Church of the Nativity
WORSHIP SERVICES Saturdays 5:00 PM
Holy Eucharist Sundays
V O L U M E
Holy Eucharist with Sunday School and Nursery Care
Inside this issue:
A Message from Eletha
A Prayer for the Transition Report of the Search Committee Blessings of Animals Prayer Ministry Outreach Ministry Youth October Quiet Day Thank you Knitting Ministry
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A MESSAGE FROM ELETHA
My spiritual director, Mary Meader is purging some of her thirty odd years of journals. But before she discards them she is rereading and remembering some very special moments of her journey. Included in her journals are comments, made by others, that had caused her to take time to reflect in the presence of God and thus glean moments of insight and awareness; some lasting, some fleeing. One of the fruitful comments was made by Bishop Tom Shaw in 1985 well before he was elected bishop. At that time Bishop Coburn, the seated bishop, decided that it would be helpful for the staff members of the Diocese to attend a retreat as they were preparing for the new bishop elect, David Johnson to take over. At this retreat Tom Shaw said, “Being a person of faith is in part not knowing, and letting things unfold…” Those words might suggest that we should be passive and simply sit back and let life happen, let it unfold. They also suggest that one should strive to acquire an attitude of acceptance and let go of the need to push against life as it unfolds and 1-2 thus to let go of the need to control the outcome. As Thich Nhat Hanh basically says in his book “Peace Is Every Step,” that it is 3 important to strive to live in the moment and not live every moment of life living in the future because when we do live in the future we miss the moment that we 3 are living. Think of the benefits such an attitude of acceptance, letting life unfold, would offer us. Our useless anxieties for tomorrows would not interfere with our today’s. We 4 have heard it before. Even the health care system continuously tries to remind us that anxiety exacts a costly toll on our bodies, minds and spirits and on the health 5 care system. Anxiety about what tomorrow will bring, what it might cost us per5 sonally, what might change in us, around us, about us, is not helpful for our well being. Even Jesus said something about it. He said, “…do not worry about what 6 tomorrow will bring…” 7 Actually, anxiety colors our waking moments with hues of gray some gray tones 7 1 darker than others. Some so dark that they blur our vision and make us blind to the very moment we are living. I have heard others say (thank goodness I am not alone in this experience) that they have gone from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and do not remember how they got there. Sometimes those two points were miles away. Their anxiety about ‘something’ blurred their vision of the moment. Can you just image what it would be like living without anxiety? We wouldn’t have to worry about how we are going to feel if and when something will happen, (Continued on Page 2)
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worry about how we are going to respond, or even worry about how others will react to our response. If we are not worried about ourselves, we do not have worry about someone else. I admire Jesus, Bishop Tom, Thich Nahat Hanh and others who have not only striven for this way of being, but also live it many moments in their lives. I admire it especially when my anxiety takes over. I am sure that you all have observed how at times I feel like the lioness anxiously and attentively ready to punch with the slightest movement of life. As the lioness I anticipate that something will move; something will happen. For me sometimes life events demand an immediate response and I feel the tension to be ready to do so. Of course, my tension translates into anxiety. When I read Jesus’ comments about worrying about tomorrow I can’t help but think, ‘You must be kidding Lord.’ But Jesus wasn’t kidding. Our anxieties, our worries will not change our tomorrows. Life will unfold. But what our anxieties will change is the quality of our present life. As Jesus said, the anxiety is not going to add to the quantity, it just might make it less. ‘Being a person of faith is in part not knowing, and letting things unfold…’ It is about taking the time to notice and appreciate the present moment, seeing it clearly and not through a color gray that takes away its luster that being, worrying about the future. It is about letting God in, letting God walk with us, and trusting that as life unfolds God will be with us. It is living in the moment knowing that as St. Paul said, “That nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” It is a matter of getting one’s priorities straight – God or anxiety about the future. Let’s see which one is life-giving and which one is life-taking? Well that one is easy. Choosing to trust God over anxiety is without a doubt life-giving. Now this lioness would like very much to remember Jesus, Bishop Tom, Thich Nahat Hanh words of wisdom to increase the quality of life today. I am certainly going to try and if and when I falter, please feel free to remind me of their words of wisdom and isn’t it wonderful that when we remind someone else about something we remind ourselves as well. Peace in this moment in God’s presence. eletha
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A PRAYER FOR THE TIME OF TRANSITION Almighty God, Creator of all we are, all we have and all we can be: We thank you for the many ways you have protected and inspired us throughout Nativity’s history. Open our hearts and minds to the guidance of the Holy Spirit So that, working together, we will use our gifts to further your mission during this time of transition; in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.
REPORT OF THE SEARCH COMMITTEE The Search committee, made up of ten parishioners, has been meeting bi-weekly since the end of July. We have been getting to know each other, understanding our personal philosophies and discussing potential topics and questions for when we interview candidates. Some of our questions have been influenced by the results of the Holy Cow survey that the parish participated in. Our job will officially begin when the profile committee and vestry agree that the data gathered is representative of our parish and is ready to be “published “ in the national database that the Episcopal church uses , similar to “Monster.com”. We have met a couple of times jointly with the Profile committee and also with the Vestry, so we can understand the information that has been collected, which will be the basis of our “search”. We have also met with Canon Rich Simpson from the Western Mass Diocesen Office of Transition Ministry. Canon Simpson stressed the importance of our vow of confidentiality as members of the search committee. We respectfully ask that the members of the congregation not ask specifics of us, such as “how many candidates”, “where are they from”, etc., as we are held to this confidentiality vow. The Search committee is committed to communicating the process of the search as it unfolds. Members of the search committee are Cathy Washburn, Deb Hesek, Matthew Beach, Peg Wolcott, Willie Terwedow, Jim Baker, Jean Bruce, Sue Gelles, Mary Frances Rozak and Becky Mangus.
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BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS - OCTOBER 4
On Saturday October 3 and Sunday October 4 a Blessing of the Animals was features at each of our services. People were invited to bring a picture of their pets, a favorite stuffed animal, or a live animal to worship. Each received a special blessing by the clergy. The variety of animals included dogs, cats, an iguana, guinea pigs, birds and others. Rev. Eletha also spent some time the previous week blessing the animals in our Nativity Community Pre-School to the delight of the children and parents.
PRAYER MINISTRY The members of the Prayer Ministry, including Eletha, convened on November 1, after a lengthy hiatus, to reconnect ourselves, our ministry goals and our personal needs and visions for the ministry. A number of exciting ideas and initiatives were discussed, that will require more prayer and planning, but one important offering surfaced that can be implemented immediately. That offering is the availability and willingness of the Prayer Ministry to partner with other Nativity ministries in praying Gods protection and blessing over their ministry goals and group. Recognizing the challenges and blessings with our church transition and offering support and encouragement within the church is something the Prayer Ministry is designed to do. Please know we are trained in the practice of confidentiality. Please contact Sally Kazarian at [email protected]
for with questions or prayer requests. God Bless all you set your hand to in His Name today, Cathy Washburn
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OUTREACH MINISTRY Update for October 2015 Financial support was provided by your faithful stewardship for the following organizations:
Continued support for Compassion Intl. A special thanks to the Symes, Mott, and Desilet families for their continued prayers & correspondence to our sponsored children: Luis, Nadiani & Katulinde. This donation will provide Christmas gifts for the children we sponsor.
Our Giving Tree Event raised over $1200! These funds will be used for a Christmas Celebration for the children of the Narsapur Home in India. Each child will receive a special meal complete with ice cream and a set of new clothes. Thank you Nativity for making this possible.
Financial support for the Northborough Food Pantry
Financial support for Second Saturday: a ministry from the Grace Baptist Church that completes community service projects for those in need in the local area.
Financial support for Birthday Wishes in response to their request for supplies to provide birthday parties to local homeless children
Please continue to pray for the organizations mentioned above and most importantly the people served by these organizations. Thank you & Blessings to all The Outreach Ministry
NATIVITY LIVING IN THE NOW – BEING FULLY IN THE PRESENT – YOUTH ARE THE CHURCH TODAY Beating the familiar drum … the Youth are our church today – not just tomorrow! J It’s a wonderful truth, that I know I have preached about before, but bears repeating … The young people here at Nativity, although their numbers are dwindling alarmingly, are not just ‘in storage’ or ‘ladies and gentlemen inwaiting’ for some time in the distant future. No! They are the church right now – invited to fully participate in the present. Our current interim, Eletha, certainly celebrates that as we have seen in some of the changes she has made around the altar. Our youth are being invited to serve in new and different roles right now. It’s exciting, maybe even unnerving, with incredibly powerful ripples felt throughout the parish. This is but one example of the youth being the church today, not just in the future, for if they aren’t plugged in – imperfectly, yes, but powerfully, they may never be positioned to grow into whatever wonderful roles they would fulfill eventually. How are you feeling about that? (Obviously you can answer in the privacy of your own heart as you are reading this – be honest with the Lord and listen for His response to you .) There’s a long history of people having a problem with kids ‘getting in the way’ or ‘making too much noise/mess/problems’. Perhaps the most memorable example we see in Scripture are the disciples of Jesus blocking children from Him only to be rebuked be Him with the correction: “Let the little children come to Me.” and “you (all) must become like like children to enter into the Kingdom (of heaven)”. So, what’s your theology of children vs. Jesus high view of children (He counted them when no one else did!) Does it line up with Jesus holding young people up as an example to be followed? NATIVITY SCENE
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OCTOBER QUIET DAY
The October Quiet Day here at Nativity, resuming after summer break, invited us to reflect on Jesus calling us to live ‘an abundant life’. First, we asked the question: “Are you actually living the abundant life Jesus talks about in Scripture (John 10:10)? Why or why not? What are the excuses we give as reasons not to, the circumstances we stumble over, the lack we feel that stretches out like the Grand Canyon separating us from all the God has promised? Our short morning devotional serves as a springboard, reminding ourselves, from God’s Word, of His character and actions drawn from the bottomless well of God’s love (Ephesians 3:18) “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” and how (Ephesians 3:20) “He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine” and how (James 1:5) “God gives generously to all who ask without finding fault”. This, and so many more verses in the Bible, paint a picture of a generous, good Father. Do we recognize this quality, or are we stuck in an attitude of scarcity? Some of us struggle with the whole concept of ‘abundance’ because it brings to mind what seems to be counter-intuitive to a life of service and sacrifice that God calls us to and that Jesus modeled for us while He lived here on earth. How do we hold these two seemingly opposite values in holy tension? One way we discussed was to discard the misunderstanding of God’s ‘abundance’ as something like a materialistic view, an overly-indulgent compulsive collection of possessions as status symbols – be they shoes, or cars, or houses or whatever you like to fill in the blanks to fill in the empty spaces. After our individual times of silence & solitude, break for lunch and return for afternoon devotional, we considered the flip side of this spiritual coin of abundance – namely serving in abundance, once again concentrating on the focused definition and examples of abundance of Holy Spirit power, looking toward abundance in spiritual harvest along with abundance of joy found in joining with God in His mission and vision for us and for our church, neighbors, wider community and indeed the whole world. Whew! Overwhelming?! Yes, unless you count on – fully rely on, yielded and surrendered, plugged into unlimited Holy Spirit power source . As long as we don’t act in our own puny power, as long as we don’t rely on our meager resources, as long as are responding to the command and promise Jesus gave His followers “to do even more than He did” – Wow! Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But Jesus told His friends, before He ascended into heaven, that is was “far better” that He leave (which must have astounded them) because He would send them the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and empower them. (Acts 1:1-8) Generosity in giving is linked into our view of our generous God. He tells us we can try Him and He will never fail. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour so much blessing that you will not have enough room to hold it.” (Malachi 3:10) The problem is not “will there be enough?” rather the opposite – we won’t be able to contain all God, the Giver of all good gifts (James 1:17) longs to lavish us with over and over and over again. How to respond? “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) By Maureen Desilets
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THANK YOU by Cindy Loverin Here I am as I was taken to the ambulance after my fall at the altar on August 23. What an exit! The choir kept on singing, and the final prayers and hymn continued as I left. The wonderful thing is that I received prayers for healing immediately. Two wonderful friends came to the hospital with me and drove my car to my home. After spending two weeks with my daughter in Georgetown, I returned home in need of help. So many people came to my rescue by driving me to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and grocery shopping. I even had laundry service (Thank you, Kathy). I can never thank everyone enough. But NEVER doubt that GOD WILL PROVIDE especially through the wonderful community of Nativity. Blessings.
KNITTING MINISTRY by Bette Ann Whynot One of the ministries here at Nativity is the Prayer Shawl Ministry which meets regularly as a group to create beautiful shawls which are completed prayerfully at home. These shawls are available to comfort anyone in need. They are usualy presented to someone who is ill, grieving, or who just needs a blessing. Each shawl has a label with this prayer: “May this gift knit for you with love by Nativity’s Caring Hands be a mantle and sign of God’s healing presence, May it warm you when you are weary; May it surround you with ease in your suffering,; May it comfort you when you are alone; may it remind you of God’s abiding love. In Jesus name, Amen” A rack has been set up in the narthex with shawls available for you to take. Please remove the attached card and put it in the envelope provided. If you are interested in learning more about this ministry and possibly becoming part of this group, please contact Bette Ann Whynot or Marjorie Carlson. In addition to making shawls we are also knitting or crocheting neck warmers, scarves and mittens for the Worcester Fellowship Ministry.
THOUGHTS ABOUT STEWARDSHIP A checkbook is a theological document; it will tell you who and what you worship. Billy Graham
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NOVEMBER 10 Vestry Meeting
12 Quiet Day
11 Veterans Day
14 Vestry Meeting
14 Ouiet Day
19 Living Nativity
24 Christmas Eve Services: 4, 8, 11 PM