Martin Luther

I have a confession to make. I love history. I don’t love it a little bit. I love  history A LOT.

Since we began our confirmation/youth partnership with St. Michael’s, the Lutheran Church in Unionville, I wanted to know more about Martin Luther. After all, he came around a bit before Henry VIII reformed the Church in England and began the Episcopal version of worship.

The big question I had going into finding out about Martin Luther was: how did he survive being a reformer?

This may sound like a ridiculous question. However, it’s actually a very good one. The vast majority of anyone who dared speak out about the Catholic Church’s corruption and methods of worship from the 1300’s- late 1500’s usually ended up dying in a very gruesome way. 

It turns out, the answer to this question is vitally important not just for Martin  Luther and his reforms, but for our time as well. Martin Luther was not harmed for speaking out against the Church, because he put his words in print and widely disseminated his work. He had his 95 Thesis printed in pamphlet form and distributed. He didn't just send it to his Archbishop. In other words, the Church could not harm him, because all of Europe knew who he was.

The reason his words reached so many was the printing press. The printing press in its original form was invented around 1440. Martin Luther was born in 1483. He grew up with printed works. This means he was educated with booklets and books printed from a press. His was the first generation to have access to print on a wide scale.  The result was that he understood how to use print to his advantage to get his message out far better than previous reformers.

There has only been one other invention that has had the communication and educational impact equal to the printing press: digital social media.

This means our children are growing up understanding the power of mass communication much better than we, as adults, are. 

My point for bringing this up is, as a person responsible for communications, I'm realizing that I should not be frustrated at my 14 year old son's involvement with social media. I should be asking him about how it impacts him and how I can use it. Yes, I have to monitor and restrict as part of being a parent. But, I think our youth have much to teach us about how to get along and communicate with one another. 

Martin Luther was a very smart man, but he very much was a man of his time. I look forward to seeing what will happen when our children harness the communication power in social media for good. 

The most powerful thing a teacher, or parent for that matter, can be is a student. So, ask a young person what it is they are gaining from social media and how you can use it, too.  You might be surprised by what you discover. 

Yours in Christ,

Karen Rodgers, Vestryperson

 

 

What's New With Advent's Finances?

What’s new in Advent finances? Last year, we paid our debt of $100k down to -0- and remain debt free as of this writing. We substantially drew down our cash reserves to accomplish this, since we were paying more interest than we were earning on our deposits. Our Endowments grew from market increases in our investments, but have since given back some of those gains in 2018.

The Congregation responded overwhelmingly to the matching gift program at the end of 2017. This should allow us to rebuild reserves in 2018, while moving offices to the Church building and converting the PCOC to a rental residence. The PCOC rental income will provide for mid- to long-term capital improvements to Church facilities.

There are exciting changes happening at Advent. We are blessed to have the necessary resources, strong leadership, and a committed Vestry.

If the question I asked at the beginning was not the one you have in mind, please feel free to ask it, or make any budget-related suggestions. Your input is always welcome and appreciated.

Bill Steller

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