For A Common Good

About 2 years ago, there was a very important meeting at the Vatican. 
On one side of the  table was a group of very proper, well dressed academics with their books and notepads.On the other was a group of people who had lots of tattoos, piercings, and tablets. 

The person that brought them together had one goal in mind; to move a generation of teens and young adults to tears.

Let's start at the beginning, because believe it or not, that meeting at the Vatican was not the  beginning. The whole thing started with a wish.

The Catholic Church wanted  more 'young people' to come and see the Sistine Chapel. Lots of tourists see it every year and listen to the guides tell  them all about the wonder and beauty and artistry of it. But, not a lot of young people were coming anymore. Museums with  people talking were not something the  young were interested in due to the rise of digital media.

The result of this desire was a phone call to Marco Balich, the artistic director responsible for the last few opening ceremonies at the Olympics. He is a master of engaging people in an age of social media. The Vatican asked him to create a plan to engage more youth in the Sistine Chapel. 

A few months later, the meeting I mentioned at the start of this article occurred. The 'properly dressed' people with their notepads were Vatican art experts and historians. The tattooed tablet holders were top video game designers. The goal of what would become several creative meetings was clear for each group. The academics' job was to teach the designers everything about the Chapel. The designers job was to make it come to life. Mr. Balich's job was to help the groups understand each other. 

At the start of this NPR story, I began laughing at the thought of these very different groups of people just looking at each other. But, by the end of the piece, I realized that the point of this story was what can come out of two groups learning to listen to each other. And, I'm being very specific with my vocabulary here. We, as a world, are not very good at really giving others a chance to teach us their story. When groups of people come together to do something new, they need to trust that it is for a common good and recognize that they must learn to listen to each other meaningfully. 

I am proud of our Parish for all the community work and partnerships we have entered into over the last year. I feel that we are learning to listen to each others' stories. It is not easy. It is especially difficult when we don't feel listened to. But, we all keep meeting and setting goals for activities and events that are for the common good. I believe we are doing what God is calling us to do. Compared to all the  ills of this world, it may seem small. Yet, like Bishop Gutiérrez mentioned on his first visit to us: "..a single drop in the water causes a ripple that can travel miles." We are making a difference to our little microcosm of the universe and the good coming from that is spreading. And, we are doing it together! 

Last weekend, the interactive show  Universal Judgment: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel opened in Rome. And scores of teens and young adults went to see it. The news reported that many of the spectators left in tears, because they didn't realize how meaningful and beautiful the Chapel was and how important a connection it was to their faith. One group of diverse people, one goal, lots of time and effort, but in  the end: mission accomplished! 

Yours in Christ,

Karen Rodgers

 

Rummage Sale

It is time to get ready for the annual Spring/Summer Rummage Sale, to be held May 12, 2018 from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Church Fellowship Hall. Please consider donating gently used clothes and seasonal items, books, CD's, DVD's and kitchen items. Items typically sell for between $1 to $100. If you want to donate something more valuable, you might want to save it for the Artisans Fair Silent Auction this fall.

 

Donations can be dropped off in the Fellowship Hall (ONLY) Thursday from 12-5 and Friday from 9-6. Please do not leave things outside or elsewhere in the church. While you are dropping items off consider staying for an hour to help with set up. Volunteers are needed to help set up Thursday and Friday, and during the sale Saturday. Please consider giving some time to help make the Rummage Sale a success.

 

We will not be accepting: Fall and Winter items, toys, games and large electronics such as: TV's, printers, scanners, computers etc. Any items not sold will either be re-donated to another local charity or disposed of, at our discretion.

 

This sale provides items for the less fortunate in our community and all the proceeds raised go to Partnerships in Mission (Outreach).

Mary Nichols

Springtime at Advent

Spring has finally sprung. The gardens around the church are colorful and the grass is growing. The renovations at the PCOC are underway. Moving the offices and renovating the PCOC will enable us to continue to plan for the future. The revenue generated from renting the PCOC will be set aside in a capital fund to finance projects in the future to maintain and improve the main church building. HVAC systems, parking lots, sound systems, windows and on and on only have a certain life expectancy.

The kitchen and the first floor bath are almost complete. The remaining work cannot be completed until the offices are moved to the south building of the church complex. We hope to complete the move sometime in June.

The St. Nicholas, St. Ann and Library are the designated spots for the church offices. St. Nicholas has been painted and new carpeting installed. We are meeting this week with our telephone contractor to begin installation of the new phone system, security cameras and magnetic locking system for the outside door.

The vestry has decided to initiate a series of town hall meetings to increase communication with the entire congregation. These will be informal sessions where a vestry member will give a short presentation on the activities of a particular area of their responsibility. Following the presentation the floor will be open to any and all questions about any item the congregation would like to discuss. The first town hall will be a follow-up on the PCOC move. The meeting will be held on June 3 between the 8:45 and 10:15 service.

We have a duty to plan for the future of our congregation. Those who preceded us gave us a beautiful campus; a wonderful place to worship. We owe future generations nothing less.

George James, Senior Warden

Achieving our mission – Making Christ Visible; Changing Lives; Making a Difference – Together

Back in February, I described the changing approach by Partnerships In Mission to becoming a part of the voice of mission and service at Advent. This process is evolving and experimental. Our goal is to transform and grow from simply writing checks to more participation and celebration of missional ministries and having a way to thoughtfully select how to use the funds graciously given to Advent. As already shared, with Nancy’s guidance, and hopefully involvement by parishioners, we intend to use these funds to support emergency community needs; serve as an occasional resource to support existing local community social services and ministries; and, as an expression of our renewed mission focus, act as “seed money” for Advent parishioners with the support of PIM to engage in missional ministry in our communities. I emphasize the need to consider an expansive meaning of community and communities to be broader than where we live. The words refer to those within our parish, within our local neighborhoods and municipalities, as well as within our Diocese of Pennsylvania, and nationally and globally.

As part of our service mission, PIM is taking on a coordinating role for parishioners looking at volunteering with organizations and community-based programs. If you see a program in the Ministry Overview Pamphlet, please contact me or another member of PIM.

We see a need to inform and celebrate existing ministry projects at Advent. We are putting together a bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall describing ministry projects at Advent. These projects are of all types, seasonal, ongoing, Advent focused, and community based. Look for it soon. We also want to be sure we all know about how Advent’s facilities are being used by others. Our goal is both to inform as well as to encourage parishioners to participate in a ministry where feasible.

To encourage creation of new ministry projects by Advent parishioners, we’ve created a simple application to submit to PIM. In the application, we ask for a description of the project and learn what is needed to get the project going. This includes how parishioners can help, what community organization is involved or is the beneficiary, what materials are needed, how this will be communicated/publicized and funding requirements, if any.

We see the potential to expand our presence in the community through focused and limited use of Advent space for community groups to meet that serve our mission of being more involved in the communities at all levels. For example, Kennett Area Community Service and Southern Chester County Opportunity Network have been invited to have meetings at Advent. You ask what or who is SCCON? It is a network of individuals and groups who share the common vision of a better quality of life for all and are committed to walk the journey with our most vulnerable neighbors as they seek resources and economic mobility.

Another one of our efforts is bringing an awareness to Advent missional programs and initiatives of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. This ranges from just sharing with Advent all of the mission programs within the Diocese, to seeking involvement with Diocese programs and helping in the support of these programs.

Together, we are making Christ visible!

- Liz Curtis Swain

Send Me?

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

As a new member to the Vestry and as the Vestry Liaison to the Pastoral Care Ministry I wanted to fully understand what Pastoral Care truly means and how it is visible at Advent.

Let’s break this down. Pastor is the Latin word for Shepherd. Pastoral Care is a term we apply to a ministry of compassion, encouragement and transformation within our Christian Life. Pastoral Ministry is the ministry of shepherding Gods people which involves tending to the needs of others, providing strength and encouragement.

Our Pastoral Care Ministry has many committees that work towards Advents Mission Making Christ Visible in the Community. These committees are Altar Flower Delivery, Card Ministry, Casserole Committee Singles Group, Grief Support, Visitation, Lay Eucharistic Ministry, Prayer Chain, Prayer Shaw and Funeral Receptions. It takes many Shepherds to serve this Ministry.

When you hear “Whom Shall I send?” Will you answer Send Me?

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. Peter 4:1

Mary Nichols