THE RECTOR'S MESSAGE Wednesday, 12 August 2020
Included in today's update: A Message from Father Keith, Thanks and a Message from Guatemala, Fresh Produce & Recipes Needed, and a Prayer & Psalm for the Week
FROM THE RECTOR
Wednesday, 12 August 2020
In the aftermath of several deaths and funerals over the past few weeks, yesterday was a welcome respite and uplifting occasion. I officiated at a wedding. The bride and groom, both in their mid-60's, had known each other several years ago, but drifted apart; then reconnected through a chance encounter at the North Wales Post Office. It was a small gathering in the couple's backyard, the smallest wedding I had ever attended, only seven of us being invited. But the joy and the love and the happiness was every bit as evident and abundant as any wedding I have ever witnessed. It was a truly glorious day!
With all that has occupied my time and thoughts over the past couple of weeks, coupled with the circumstances that continue to grasp our nation, I was caught by, and heard with new ears, the words of the final petition of the Prayers of the People contained in the marriage service:
Grant that the bonds of our common humanity, by which all your children are united one to another, and the living to the dead, may be so transformed by your grace, that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven; where, O Father, with your Son and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign in perfect unity, now and forever. Amen.
We are truly - in all ways - "all in this together".
In the name of our Savior Jesus Christ,
and our God who wants only health and wholeness for his children,
I send you blessings, peace and grace in these uncertain, confusing and anxious times.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED
TO THE GUATEMALAN FOOD APPEAL
Many of you contributed quite generously to the appeal for funds to provide desperately-needed food to the poorest of our neighbors in our companion diocese of Guatemala. Your generosity allowed us to send over $1,500 to distribute food baskets to those in need living in and around the ancient capital of Antigua, where $20 will provide food that will feed a family for a week. This message came from Angela and Miguel, two of the missionaries who managed the distribution:
"God provides!! Since we started delivering food bags in April, we've been able to bless 152 families so far! That's an estimate of over 760 people!! This wouldn't be possible without God's guidance, our faithful donors and y'all's prayers, so thank you guys!! We share this victory with you . . . "
GUATEMALAN COFFEE ORDERS SUPPORTS TREE4HOPE GIRLS SCHOOL
Each week, since Messiah's Guatemalan Mission Team returned in January, we have included in our Sunday prayers a new ministry project we were introduced to during our trip. Tree4Hope Girls School, located just outside Antigua is affiliated with our companion parish of St. Alban's, has undertaken the mission of providing quality education to the young women of Guatemala. Numerous studies and experience has proven that the quickest way to improve and upgrade the society of a nation is to educate its women, and Tree4Hope is fulfilling that role in a society where many girls never receive the opportunity for an education beyond the early grades.
The school has now partnered with a consortium of small, independent, women-owned coffee growers. The Director of the School writes: "Our non-profit, Tree4Hope, just partnered with Chica Bean, and amazing female run coffee production company in Guatemala. Order a bag now at Chica Bean Coffee with our coupon code - "tree4hope" - and not only will you get delicious Guatemalan coffee delivered right to your door, but $4 of your purchase will come back to support our ongoing work!"
Learn more about Chica Bean on their website where you will be introduced to these women farmers, but will also learn more about their mission to empower and support women, and read this about their endeavor: "Specialty Coffee That Changes Communities: Chica Bean prides itself as a specialty coffee that inspires. We create an incredible coffee that gets its quality and flavor from a combination of the ideal conditions in which it's grown and the precise and powerful women who produce it. We are relentless in our pursuit of delivering perfect coffee through the empowerment of women." Chicha Bean Coffee
Members of the Mission Team toured a coffee plantation and processing plant and can attest to the exceptional quality and flavor of Guatemalan coffee. Join me in ordering a few bags and support both the families of the women farmers and the education of the country's young women.
Doña Maritza - Chica Bean Coffee
FRESH PRODUCE FOR MANNA ON MAIN STREET
One of Messiah's parishioners has undertaken a new ministry of providing fresh corn on the cob from a farm market to Manna on Main Street for distribution to clients, along with using it in their meal program. Twice each week - on Mondays and Thursdays - the corn is brought here to Messiah, then later in the day I deliver it to Manna. They are delighted to receive it, allowing them to supplement the canned and non-perishable goods they normally give out.
This has gotten me thinking . . . At this time of year, with so much fresh vegetables and fruit available at quite reasonable prices, why don't we make it a Messiah mission to provide fresh produce to those in need within our community? Too many zucchini or tomatoes in your garden? Bring them to the church. See a good deal on fresh green beans or cucumbers or lettuce? Pick up an extra pound or two and bring them to the church. These will be added to the donation and delivered each Monday and Thursday afternoon.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN COOKING OR BAKING?
WILL YOU SHARE YOUR RECIPES, PLEASE?
News reports have carried several stories about how, with restaurants being closed or reduced to carry-out only, and with more time available to many of us, lots of us have been cooking meals at home or (re)discovering the joys of baking. I have even heard that the country has baked ourselves into a shortage of flour, sugar and other baking needs! And the empty grocery shelves and rationing bears this out.
I'm sure lots of old favorites and comfort foods have been prepared in most of our homes, as well as some experimenting with new recipes and new techniques you have long wanted to try your hand at. That got Barbara Stevenson and me thinking: What about collecting all those old and new recipes into a Messiah edition of a "Quarantine CookBook"?
We would love to include at least one recipe from every Messiah household! Send your recipes to either: Barbara Stevenson - email@example.com; or to me - firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then work to organize your submissions, and make the cookbook available to all of you.
SUNDAY WORSHIP CONTINUES ON THE WEBSITE
Videos of Sunday worship services will continue to be posted to the parish website for the duration of the suspension of church services. Each Saturday, you will receive the psalm and words of the responses and other communal parts of the service, allowing you to fully participate and interact in the worship service.
So get that second cup of coffee, still in your pajamas and bathrobe, and gather together
in front of the computer or iPad or other other device . . . Then join with me and other members of Messiah as we worship together virtually, until we can once again worship together in person.
A PRAYER & PSALM FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
A Prayer for Today:
O God, Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
And make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
In the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
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Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked; *
nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
Their delight is in the law of the Lord, *
and they meditate on the law day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.
It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.