To Thine Own Self Be True!

Which is more important: how others perceive you or how you perceive yourself? Tough question! In today’s world perception seems to have become reality. Yet, you are the most important person in determining the outcome of your happiness. I say, “To thine own self be true!”

Last Sunday’s Welcome Back Picnic was another resounding success and I can’t get enough of that Blue Grass mass. As keeper of the flame, I know I flipped 120 burgers and rolled 72 hot dogs, all of which were consumed along with deviled eggs, salads and desserts brought by parishioners. Mushroom Festival parking yielded some $4,000 for our Youth Programs! Thanks to all for a job well done!

This Sunday, Jim Palic and his team will be launching this year’s Annual Canvass. The Vestry has compiled the budget requests and the goal is to raise $580,000 in pledges. This is up a little from last year and covers Advent’s basic operating costs and some strategic investments. The latter includes an expansion of our Children & Youth programs under Rev. Greg Wilson’s leadership and promoting our good works more broadly in the community. And a better sound system!

Does Advent need YOUR support? Yes! We need as many people as possible to participate so the Vestry can set a realistic budget and continue to grow this church. In the weeks to come, parishioners will “Share God’s Gifts” and testify as to how Advent has helped them. We all need to humbly listen to their stories. Pledging support is visible evidence of your commitment to Advent, which as a community will always be there to support YOU.

Also this Sunday, Tom Curry and his team will also be starting an adult forum series on end-of-life matters. Death is a part of life, just not the fun part. We need to discuss such things as wills, living wills, advanced health care directives, financial record keeping, etc. for the sake of the surviving families. It is good stewardship!

My perception is that Advent is doing well. I personally benefit from serving on the Vestry, participating in Advent events and contributing as able to our collective experience. Advent is my church – Advent is your church!

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10 ESV

Your Obedient Servant,

Collis O. Townsend

Development Warden

For Everything There is a Season

I went to my school's Back to School Night last night (I am a Teacher of the Visually Impaired for my day job). I love back to school nights. There is such a large amount of energy, anticipation, excitement, nerves...just about every emotion you can imagine. 

This year, as I was watching all these emotions running through the faces of the parents and their children, my thoughts inevitably drifted to the families in Texas. They aren't having  their back to school night, because some of them no long have a school to go to. Their lives have completely changed. 

We all experience an array of emotions when things change. Life throws changes at us in all kinds of ways: fast, slow, good, and devastating. The bottom line for change is that the life we lived is no longer. In some way, we must be different. 

It is the crux of the human condition. And there is no way around it.

The people of Texas had their lives change dramatically, terribly, and irrevocably. And the response of the people to this change will be as varied as the stories that will come out of this disaster. Some will hold their head high and charge forward. Some will be brave and do their best, and cry at night. Some will experience trauma and emotional issues.  Still others will grieve at the loss of their loved ones and homes. Some will  open their doors and hearts to help their fellow neighbors as part of a community. 

This is truly what we are called to do in order to deal with the changes that occur in our life. We are called to be part of a community. Our first order of business when we are part of a community is to reach out our hands and say "Hello, I am glad you are here." Just this act alone is healing. It helps all of us cope with the change. It empowers us, because when we feel powerless over the changes in our life, we become frightened as a natural reaction. Someone, anyone, reaching out saying hello, offering whatever they have, even if it's just a smile is comforting. This is community. This is a beginning to moving forward and hopefully realizing that ultimately, everything is going to be ok. 

The road ahead may be bumpy when things change, but the journey is always better when we all stick together, help one another, and respect each other. 

This is why I love Back to School Night- because we are all at the beginning and acknowledging that we are all very much in this together. We are with our brothers and sisters in Texas. We offer our prayers and aid as part of a larger faith community. It may not seem like much, but it is what we can offer that will be the most use. It is what Christ called us to do: 

 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give."

Matthew 10:8

Yours in Christ,

Karen Rodgers, Vestryperson

Experiences Are Worth More Than You Think

In a few weeks summer will be coming to an end, children will be going back to school or heading off to college. Summer time is generally the time most of us go on vacation or maybe we just came back. With that being said, you may be hearing a fluttering of questions like “How was your summer?”, or “What did you do this summer?” or even “You go anywhere for vacation?” Some people may have gone to the beach, camping, visiting family and some of us may have traveled to faraway places and experienced the history of different cultures, tried exotic foods or you may not have gone anywhere and just spent it with family and friends. Whatever you did or wherever you have gone, you created a MEMORY, which is really important.

We spend so much time working on plans and making them perfect, but did we take the time and reflect on the time we spent with our family or friends and the memories we’ve created with them. It’s not about the number of pictures or selfies you take. It’s about taking it all in, where you are and who you were with. We need to remember to enjoy the experiences and special moments all we can, because life is short.

Time is very precious, and it is very easy to take for granted. Slow down and take it all in, get the most out of each day that you can. I can guarantee there is going to be a time when you will be sitting around with your family or friends and someone will undoubtedly say, “Hey, do you remember the time when…?” and that’s when you will really cherish those moments that you experienced with your loved ones.

As we all fall back into our routines, let us remember that with every interaction that we have with each other every day we can create those special moments, so that one day when we look back with that person and remember that special memory, it will put a smile on our face.

“People think that experiences are only going to provide temporary happiness, but they actually provide both more happiness and more lasting value.”

Frank J. DiCamillo

Vestry Member

Mission & Discernment

Good News!

Your Outreach Committee is making a concerted effort to refresh and broaden how we, with the help of the parish, strengthen Advent’s existing programs and explore how to encourage development of new programs by parishioners.   This is all part of continuing to make Advent a vital and supportive force in our Communities.  We use the word Communities referring to those within our parish, within our local neighborhoods and municipalities, as well as within our Diocese of Pennsylvania, nationally and internationally.  Look for upcoming programs and events in the Fall and into 2018.

When you look you’ll see a new name for our committee.   As a reflection on our focus on community involvement by Advent, the Outreach Committee has changed the name of this committee to Partnerships in Mission.

This will be an exciting and multi-year effort involving our entire parish and drawing on our Missional Ministry Team.  In order to focus on this discernment effort, we, with Nancy’s guidance, have decided to suspend our formal grants application process for the upcoming year, 2018.  In February of this year, we announced the 2017 grants awarded to agencies.  Rest assured funds so graciously given at Christmas and Easter for use in our grants program will be maintained in the Advent account designated for our missional purposes. 

We know this may have an impact on planning for some of the agencies we have been supporting and we are communicating this to each of them now so they have as much notice as possible.  We hope to listen to them as well as others in the Communities.  

Please consider attending our monthly meetings and become a part of our discernment.  It is so important for you to attend.  We meet generally the first Monday of each month at 7pm. Join us for our next meeting on September 11 at 7pm.

Elizabeth Curtis Swain

Vestryperson

 

How Can I Be Kind?

I recently watched an interview with his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I've always enjoyed listening to what he has to say, as he is always so mindful of how his words will impact others. 

During the interview I watched, the interviewer asked the Dalai Lama why he has never condemned the practice of self mutilation some Tibetan monks perform in response to the Chinese occupation. He paused for a moment. He stated first that he does not support any taking of human life, including one's own. However, he cannot condemn the acts as Anti Buddhist, because when he thinks about this issue, he can't help but remember the families who lost a loved one. If he condemns their actions, he hurts the families even more. He does not want to cause more pain. He wants to foster healing. So, he remains silent on the issue and prays for all. 

When I heard this, I remembered a suggestion I heard a long time ago about how to deal with problems of any kind. You stop, and quietly ask yourself, "How can I be kind?". 

When you encounter a problem, especially a complex one,  it does no one any good to try and win or take revenge - if you've been wronged. It does not necessarily help anyone to be right. You may win the argument, but in the process what did you loose?

It helps everyone to try and be kind. This is what Christ also taught.  We are all so fortunate to have so many blessings in our life. Most of us do not have to consider issues like the Dalai Lama does. However, we can all do simple acts that radiate kindness.  Reach out to the disenfranchised. Be kind to your neighbor. Listen to others, even if their viewpoint differs from your own. Smile at a stranger. You do not have to agree. You do not have to support everyone. You don't even have to have a conversation. But I personally believe that when you make an effort to be kind to everyone, the person you help the most is yourself. 

I think I like how the Bible says it best in Colossians 3:12 "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Yours In Christ,

Karen Rodgers, Vestryperson