All Saints Messenger

All Saints Messenger - June 22, 2017

posted by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for Thursday, June 22

Luke 21:2-3 [Jesus] also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.

I sometimes teach Flannery O'Connor's story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" in my literature classes. The grandmother in the story is racist, classist, and manipulative throughout the story, but at the end her "head clear[s] for an instant," and she sees that she and "the Misfit" character are part of the same human family. Unfortunately, her post-conversion life lasts only a few seconds before "the Misfit" kills her. At its core, the story is about a person who desperately needed to change and did; the quantified time after her change isn't important when compared to the essence of that change.
In our gospel story for today, the widow's two small copper coins make a similar point. The widow cannot offset a shortfall of the temple budget, but Jesus applauds the quality of her gift. God is interested in our souls expanding and our hearts becoming softer and more generous. These changes might not fill coffers or give us length of days, but when our souls expand, we experience the profound reality of being created in God's image, and the kingdom of God comes near.

MOVING FORWARD: How is the dance between quantity and quality going in your life? Are there any adjustments that need to be made?

June 15, 2017

posted Jun 15, 2017, 11:56 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for Thursday, June 15

Psalm 71:2 In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; incline your ear to me and save me.

Some years ago, our new assistant priest, Father Mario, made a hospital visit to a Jamaican woman who was not recovering well from surgery. He paid his visit at night, when things were quiet. Days had passed since this woman's surgery, and she still had no appetite. As they talked about their respective homes-Jamaica for her and Cuba for him-he asked what her family would be bringing her to eat if she were home. She said, "Fresh oranges." He said, "Wait for me. I'll be back."

Father Mario drove to a grocery store and purchased six oranges and a knife. Back in her hospital room, he peeled the oranges and described how his grandfather in Cuba taught him to peel oranges without tearing the membrane. Father Mario listened to her-and the woman began to recover. She ate two oranges that night and had a supply for the next day.

When we take the time to listen deeply, being sensitive to what a hurting person is saying or not saying, we may find that we are able to soothe broken bodies and broken hearts. God has given us to each other just for this reason.

MOVING FORWARD: Who has listened to you deeply and helped set you free? Write them a note or give them a call and offer your thanks.

All Saints Messenger June 8, 2017

posted Jun 8, 2017, 10:44 AM by Church Secretary   [ updated Jun 11, 2017, 9:25 PM by John Woodward ]

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for Thursday, June 8

2 Corinthians 8:1-2 We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

My friend tells the story of one Thanksgiving during her childhood when she asked her mother for a can of food for her school's holiday food drive. The day before Thanksgiving, a car pulled up to her house, and a man brought a box to the door. My friend recognized the slightly dented can in their box-the can she had taken to school to donate. She realized for the first time in her life that her family was poor.

My friend learned lessons about generosity and became a nurse, a mental health therapist, and an Episcopal priest. She has driven miles to come and pray with me, and she also does missionary work in Honduras.

Poverty of material wealth and poverty of spirit are sometimes confused with each other. My friend and Paul's friends in Macedonia understand that our poverty can become a channel for God's great abundance.

MOVING FORWARD: Food pantries received many donations at Thanksgiving and Christmas time, but hunger knows no holiday. Donate some nonperishable items to your local food pantry today.

All Saints Messenger - June 1, 2017

posted Jun 1, 2017, 11:44 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for THURSDAY, June 1

Psalm 105:5  Remember the marvels he has done, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth.

Last summer my husband and I spent a night on Loch Lomond in Scotland. I was outside the restaurant where we had dinner, taking a picture of a rainbow over the lake, when a young woman hurried out to take the same photo. In the brief moment we shared, she told me, "I lost my son five years ago, and whenever I see a rainbow, it reminds me there is still hope." She snapped her picture and returned to the dining room.
The woman became another on my list of inspiring people who have dealt with agonizing loss and who have chosen to remember, along with the pain, the wonderful things God has done. Many times I drift into a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" mode. I can forget that choosing to remember "consolation" as well as "desolation" (to use Ignatian terms) is key to spiritual and psychological health.

Anne Lamott's book  Help, Thanks, Wow, reminds us to rejoice in the rainbows along with honoring our grief by praying through both kinds of things. The psalmist offers wise counsel, "Remember the marvels he has done."

MOVING FORWARD: Keep a list of your "Help! Thanks! Wow!" moments. Use them during your evening prayer time.

All Saints Messenger - May 25, 2017

posted Jun 1, 2017, 11:42 AM by Church Secretary   [ updated Jun 1, 2017, 11:43 AM ]

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Greetings in the Name of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ,

Today is the Feast of the Ascension. It is the day we remember when the risen Christ is taken into heaven after appearing to his followers for forty days. The Ascension marks the conclusion of Jesus' post resurrection appearances. It is the final elevation of his human nature to divine glory and the near presence of God. The Ascension is affirmed by the Nicene and Apostle's Creeds. The Ascension is listed as one of the seven Principal Feasts in The Episcopal Church along with Easter, Pentecost Sunday, Trinity Sunday, All Saints Day, Christmas Day and The Epiphany.

Most Episcopal Churches do not celebrate Ascension on Thursday so the celebration is moved or "slides" to the following Sunday. This "sliding" recalls for me our human forgetfulness to recognize all that is good, not only in our lives but also in our parishes. We just don't say thank you enough and recognize and affirm the wonderful "extras" that are needed to make All Saints work smoothly.

Two weeks ago I was in Atlanta with our Bishop attending a workshop put on by The College of Bishops about better utilization of our resources. One of the things they emphasized is that, as a church, we don't recognize and thank all those who give of their time, talent and treasure. We are to continuously thank people for their gifts to All Saints.

So I want to take this opportunity to thank the following: Our Vestry; our Altar Guild; our Deacons; our Parish Administrator; our Godly Play coordinator and teachers; our choir; our musicians; our children who serve and bring smiles; our Outreach coordinators; our Pastoral Care coordinators; our Towel Ministry team; our Acolytes, Servers, Readers and Chalicists; our Greeters & Ushers, our Building & Grounds people; our Breadmakers, our birthday card team; our Eucharistic Visitors; our Sound Technicians; our web presence technician; our Morningside ministers and musicians; our Salvation Army & Cornerstone cooks and serving teams; our Coffee Hour coordinator and hosts; our Treasurer; our SOCKS coordinator; our Parish nurses; our Crisis Assistance Ministry (CAM) Coordinator; our financial advisor and pledge coordinator; our collection counters; our Garden coordinator and weeders; our Backpack Ministry folks who pick up, pack and deliver; our Family Promise Coordinators; our handbell choir; our EfM facilitators; our childcare person; our Director of Music Ministries; our finance committee; our Bereavement Committee; our Shepherds; our Pacesetters; our Wedding Coordinator; our 1 st Sunday Breakfast Coordinator; our 3 rd Sunday Parish Lunch coordinator and cooks and clean up folks; our Last Friday Gathering coordinators; our Facebook page coordinator and whew...I'm sure I forgot someone and some ministry and if I did please tell me.  It's important that we recognize all the good work they do for God's Kingdom.

You can tell by this list that there are so many things happening here as well as the normal things that need to be done and we could not be successful without them and you. If you see something that you feel called to, ask one of us and we will put you in touch with the coordinator. Also, use the list as a reminder for your prayers. We are all in this together following Jesus' lead to love and serve the Lord in our little corner of God's Kingdom.

See ya Sunday!

Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - May 18, 2017

posted May 22, 2017, 11:16 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the Name of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ,

Commandments! Commandments! Commandments!  Can't live with 'em; can't live without 'em. At least as Christians we can't. Many of us do not love obeying orders or following rules. But that is often because we have lived our whole lives accountable to one authority figure or another, bound by some code of conduct or governing principle. For many of us, it is impossible to imagine life without such structure. But it only takes one moment of pure chaos--a car wreck, a robbery, a terrorist attack or a dysfunctional government--for us to appreciate the commandments our forebears put in place to protect us. Now imagine if those commandments were handed down not from corruptible people but from Jesus himself! Learning to love keeping such commandments is a little more realistic. Jesus says, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments".

Loving Jesus is learning to love to do what Jesus does and what he commands us to do. We know it is not easy but it is so life a fountain of living water.

God of love, teach us to love you more fully-to love enough even to keep your commandments. Help us to love to do what you command not only when we feel adrift and in need of order but even when we feel confident and in command of our surroundings. In Jesus' loving name. Amen.

See ya Sunday (@ Rankin Lake)

Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - May 11, 2017

posted May 11, 2017, 11:51 AM by Church Secretary

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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for 


Luke 6:43-44 No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.

We worked hard to prune three mature trees next to our house. One has fruit, one has leaves but no fruit, and one is completely bare. I cannot say whether or not any of our trees started out as "bad trees" or "good trees," but I can say that they have all suffered neglect. For nearly a decade, they had been left to their own devices, growing without any sort of pruning or attention.

When we finally took the time to prune, I wondered what sort of good treasure these trees would have offered if they had been better tended. I wonder about my own fruit, about my own heart. I ponder what vines, diseases, and behaviors I have neglected to root out, cut back, weed out, and I resolve to tend to all-the trees, my relationships, and my heart-with greater care, giving us all a chance to bear good fruit.

MOVING FORWARD: Take a walk around your home today. What needs to be pruned, cleaned up, or tidied to ensure a fruitful season ahead?

All Saints Messenger - May 4, 2017

posted May 11, 2017, 11:40 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Having just returned from an Alumni Council meeting in Sewanee and reading the passage from John for this Sunday brought to mind a classmate of mine. He graduated seminary with all of us but he decided to stay in Sewanee and not seek ordination because Sewanee had become a great place of growth and transformation for him. He had become contemplative and listened to the Spirit in new, exciting and different ways.

My classmate stayed, got married, and built a sheep farm. Chris & I (sometimes Emma) stay with him and his bride once in a while when we return and stay in a small apartment above the shed and art studio. We often wake up to the sound of his voice calling the sheep as he and his faithful sheep dog command them to move through the pasture. It is a special sight and experience. What was amazing was how he could easily call the sheep in and lead them where he needed them to go. Chris, Emma & I often laugh about the times our friend let us try to call them as the sheep ignored us.

Our gospel reading says, "When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice." What does it look like in your faith-filled life to listen to the voice of the shepherd? Where are you following this shepherd? Where are you being led in your life of faith--for the sake of the kingdom here and among us?

Faithful God, open our ears that we may hear the voice of the great shepherd and follow as we are led into greater faith and greater opportunities to proclaim the name of Jesus. Amen.

See ya Sunday! 
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - April 27, 2017

posted Apr 27, 2017, 12:31 PM by Church Secretary

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

This Sunday we hear from The Gospel of Luke the wonderful story about the disciples on the Road to Emmaus. For many of us here at All Saints just the word Emmaus may conjure up memories of a Cursillo Weekend because our Methodist brothers and sisters use Emmaus instead of Cursillo for their weekends of transformation and new learning.

Just like the disciples on the road, all of us are moved from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence and hopefully, if we are open to new learning we move to conscious competence. For the disciples on the Road to Emmaus their conscious competence came when Jesus said the prayers and broke the bread in their presence.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus: "their eyes were kept from recognizing him." They were disheartened because they had hoped this man Jesus they followed was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And now here Christ was right in their midst and they did not know it was him. Sometimes God is active in our daily lives and we do not even know or recognize it. We can sometimes get so caught up in the destination that we don't stop and see God's presence right in front of us in our lives. But when we pause to look back on our lives and reflect, sometimes we are able to recognize where and when God was present--that chance meeting in a coffee shop, that phone call we received, that turn in the road we made. When was a time in your life you felt God was especially present or active or so close to you that you could reach out and touch him?

Present God, we give thanks that you walk along the road of life with each of us. Help us recognize your presence. Amen.

See ya Sunday! 
Fr. Gary+

All Saints Messenger - April 20, 2017

posted Apr 20, 2017, 10:01 AM by Church Secretary

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Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
What a glorious Holy Week & Easter Sunday. We journeyed with Christ through his week of betrayal and death and hears about salvation history and coming into the light at the Great Easter Vigil. Easter morning saw baloons, joyous music, numerous Alleluias and so many smiles and so much joy.

The challenge now for all of us is maintaining that joy and remembering to let Jesus Easter in us! To live this time, really the rest of our lives, with the resurrected Jesus in our souls, selves and bodies. Such a challenge and one not just unique to us in America in the 21st Century. The disciples, just a few days after Jesus' resurrection struggled with the same thing.

The disciples were huddled in fear. Their rabbi had been executed. Surely questions lingered among them as to whether they too might be handed over to the authorities. That evening the risen Lord appeared in their midst and showed them the wounds in his hands and side. The disciples saw firsthand the wounds inflicted by humanity upon God's Son. God's response to the horrible events of Good Friday stood before them--the resurrection of the Son. Christ's first words to the disciples are ones of peace and forgiveness. Just as Easter brings new life, so also forgiveness brings new life. Forgiveness is the contemporary equivalent of the resurrection of the dead. Christ appears to the disciples bestowing upon them a new commission. Just as he himself is raised, Christ authorizes his followers to raise fellow believers from the dead by speaking these words, "I forgive you your sins for Christ's sake."

God of peace, forgive my sins as I forgive the sins of others. Make me a witness to your sacrificial love to those I meet today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

See ya Sunday! 
Fr. Gary+

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