From Episcopal Relief and Development Lent Meditations Discipline your children while there is hope; do not set your heart on their destruction. -Proverbs 19:18 For years, I hated the words discipline and discipleship in regard to faith. I thought they sounded controlling, a way of churning out cookie-cutter people. I felt this way until my artist brother told me that a discipline is simply an intentional practice and discipleship is the journey of that practice. This perspective changed both my view of God and how I parent. To be a disciple of Christ is to be constantly practicing the ways of Jesus- not out of fear of condemnation but in order to be in (and filled with) the presence of whole love. Like an artist who must always be practicing her craft in order to live out a calling, we must regularly engage in spiritual practices to develop a greater ability to live lives of love and wholeness. The same is true for our children. To discipline my kids is not to try and knock the sin out of them. Instead, disciplining them teaches practices that will root them in abundance, not scarcity; in generosity, not selfishness; in love, not hate; in welcoming, not exclusion. These practices will create an abiding place for the spirit of God to reside, resulting in such wholeness within them that sin has no room to flourish. -Jerusalem Jackson Greer
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St. Matthew's is full of activities for your participation this coming week. At today's Sunday's "Theology Under Wraps" for our high school teens, we will be discussing the Florida school shooting and the proposed responses to it (new legislation, school walk outs, marches, etc). Later in the afternoon is a "Meet and Greet" at the Ambrogi's home in Manchester. Please come and ask me any questions, let me know what you think of St. Matt's, ideas you have for its future, etc. We also have workshops on making a "Resurrection Garden" or "Ukrainian Easter eggs" here at St. Matt's to learning about suicide prevention, race issues in NH, active bystander and active shooter trainings to a quiet day. It's all good and some events are at the same time as others. So, "read, mark, and inwardly digest" the offered programs and look at your schedules and do what your time and interest permit. It's always good to learn something new, to grow in your faith, and act on your convictions. And, if you do attend an event, I'm always interested in hearing what you learned and how that information could benefit St. Matt's. Peace, Nancy
*Don't forget to spring the clocks ahead tonight. From Episcopal Relief and Development Lent Meditations The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. -Isaiah 11:6 On September 11, 2001, my son was a little over four months old. Our little family of three would commute together from the eastern side of San Francisco Bay into "The City" every morning, where we would drop Patrick off at daycare before heading to work. His daycare was located in a federal office building. That morning, the daycare closed and I had to carry Patrick to work with me at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral. There was nothing typical about that day for any of us. There were tears and questions, anxiety and fears. It was tense, as I'm sure it was everywhere. No matter how difficult it was, though, one thing continued to happen: Colleagues kept coming to my office to hold and play with this tiny baby. Patrick got a lot of attention that day, and he actually brought a lot of smiles. At noon, Grace Cathedral held its daily Eucharist. Usually, this Eucharist would draw less than a dozen people. On September 11, almost 200 came. When the cathedral dean, Alan Jones, stepped up to preach, he came over to me and took Patrick into his arms. Alan preached his whole sermon holding Patrick, who surprisingly cooperated. Alan's message that day: Children are living signs of hope for the future. Patrick was well-loved and nurtured in his early childhood. Now, this teen hungers for justice and peace. He is still my sign of hope for the future. -Sean McConnell
Throughout Lent we are digging into who Jesus is by looking at the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John we see a Jesus in a different way than the other gospels, with less action and more images and explanations, the writer gives us and chance to encounter Jesus in a new way. Each week we will be posting questions related to this week's focus with an opportunity for you to share your responses. You can respond on Facebook in the comments, by email to the church office, or write your response on a poster in the Undercroft. What are some ways you can be a friend to Jesus? How were you a friend to Jesus this week? What do you think it means when Jesus says Jesus abides in you? Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
Age is merely the number of years the world has been enjoying you. - Anonymous Wednesday is my favorite day in the office because it is the day the SHINE program meets. It's a program for seniors in the community. They come in for fellowship, snacks, and some activity. I can hear conversation and laughter while I'm at my desk. Yesterday, special guest Margie Battey, came in with her sewing machine. She showed the women (men are welcome too!) how to make bowl cozies so that you don't burn your hands on the bowl you put in the microwave. If you're interested in coming to the group, it meets Wednesdays from 10:30-11:45am. Kelly Kennerson, Parish Administrator
From Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten Meditations 2018 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 During a conversation about corporate worship, an active congregant lamented that "children need to stop moving around and talking so I can hear." Another opined that perhaps children should be "taken out of church for misbehavior." I wondered aloud how this discussion might change if we were considering the participation of a long-standing member whose disabilities caused disruption. Does the conversation shift when we are discussing children? As Christians, we become full members of the Body of Christ at baptism. And the Body of Christ is changed with the addition of every new member, regardless of age. Christ calls us to celebrate and appreciate the gifts of all and invites us into the wonderful and sometimes messy work of discerning ministry together as the Body of Christ. How can we welcome children so that we are truly engaged in ministry together? Where do we fall short of being "one body"? Regan Schutz
From Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten Meditations 2018 Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10 I once asked a group of fourth graders at church to write down the three people besides their parents who were most important to them. Who made them feel safe? Who encouraged them to be their best? Who helped them feel close to God? Fourth grade is a vulnerable time. Few children think they're "cool," and everybody feels despised by a friend, a teacher, a bus driver and even a dog on occasion. I told the kids I wouldn't look at their lists, but I was curious: Did anybody have a priest on the list? No. Did anybody have a Sunday School teacher? Hands shot up. This is not a criticism of clergy. The children valued the priests in the pulpit and at the altar rail. But the angels in these children's lives were people who sat on the floor with Play-Doh and Legos, people who shared pretzels and made space for children to be their vulnerable selves. Discipleship is strengthened not only in the pews but also in the places where lay people minister. -Boykin Dunlap Bell
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) I get lost, alot. In fact, sometimes I plan on getting lost. These "lost travels" are one of the ways I learn my way around a new place. As I wander I find new things. Stores or farm stands, river vistas, and country roads that offer wonderful views. I'm never permanently lost. I usually have a sense that if I just travel in one direction, I will eventually come upon a main road that will lead me back home. Traveling in one direction is the key. Traveling in the direction of Jesus is often the key to getting unlost. It is not that I know exactly what direction that is, or the roads that I need to take, there is no GPS to the spiritual life. Instead it is just knowing that if I keep going in this direction, the direction of love and kindness, the direction of seeking to follow Jesus. I will eventually find my way home, to the nearer presence of God. Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
Recently a dozen of us met for our first session of our Adult Lenten program called, "Meeting Jesus in John." Fellowship at 6 around a simple dinner was followed by a very good discussion. It feels more and more rare to be with a group of people in order to spend time talking about what's deep in our hearts and on our minds. It was a good reminder why it's important to slow down and go deeper - with yourself and with others - in order to grow in your faith and appreciate the gift of community. I also felt that gift of community at the celebration of ministry at St. Matt's. It was great to have friends from Vermont and Our Savior Lutheran Church (where I was the Transitional Pastor) come and celebrate with us. They all commented on what a great community St. Matt's was. One person even said that she could just tell it was a great community by the amazing food at the reception! I hope you have felt the gift of community in your life - with friends and family and here at St. Matt's. If you are looking for some community, it's not too late to join our Thursday evening Adult series. Come for supper at 6 or join us from 7-8:30pm. Sunday worship at 8 & 10am. All are welcome. Peace, Nancy
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing - John 15:4-5 February 24, 2018 - The reception after the Institution of our new Rector, Nancy Vogele. Seen here are some of the "branches" which are bearing fruit in the Diocese of New Hampshire. Leah Torrey, Master of Divinity, and on the path to ordination, gave the sermon, an insightful comparison of her family's farming experiences with the care taking of the Vine. With her is Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, our Bishop, and her two kids. Behind Rob is Angie Battey, Senior Warden. A joyful day in the continued growth of St. Matthew's. Steve Fry, parishioner