Moving In Faith Challenge

Join Holy Communion as we team up with Grace-St. Luke’s, Saint John’s and other churches in the city to offer Moving In Faith.  This is a 6-week journey to a healthier mind, body and spirit through exercise, weekly prayers and scripture readings.

More than ever, it’s important to find ways to stay healthy.  Be a part of our Holy Communion team as we challenge other congregations, friends and neighbors to work towards common health goals through daily exercise!  Friendly team competition is a great way to stay connected and motivate one another. 

The Basics:

Moving In Faith starts June 1 and is for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. 

  • Each church will be a team.  The Director of Recreation from each church will serve as its team captain. 
  • Teams will compete for the most points accumulated throughout the journey (highest team average based on # of participants per team).
  • Individual team members accumulate points for his/her team for each minute of exercise completed. (Run, walk, dance, yoga, tai chi, Zumba, row, bike, elliptical, strength training, tennis, golf, etc.)
  • Team captains will email team members weekly scripture readings, prayer and motivational quotes for reflection and team updates.
  • Team members will email team captain weekly with number of individual points earned for his/her team.
  • Once registered, training logs and more information will be emailed to you.

You don’t have to be a member of the church to participate so please invite others to join the journey.  There is NO fee to participate.   Register today for our Moving In Faith 6-week health journey by sending an email to juliefike@holycommunion.org.

Posted by Julie Fike at Monday, May 4
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Join the CHC Praise Pals!

Hello all, My name is Megan Johnson, the Minister of Welcome.

Along with implementing our weekly Zoom calls for the Young Adults, I am starting a Pen Pal group at Holy Communion, called THE PRAISE PALS. We are welcoming all ages, individuals, and families to join! We are looking to connect parishioners across all service times.

If you are interested, the first step is to email me at mjohnson@holycommunion.org, with your Name, Age, and Address.

The second step, is to commit to one short letter per week, once you are paired with a pal. Please contact me by Sunday May 10 if you are interested! Then once we get things started we would love for you to share photos of your fun letters you have received, directly on our Facebook page or send to Emily to get posted in the Communicator! This is such an amazing way to stay connected and get your creative juices flowing through handwritten words, drawings, and/or little tokens! I can’t wait to hear from all you future Praise Pals! 

at Monday, May 4
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Young Adult Zoom Check-Ins Planned

Hello Young Adults! I know these times have been uncertain, which is why we all need to stay close and connected. My name is Megan Johnson and I am the Minister of Welcome here at Holy Communion. I will be hosting weekly Zoom calls for the Young Adults in our church community. This will be a fun opportunity to quickly touch base with individuals and families that are at a similar stage of their lives.

The times, secure passcodes, and zoom IDs will be provided via a weekly email! I look forward to getting to know everyone more so that when we return we will be stronger as a group. Please email me mjohnson@holycommunion.org with any questions about how to get more involved.

With God’s Love,

Megan

at Monday, May 4
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Home Obstacle Course Challenge

Join the Home Obstacle Course Challenge! 

Posted by Julie Fike at Sunday, Apr 26
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Calvary Waffle Shop Servers Needed!


Waffle Shop Servers

 Join our Holy Communion crew serving Fridays during Lent at Calvary. Servers work from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You get a free meal when the shift ends. Calvary’s free shuttle from St. Mary’s Cathedral runs every 15 minutes.

Contact Lilie Hudson to sign up at lilie@me.com or 803-917-6768.

Posted by Emily Austin at Sunday, Jan 26
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Ballroom Dancing Workshop

Kick up your heels!

 

Ballroom Dancing Workshop
Saturday, Feb. 15 | 7-8:30 p.m.
Wellness & Recreation Center

 

On Saturday, February 15, Church of the Holy Communion Recreation & Wellness will host a free night of ballroom dancing in our newly-opened Wellness Center! Instructor Desiree McCain will present a simple introduction to East Coast swing, a dance that is fun, simple and that you can go to a wedding and do. It will be a 30-45 minute lesson with refreshments.

We intend for this to be a fun night of dance, fellowship and refreshments. There won’t be a cost, but please sign up through the link below so we can get a head count: https://form.jotform.com/200123940886050

A week or so after the Saturday night event, Desiree will teach ballroom two classes per night on Thursday nights: Intro to Ballroom and Intermediate Swing. 

Posted by Emily Austin at Monday, Jan 20
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Old Pews in a New Nave?

Although the vestry initially decided to hold off on replacing our old pews, some parishioners have voiced concern about installing our old pews in a newly-renovated Nave. So far, $80,000 has been raised of the $125,000 we need to buy new pews.

To make an extra donation toward this effort for new pews, please contact the church office or the Sr. Warden, Mike Murphy: 901-870-2850, mmurphy@mdwlaw.com. We must order the pews soon for them to be ready to install when the Nave is finished.

Posted by Emily Austin at Sunday, Jan 19
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New FAQs Regarding Nave Renovation

When will we be back in the Nave?

While specific construction schedules can be hard to predict, we anticipate a grand re-entry into the Nave on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020.

 

Has there been a delay?

The Nave was built before parishioners expected it to be air conditioned, which means that it was never designed to accommodate ductwork or cooling equipment. It has taken time to design a system that will be efficient, quiet, and easy to maintain.

 

Why do we have workmen on the roof?

The vestry is committed to improving both our infrastructure and aesthetics. The Nave is getting a new roof (with a 50-year warranty!) and new windows, along with new electrical and plumbing systems. Some of the most important improvements we have made to our buildings will not be visible. 

 

Will we be able to renovate the Narthex?

Yes, and the Chancel and Sacristy too.

 

How are we doing financially?

On the revenue side, our capital campaign exceeded every expectation and payments are coming in ahead of schedule. On the expense side, the vestry has worked hard to control costs while also ensuring that all of our renovations are done completely and well. When the whole project is complete – Blaisdell and Greenwood, Cheney, the Nave, and the Athletic & Wellness Center –we expect that we will have a gap of about $950,000, a little less than 8% of the total project cost. The vestry takes that gap very seriously and is already working on plans to address it. The timely payment of every pledge truly matters.

 

What about the pews?

Although the vestry initially decided to hold off on replacing our old pews, some parishioners have voiced concern about installing our old pews in a newly-renovated Nave. So far, $80,000 has been raised of the $125,000 we need to buy new pews. To make an extra donation toward this effort for new pews, please contact the church office or the Sr. Warden, Mike Murphy: 901-870-2850,  mmurphy@mdwlaw.com . We must order the pews soon for them to be ready to install when the Nave is finished.

A sample pew seat is on display in the lobby between Cheney Parish Hall and the Vaughan Welcome Center if you’d like to try it out!

 

What’s going on with the organ?

Pipe organs behave more like living organisms than machines; they are very sensitive to temperature and dust. We are going to repair the organ after construction, but do not currently have the funds to make long-term investments in it. Parishioners who would like to make gifts to support music ministry at Holy Communion might consider investing in the pipe organ.

 

How will acolytes and Eucharistic Ministers find their way in the renovated Nave?

The Reverend Jonathan Chesney is going work with our lay leaders to get all of our customaries updated and to offer training sessions this spring.

 

Can I take a tour of the Nave to see construction progress?

Safety is a top priority for Holy Communion. At the present time, it is not safe for us to host group tours of the Nave. Please visit our Facebook page for regular photo updates on construction.

Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Tuesday, Jan 7
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Sermon for the Ordination of the Rev. Margie Baker: Look, See, and Have Compassion | The Rev. Sandy Webb

SERMON

St. John’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford, Connecticut

The Reverend Alexander H. Webb II (“Sandy”)

January 4, 2020

 

 

Ordination to the Priesthood

The Reverend Marjorie Freeouf Baker

Matthew 9:35-38

 

“Look, See, and Have Compassion”

 

In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

I draw my text this afternoon from our gospel reading: “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them…”

 

Two important things happen in this short clause – Jesus sees, and Jesus has compassion. Jesus could have looked away from the suffering of the people around him, he could have guarded himself from their burdensome reality, but he does not. Jesus looks, and Jesus sees.

 

More importantly, Jesus acts. Jesus sends out his disciples to be shepherds among God’s wandering people. Jesus does something practical and tangible to make a difference for the people he has seen, for the people whom he cannot un-see.

 

Jesus looks, and Jesus sees, and Jesus has compassion.

 

~

 

Jesus does a lot of this – looking, seeing, and having compassion – in the ninth chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel.

 

The chapter opens when some townspeople bring a paralyzed man to Jesus on a stretcher. They ask Jesus to heal him, and to forgive his sins. In Jesus’ day, healing and forgiveness were seen as the purview of the religious elite. The scribes do not believe that Jesus has the authority to proclaim life-transforming words of hope, but he does it anyway: “Take heart,” he says, “your sins are forgiven…Stand up and walk.”[1]

 

The next vignette takes place near the tax collector’s booth. There sits a man named Matthew, taking in what is due to the emperor plus a little bit extra for himself. Tax collectors were seen as grifters, as sinners beyond redemption, but Jesus pays no heed to their sordid reputation: “Follow me,” Jesus says, and Matthew’s life is changed forever. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”[2]

 

Before the chapter ends, Jesus raises the dead daughter of a woman who kneels before him, Jesus stops the hemorrhage of a woman who touches his cloak, Jesus restores the sight of two blind men who beg for his mercy, and Jesus opens the lips of a man whose words have been stopped by a demon’s possession.[3]

 

The conclusion of this action-packed chapter comes as no surprise. After having had compassion on no fewer than seven individuals, Jesus opens his heart to the entire congregation: “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them…”

 

If it is possible to sum up the ministry of Jesus Christ in a very few words, those words would be these: Look, and see, and have compassion. Do not look away. Do not guard your heart from the truth. Do not fail to act. Look, and see, and have compassion.

 

~

 

Margie and I share a love for the City of Memphis. Memphis is a city with soul, a city where the ribs are dry and the music is blue, a city that is filled to overflowing with equal measures of beauty and suffering. In 1968, Martin Luther King came to our soul-filled city because some Memphians were not willing to look and see the plight of other Memphians, much less to have compassion for them.

 

In what would become his final sermon, Dr. King draws his listeners’ attention to the Parable of the Good Samaritan in St. Luke’s gospel. He wonders aloud why it is that the priest and the Levite pass by the wounded man on the Jericho Road without stopping to render aid: Maybe they were late for an important church meeting, he wonders. Maybe their religious code required them to stay away from the dead and the dying on days when they intended to preside at the sacraments. Humorously, Dr. King even wonders if they might have been on their way “to organize a ‘Jericho Road Improvement Association’…Maybe they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the casual root, rather than to get bogged down in an individual effort.”

 

In the end, Dr. King lands on a much simpler possibility: The priest and the Levite were afraid. “You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road…” The robbers who harmed the wounded man may still have been in the area; the man on the ground may have been “merely faking,” seeking to lure them in.  Fear gets the best of the priest and the Levite on that lonesome way, and it stops God’s ministry of compassion dead in its tracks.

 

Dr. King concludes: “The [question] that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’” But, the Good Samaritan reversed the question, “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”[4]

 

Even though the wounded man was lying at their feet, the priest and the Levite were afraid to look, afraid to see, afraid to have compassion. That’s where they went wrong. Anyone who wants to engage the mission of God and participate in the ministry of Jesus Christ must open her heart to the entire congregation, and speak life-transforming words of hope. The most frequently repeated admonition in the entire Bible is this: “Do not be afraid.”

 

~

 

We are gathered here on this Saturday afternoon because Christ’s ministry of reconciliation is hard, and because fear lurks all around us. We are gathered here because someone dear to us is about to make a selfless commitment not only to continue living into her own baptismal responsibilities, with the help of God, but to help us live into ours as well.

 

The unique ministry of the priest is to offer the sacraments. The sacraments do not pull away from the dead and the dying, they are intended for the dead and the dying, in every sense of those words. At the altar, Margie will tell us again and again the story of Christ’s love for us and for the world. In confession, she will offer forgiveness and freedom with God’s own authority. In ministering to and with us, she will offer a blessing – the very same blessing that once gave sight to the blind, speech to the mute, and life to the dead.

 

By having the courage to look into the dark places of our lives and of our communities, the courage to see the things that most people would rather not see, Margie will show us what it is to have compassion in Jesus’ name, and she will teach us how to do the same.

 

My dear sister in Christ, my co-worker in the vineyard, my fellow priest in the Church of God, the Prayer Book makes your mission plain: “In all that you do…nourish Christ’s people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.”[5]

 

Amen.

 

[1] Matthew 9:2-8 (NRSV)

[2] Matthew 9:9-13 (NRSV)

[3] Cf., Matthew 9:18-34

[4] The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I See the Promised Land.” Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. James M. Washington, ed. New York: HarperOne, 1986. 284-285.

[5] The Book of Common Prayer (1979), 531.

Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Saturday, Jan 4
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Sermon | St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Dyersburg, Tennessee | The Reverend Sandy Webb

SERMON

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Dyersburg, Tennessee

The Reverend Alexander H. Webb II (“Sandy”)

September 29, 2010

 

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 21C)

Revised Common Lectionary

Psalm 146

Luke 16:19-31

 

In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus said, “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.” Fair warning: Rich people do not tend to fare very well in Jesus’ parables, and this man will not prove to be an exception.

Whenever the rich man left his estate, he had to walk right past a poor man, Lazarus, who begged at his gate. When the rich man would go to work, there was Lazarus. To the store, there was Lazarus. Even just out for walk after dinner, there was Lazarus, with the dogs licking his sores.

Maybe the rich man gave Lazarus a few coins every now and then, maybe a few leftovers from his groaning board, but for the most part, the rich man would walk right by. After a while, the rich man probably didn’t notice Lazarus anymore. To him, it was as though Lazarus was not even there. A physical boundary kept Lazarus out of the rich man’s estate and an invisible boundary kept Lazarus out of the rich man’s consciousness.

Boundaries are sometimes necessary for our safety and our health. Ours is a violent age and it is not always safe for us to engage with people we do not know. Ours is a broken world and our souls can only withstand so much bombardment by sorrow and sadness. Yet, the practical necessity of our boundaries does not negate the harshness of their reality. High walls, of both the visible and invisible varieties, serve only to separate the children of God one from the other, and there is no way to escape the spiritual tragedy of that separation.

I have to believe that God will give us license to keep ourselves safe, but I cannot believe that God would ever give us license to ignore the needs of those around us. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not at liberty to create divisions so firm or fix chasms so wide that we are unable to see the people suffering on the far side of them.

When we ignore the suffering of others, we create a space not only between them and us, but also between ourselves and the ones for whom God expresses a special, even preferential love. The Psalmist writes: “[The Lord] gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to those who hunger. The Lord sets the prisoners free [and] opens the eyes of the blind…The Lord cares for the stranger; he sustains the orphan and widow…”

All of the divisions and disunities in our world – the divisions between rich and poor, young and old, male and female, black and white – are the outward and visible signs of a world that has been subsumed by sin. We can train ourselves to ignore these divisions, but in so doing, we make them wider and deeper and starker than they already are.

When Lazarus passes from this life into the next, the angels carry him to a place of eternal rest. When the rich man dies, he is taken to a place of torment. Jesus tells us very little about the rich man’s torment, but I have a theory: I suspect that the rich man’s torment is being made to peer across the chasm that he had fixed. I suspect that the rich man’s torment is having to acknowledge the separation that he created and then so long ignored.  

In death, the rich man is forced to see Lazarus – literally and figuratively. He is forced to reckon for the first time with Lazarus’ core identity as a beloved child of God. The rich man’s torment is the shame of knowing that he has allowed another human being to suffer because it was too awkward, too uncomfortable, or too inconvenient for him to do anything about it.

Yet, as we interpret this parable, we should not too closely associate ourselves with either Lazarus or the rich man. In this story, we are the ones whom the rich man ultimately tries to save. We are not yet dead. We are alive. We are the living ones who have on our ears the words of the prophets and the teachings of Christ. We are the living ones for whom God raised his Son from the dead. We are the living ones who have within ourselves the power to choose, the power to repent, the power to tear down the divisions that serve to separate us from the children of God whose physical needs are not being met.

In preparing to worship with you this morning, I learned about Matthew 25:40, a ministry that you founded and that now share with your community partners. As I understand it, Matthew 25:40 gives food and clothing to people who need them, financial assistance to the extent that you are able, and advocacy for the unique needs of children.[1] Would that the rich man in Jesus’ parable had St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dyersburg as an example of what to do, as an example of how not to walk past those in need. Today’s story might have turned out very differently.

In today’s parable, Jesus invites us to see the world as it really is and then to imagine what the world really could be. Jesus invites us to reach across our boundaries, visible and invisible boundaries just the same.

St. Mary’s is off to a very good start. St. Mary’s stands as an example to its neighbors in the City of Dyersburg and its neighbors in the Diocese of West Tennessee. St. Mary’s makes a difference, but St. Mary’s cannot stop there. Our Lord will not let you rest on your laurels. Our Lord insists that you keep pressing on until every gate has been torn down, until every boundary has been beaten under foot, until every Lazarus has had his needs met and has been invited into the fellowship of the faithful.

We know what Moses and the prophets would want us to do. So, let’s go do it: Feed the hungry and heal the sick. Preach the Good News and transform the world.  

Amen.


[1] I commend to everyone reading this note the work of Matthew 25:40, as described in this useful brochure: http://matthew-2540.org/brochure.php

Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Wednesday, Oct 2
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