All Saints Messenger


All Saints Messenger - October 4, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:44 AM by Church Secretary

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Dear All Saints Family,

I am excited that Father Walter Bryan will begin his time with us this Sunday. I also wanted to let you know that there is a poster in the Family Life Center that shows the step by step process the Diocese will help us with as we move towards the next chapter in our Parish. Please remember to support each other and if you have concerns please let myself, a vestry member, or a deacon know. I know that God has wonderful things ahead for All Saints, as we keep Jesus Christ the center of our focus during this time of change.
 
Jeremiah 29: 11 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
 
Lee Wells,
Senior Warden

All Saints Messenger - September 27, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:43 AM by Church Secretary

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Hello All Saints Family,

            I know all of us are having mixed emotions as we begin a time of transition. It is my goal as Senior Warden to keep everyone updated on where we are as we go through the transition together.  I have spoken with Canon to the Ordinary Augusta Anderson several times. She also met with the vestry on September 20th.  Augusta's role will be to consult the vestry during this time of transition. Our first step is to find an interim priest. We will have Father Walter as supply beginning October 7th through November 25th.  Please come to me or any vestry member with any concerns or questions you may have. I am excited about what the future holds for all of us.

Lee Wells,
Senior Warden
704-718-3371

Isaiah 41:10 

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

All Saints Messenger - September 20, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:41 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Well, the time is finally here. My last Messenger communique with The People of God at All Saints. I first want to say what a wonderful honor and joy it has been to spend these last 6.5 years with you. Outside of my years at home as a toddler, adolescent, etc. this is the longest I have stayed in one place my entire life. That is because of each one of you. You have been loving, accepting, challenging, fun and supportive.

I finished my doctorate while here, Chaired Congregational Vitality, Chaired the Bishop Search Committee, paid off the debt, started new ministries, celebrated weddings, baptisms, funerals and much more. You have invited me into your lives and Christina and I thank you. As we venture into this new chapter in our live we are blessed and grateful that we got to spend time with you and All Saints.

This place is special...you live your faith by sharing the love of Christ in the community. You feed, house and support all types of people; poor, lonely, marginalized and wealthy. This place is a gift to the world. Now while all these wonderful things are true it does not mean there aren't things you can do better. Reality being what it is...that's the reason I felt called to move on. I believe we have done what can be done under my leadership. Now a new leader will come in and continue to make this place a "City on a hill radiating the love of Christ to the world." As Deacon Martha often says, "It's God's math." We don't know how it works, we just know that when we are faithful...it works!

This past Tuesday at my last Vestry meeting I read a reflection I had written. A part of it went like this: 

"I believe the following applies to both the one who is departing and the congregation who is left behind. It is an opportunity...one fraught with joy, sadness, growth, dying, rebirth. In deciding to say yes to a different "call", one we thought we discerned about carefully we soon realize that we have only successfully discerned only one appendage of the elephant in the room. We always see through a mirror dimly, even when we are face to face. On top of that, let us not forget that there is plenty of evidence that God's idea of an adventure is almost always found between a rock and a hard place. Yes, there is the parting of the Red Sea . . . which opens into a wilderness. There is the opening of the heavens, a descending dove and a voice from above . . . which is closely followed by a showdown with the devil. There is the Damascus road . . . resulting in blindness and desert dwelling. The list goes on. Perhaps it is best to assume the calling intrinsic to every move is the call to "sing the Lord's song in a foreign land." Wherever we land, there we must learn to sing.

Learn to be content, celebrating who you are, who your neighbors and parishioners are, who the interim is...it is easy to be sidetracked and focus on the less pleasurable and pleasing...it also doesn't lead to a state of contentment. Always embrace, celebrate, inhabit, welcome and practice improvisation...it leads to contentment. We're not perfect...you're not perfect, I'm not perfect. Only God Is perfect...thank God...permission to fail and fail boldly!

The story is told of Wynton Marsalis playing one of his signature trumpet solos in a jazz club in New York City. The audience was transfixed and transported as he brought the solo toward its conclusion. Then someone's cell phone went off. The cell phone violator ran for the door -- whether to take the call or to save his life is not known. About the time the crowd recovered their composure, they noticed that Marsalis, without a pause, had incorporated the cell phone jingle into his solo. And he was going with it. Then, somehow, he found the way from there to where he left off, again without missing a note. The piece was redeemed, and the performance the better for it. The art of improvisation is the footing and the fruit of contentment."

To live a life of improvisation and contentment while radiating the love of Jesus Christ is an awesome task and responsibility. I often share about our need to be counter-cultural. This is not easy, but it is what God calls us to do. All Saints is a bright light radiating to the world. Continue to do so. I will be watching and praying with you.

See ya Sunday!

With love and Blessings,
Fr. Gary+ & Chris

All Saints Messenger - September 13, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:39 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

These words from Mark 8 turn my thoughts to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His phrase "the cost of discipleship" becomes a gift from Jesus, who taught Dietrich how to resist evil with good.

The word "faith" means we are God-wrestlers. Our questions often come from Jesus, who asks, "Who do you say that I am?" We've been asking that since baptism, wrestling with the truth of what God is doing and how Christ infiltrates our living. We seek to believe and be diligent about spiritual insight. Mark 8:27-38 presents a pivot point on Jesus' walk of faith--one with a cost. It affects our faith and how we walk with Jesus.

Bonhoeffer taught during the tumultuous epoch of Nazi Germany. His faith led him to say, "The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill, because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames." Such is a commitment with a cost.

We thank you, God, for this gift of scripture, where we may read and stand as if before a mirror, locating our frailties together with a passion for following the God of peace. Amen.

**Please join us on Sunday when our Bishop will join us. Also, continue to pray for those caught in Florence's path.

See ya Sunday!

Blessings,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - September 6, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:38 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

In the reading for this Sunday from James, the author writes, "My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?"

Reading those words reminds me that I am just as guilty as most of us. We try, but it's uncomfortable, it feels different and something just makes us feel a little awkward. We really seem to value certain folks more than others. We gravitate toward those who are put together--who have more resources, aren't emotionally needy or simply won't challenge our own sense of being.

In 2006 a song was released by Bowling for Soup called "High School Never Ends." The older I get, the more I agree. As adults we still sort ourselves into categories--sports fans, wealthy, country music fans, cultural background, racial background, sexuality, political beliefs, faith background, you name it. You probably find people who are most like you to spend time with. You don't even do it on purpose--it's just easier or less awkward to hang out with people who think and act like you.

But what does God want us to do? Not play favorites. Be in relationship with those who are different. Show love to those we might not usually interact with. Not just give money to the poor, but talk with them and listen to their stories. You get the idea. I believe it's time to get uncomfortable.

Relational God, you never shy away from the tricky situations. Teach us to break out of our comfort zone, to forge relationships with those who are different. And give us the grace to try again when we fail. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Blessings,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - August 30, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:37 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Part of our reading this Sunday from Mark reads: "Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile." For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

I would like to share a story with you:  Perhaps you've heard the story of the frail old man who went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson.  The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.  The family ate together at the table.  But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult.  Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.  When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.  The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

 "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son.  "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."  So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.  There Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.  Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

 When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.  Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.  The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

 One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.  He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"  Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up."

 The four year old smiled and went back to work.  The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.  Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.  That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.  For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family.  And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

This story teaches us a number of things, 1) Children are sometimes our best teachers and 2) when we anger and become focused on our own comforts and the discomforts of others we become one with the hypocrites and Pharisees.

See ya Sunday!

Blessings,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - August 23, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:34 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

In our reading from Ephesians this week we are reminded that there is a lot to deal with in life. There is more than taxes and death, more than sickness or harassment at work, more than family struggles and having enough to eat. There are the "cosmic powers of this present darkness." There are the other gods that want to pull our faith away from Jesus, the other gods we choose to make our days feel good. Those other gods look so much better than someone crucified.

Yet only Jesus offers resurrection, mercy, forgiveness and peace with God. To deal with life, Jesus, through our Spirit-given faith in his promises, gives us his goodness to put on like our daily clothes or to take up like the tools we use at work. We wear his gifts to overcome judgment, hate, greed, jealousy and quarrelsomeness. We wear his gifts to give others hope as we tell them, "Jesus makes you good."

Loving Father, as we deal with life, give us the tools of Jesus' mercy and forgiveness, that we may use them to give peace and hope and comfort to others. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Blessings,
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - August 16, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:33 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, August 16

Psalm 105:1  Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples.

Struggling to pray sometimes-or not knowing where to begin-is a familiar experience. I have found that thanksgiving is a great place to start when I struggle in my prayer life. Reflecting on the blessings that God has given me can be like following a bread-crumb trail back to the source of those blessings. In his book,  Letters to Malcolm, theologian C.S. Lewis suggests we see blessings as the easiest path to God. As Lewis says, "The warmth of a ray of sunlight can lead us back to the source of that warmth, the sun."
  
What blessings in your life have helped lead you back to God? Does your work help you understand the ways in which God is reaching out to you? Does forgiving someone who hurt you help you better understand how God forgives us when we fall short? Does the love of your family help you better understand the love of God? 

MOVING FORWARD: If your prayers are in a slump, try letting your blessings revive your quiet time. 

All Saints Messenger - August 9, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:32 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

"Be angry but do not sin." Have you ever been  hangry--so hungry you became angry? When we are hangry, there is not enough sugar in the brain, making us rather unpleasant. Only one thing cures "hanger": food. 

Paul is talking about a different kind of anger, a spiritual anger-- spanger, if you will: a combination of spirituality and anger. It's the kind of anger that emerges when things are not as God intended them to be. There is really only one thing that cures "spanger": the truth. This is the kind of anger that demands speaking truth to injustice, lies and corrupt power. There are moments and seasons of life that call for "spanger"--and for care that our anger does not turn into hatred. "Spanger" exists because we love the world God loves, and we desire this world to be the way God created it to be.

Lord, sometimes I get angry when I think about the way things are. Teach me to love, inspire me to speak truth and guide me in your way. Amen.

See ya Sunday!

Peace
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - August 2, 2018

posted Oct 4, 2018, 11:30 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, August 2

Matthew 27:55  Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him.

When a clearly mentally ill man visited my church, many of us were afraid to approach him. A woman named Verglea took his hand and brought him up to the communion rail. Verglea and others like her are the spiritual descendants of the women in today's gospel. 
  
We should never forget that the world that Jesus lived in was very different from our own. Women were treated abhorrently-they could not own property and were often forced into marriages. They had little or no status politically or personally.

Living under such conditions often forces human beings into passive and fearful postures. But the women in Matthew's Gospel aren't defined by either of those characteristics. In fact these women, unlike the religious leaders who reject Jesus, have followed him and supported his ministry. These women hear God's voice in the message that in Christ there is no male or female. They believe, as does Verglea, that all are welcome in the kingdom of God.

MOVING FORWARD: God has blessed the church with many women who preach, preside, and serve. Are there other people you know who may not be appreciated as they should? See them today.

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