceeds from the sale of the book go to help people who are otherwise disenfranchised from the community because of poverty, violence, hunger and homelessness. Please consider buying a copy, or two, or three. And enjoy!

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The Rev. Dr. Daniel Prechtel in the Panhandle: August 22nd & 23rd

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Prechtel

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Prechtel

 

DioNE welcomes The Rev. Dr. Daniel Prechtel, Author of recent book, Where Two or Three are Gathered: Spiritual Direction for Small Groups, Morehouse Publishing. The general theme for for these sessions is “Spiritual Companionship: Holy Trinity, Spiritual Direction, and Discernment”

Come to three separate and informative events led by Rev. Prechtel:

Regional Clergy Workshop: Friday, Aug. 22, 10 am to 3 pm, St. Francis Church, Scottsbluff.
Topics:
“A Trinitarian Understanding of Spiritual Companionship”
“Spiritual Direction in the Postmodern Era”
“Spiritual Direction and Discernment”

Western Deanery Lecture: Saturday, Aug. 23, 10 am to 11 am, St. Matthew’s Church, Alliance.
Topic:
“Small Group Forms of Spiritual Companionship”

Church Leaders Workshop: Saturday, Aug. 23, 2:30 pm to 5 pm, St. Matthew’s Church, Alliance.
Topics:
“The Dance of Spiritual Discernment”
“Guiding Symbols and Discernment”

 
A free-will offering will be will be requested at the Deanery Meeting to cover the cost of the meal.
 

In addition to these events, Rev. Prechtel will be preaching and celebrating the Eucharist at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Alliance, NE on Sunday, August 24th.

Rev. Prechtel is a spiritual director and consultant with Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries, which provides personal, group and church/organization spiritual direction and counseling. He also offers long-distance spiritual guidance as well as online spiritual direction and dreamwork groups. Rev. Prechtel is currently working on a book about spiritual discernment and how spiritual practices such as depth prayer, meditation, and dreamwork can help us become aware of “guiding symbols” that assist us in discovering our way forward in our personal and communal lives.

 

For more information: Contact Father Coke McClure
1225 Box Butte Avenue, Alliance, NE 69301
Phone: 308-760-5031   rectorstm@gmail.com

 

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Diocesan Ministry Fair Invitation & Schedule

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Dear Friends,

It gives me great joy to invite you to join many of your fellow Nebraska Episcopalians at your cathedral on Saturday, March 8, for a day of learning, sharing, praying, singing, and celebrating our common call to know Jesus and to make him known.

The Reverend Ernesto Medina and I have invited a variety of lay and ordained leaders to offer one-hour workshops on different aspects of faith and ministry. The only guideline we gave them was to talk about their passion. As you can see from the workshop descriptions, there will be an extraordinarily diverse and rich array of offerings. It promises to be a fun, joyful, educational, and inspirational day.
If you find there are more workshops you are interested in than you can attend, bring a friend, or a whole team from you parish! We hope this will become an annual occasion for us to gather together and learn from one another.

There is no cost to attend this event, and ALL are welcome. We’re asking folks to bring a brown bag lunch to help minimize the overall cost of the day. To help us get a better sense of how many people are attending, please e-mail Deacon Ellen Ross in the cathedral office at eross@trinityepiscopal.org the number of people from your parish that plan to attend. I very much hope you’ll join us, and that you will let me know if you have any questions, or thoughts and ideas about future Ministry Fairs. I look forward to seeing you on March 8!

Craig
(The Very Reverend) Craig Loya
Dean, Trinity Cathedral, Omaha

 

Click on the image at the right to download a PDF of the detailed session descriptions sessions-thumbnail

Click on the image at the right to download a PDF that shows the schedule of offerings in summary form workshops-at-a-glance-thumbnail
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Mother Carol Ann: Epiphany Reflections

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(From the Holy Apostles, Mitchell newsletter)
6 January 2014

Dear People of God at Holy Apostles

So. Here we are, at the very beginning of a new calendar year. In terms of the cycle of time as measured by the church tomorrow is Epiphany. Now is the season that celebrates the light of Christ coming into the world. In this letter I want to reflect briefly on an experience I had while visiting in Georgia last week. Holly and I decided that on Sunday we needed to take a church field trip. This notion of a church field trip grew out of a class I took in seminary. The professor thought it important that we experience lots of the different ways Christian people worship so on a succession of summer Sundays we visited a great variety of churches. Anyway. Back to the main point. Last Sunday we decided to visit TwelveStone, the fastest growing church in the fasted growing county in Georgia. We decided to visit the main “campus” even though one of the satellite facilities was a bit closer. Campus is just the right word here. The church has beautifully landscaped 64 acre space that includes worship and education facilities, even a Starbucks, in one large building. They also have a “prayer trail” for outdoor prayer walking and other outdoor facilities. The main worship center is a 2600 seat auditorium style space. We learned from one “greeter” that this was a low Sunday and yet that auditorium as 90% full. They have four services every Sunday, Saturday services and weekday services as well. In short TwelveStone is a mega church in every sense of the word.

I will say that for me, because church growth is one of my central concerns, a question arose. What are these people doing? Certainly there is a clue in that notion that Gwinnett county, a suburban county close to Atlanta, is experiencing great population growth. It takes a big population to support that kind of growth. Still, is there something to be learned here? I think there is.

It was clearly obvious to me that this church is quite intentionally doing a great many of the things that church growth experts suggest are important. They do a lot of very effective advertising using a variety of media. On entering the building a visitor is greeted by lay members of the church who have clearly had some education about greeting and helping people feel comfortable. The woman who stepped up to greet us made a real effort to learn our names and use them. She asked questions that expressed her interest in us. She made a point to learn what we needed for information about the church, the worship, and, because we had Robert with us, childcare. She walked us upstairs to the childcare center and helped us get settled. there. She offered coffee (TwelveStone serves 200 gallons of free coffee every Sunday) and showed us where to find restrooms. She didn’t leave until she was sure we were comfortable and could find our way around. That was impressive in itself. It was also clear throughout the visit that TwelveStone makes good use of technology to help people get and stay connected with the church. Because the church is so large there are a variety of small groups to fit the needs of the members. And, after asking for our addresses, they do some intentional follow-up.

But let’s go a little deeper here. I was impressed with the obvious focus on spiritual growth. There is an expectation that members desire that spiritual growth (research, in fact, backs that expectation up). The sermon focused on practical ways people could grow spiritually. The pastor’s first point was that prayer is always important. It was clear to me that he paired praying with Bible study and that prayer, rather than being a litany of requests to G-d involved a good deal of listening for what G-d has to say. A vital prayer life leads on into service. I heard a strong focus on lay ministry. They have a variety of groups that help people get involved with various service opportunities. TwelveStone seeks to meet a variety of needs in the surrounding communities. The last point in the pastor’s sermon involved the idea of inviting others to TwelveStone. Members are encouraged to invite others and there are opportunities to learn how to invite others. The pastor was clear that when a member is praying and serving their spiritual growth will lead them to invite other to share the good thing they have found. He stressed inviting friends who don’t have a church. He noted that many people might say,” well, I don’t have friends who don’t have a church”. His response, “Go make some. It’s not hard. Lots of people have no church”. I love that, and I know it to be true.

We don’t live in an area of high population growth but we most assuredly have people who have no church all around us. We most assuredly have people with deep needs both physical and spiritual all around us. And, yes, we do need to be growing spiritually every day. There is a potential for growth here as there is anywhere. Meanwhile it is Epiphany when we celebrate the light of Christ coming into the world. That’s our job as Christian people, to bring Christ’s light into the world around us. And we have so many gifts to offer.

I pray that each of you may be blessed by an awareness of God’s gifts even while you are pushed by God to find holy uses for those gifts.

Blessings,
Mother Carol Ann

“May Christ, the Son of God, be manifest in you, that your lives may be a light to the world; and the blessing of God Almighty, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you , and remain with you always.” Amen (Seasonal Blessing for Epiphany from The Book of Occasional Services.)

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Social Media Feature: Advent Photo-A-Day

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Long story short, I came across the Advent Photo-A-Day challenge cruising through Twitter where I follow ChurchSocMed #chsocm. This photo challenge was focusing on Advent and is sponsored by ReThinkChurch.

I’ve seen these photo challenges before and always thought they sounded fun. Luckily for me I serve on the communications committee at St. Augustine’s, Elkhorn and I spoke with another committee member about the possibility of doing this at St. Augustine’s. My co-committee member launched the challenge via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/221312724715623/), setting it up as an event. We invited Facebook friends to join the event and have 13 people participating at St. Augustine’s.

The cool thing about social media is the way information spreads. Now I am seeing friends from across the diocese and beyond, as well the group from my parish participating in the daily photo challenge.

I’ve been pretty inspired by some of the photos and their descriptions that people are posting. It never fails that someone else interprets the daily word in a way different manner than I do and so it is stretching my thoughts and understanding.

If you would like to join along all you have to do is visit ReThink Church on Facebook and get the daily word schedule and then start taking pictures and posting! They encourage the use of the their #ReThinkChurch hashtag if you are sharing your photos on Twitter or Facebook!

– Noelle Ptomey

 

P.S. If you’re not a friend of St. Augustine’s on Facebook, come like our page!  https://www.facebook.com/st.augustine.omaha

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St. Nicholas Visits St. Mary’s and the Blair Sugar Plum Festival

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Members of St. Mary’s Parish in Blair participated in the Sugar Plum Festival on Thursday, November 21 along with special guest, Deacon Wes Agar as St. Nicholas.  The Sugar Plum Festival is an annual event in the Blair community taking place the Thursday prior to Thanksgiving throughout the downtown business district.  It is a community wide celebration intended to ring in the upcoming holiday season.  Children and their families visit business, organizations, and churches throughout downtown Blair and receive goodies and information regarding each participant.  St. Mary’s parishioners handed out candy canes along with postcards containing a story about the candy cane’s history as well as parish related information; Deacon Wes Agar of course passed out golden chocolate coins with a song about the tradition of St. Nicholas.  The festival normally brings out approximately 850-1000 Blair residents; it was a very successful and fun evening spreading the Love and Word of God!

 

 

 

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Gracie Coon, Judson Cloudt, Deacon Wes Agar (aka St. Nicholas) and Logan Thallas as the Grinch

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Nicole Cloudt and Deacon Wes Agar

Thanks to the Blair Chamber of Commerce for the photos below!

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DEO–Open for Prayer

Deacon Kim Roberts and the pink DEO sign

Deacon Kim Roberts and the pink DEO sign

Around lunchtime on Tuesdays, a bright pink sign appears on the sidewalk outside Trinity Cathedral: “DEO–Open for prayer”.

DEO stands for Downtown Episcopal Outreach, a ministry housed at Trinity Cathedral but staffed by people from several parishes.

There are two components to DEO. The less visible component that runs throughout the week quietly provides funds to people in need through partner agencies.   If, for example, a guest at Siena Francis House needs a prescription filled or a bus ticket to get to a new job, DEO could pay for that need. This part of the program helps us meet the needs of people who have been vetted by professionals who can assure us that the need is real.

The more visible component is what DEO does on Tuesdays.  When the pink sign goes out, DEO gathers for a simple Eucharist or noonday prayer. Guests can get out of the weather and join us in prayer or simply rest.

DEO provides space for prayer, people to talk with or pray with, reading material, help connecting with agencies that can meet specific needs, and refreshments. Small travel bags of nonperishable food go with guests.

Michael Duffy from Trinity Cathedral, co-ordinator of the DEO team, rosters volunteers in to serve monthly or quarterly, though a core group serves more often.  Come see what DEO is doing on a Tuesday, and talk to Michael if you feel pulled to be part of this ministry.

– Betsy Blake Bennett

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Christ’s Welcome at Heartland Pride Fest 2013

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Members and clergy from seven local parishes share Christ’s message of welcome at the Heartland Pride Parade

Saturday, June 22, dozens of Episcopalians from numerous Nebraska parishes gathered amidst a sea of rainbows in downtown Council Bluffs to march in the Heartland Pride Parade. The spirit was joyful and upbeat as faithful laity and clergy marched to extend the Episcopal Church’s welcome to the GLBT community and their allies. It was apparent from this group that welcome, like God’s grace, is so much more than a word.

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Members and clergy from seven local parishes share Christ’s message
of welcome at the Heartland Pride Parade
Kicking off this grand event on Thursday, June 20, Fr. Jason Emerson (Church of the Resurrection, Omaha) and Fr. Randy Goeke (Church of Saint Mary in the Sandhills, Bassett) participated in an interfaith candlelight prayer vigil in Stinson Park. The prayers and Fr. Jason’s sermon there brought to awareness the great resource faith and prayer can and need to be in standing in solidarity with those who are victims of bullying, discrimination and hate.

Both Friday and Saturday (June 21 and 22) members of the newly formed Nebraska Chapter of Integrity, gave out free bottles of water, “anointed” the hot and weary with sun screen, and shared their stories of the Episcopal Church’s welcome of GLBT folks during Heartland Pride’s fair held in Stinson Park. The response of those seekers stopping by Integrity’s booth was overwhelmingly positive. Numerous parish lists and literature about our wonderful old church were given out to the very colorful crowd. Thanks to Bishop Barker and all the clergy and laity who helped make this important witness a reality.

Fr. Randy Goeke

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VBS at St. Elizabeth’s Holdrege Serves Over 100

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July 19 started a wild week at St. Elizabeth’s in Holdrege as Vacation Bible School began. St. Elizabeth’s and Spirit of Grace Lutheran combined to host Kingdom Rock – a bible school that helped all of us know that our strength in God will help us conquer whatever life brings us. The Bible School was open to all and we had 38 participants (including helpers) and many adult volunteers. The participants represented 5 area churches and some who did not have a church affiliation. It was a great week with lots of singing, lots of games and activities, and bible stories. The week ended with a barbeque open to all families and friends. We served over 100 people. The kids ended their week with water balloons and sponge relay games!
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