St. John's Blog
From time to time, Bishops of the Church may deliver a "Pastoral Letter," a charge to the clergy and people of the diocese on points of doctrine, discipline or worship. Issuance of such a letter ought be done only on those rare occasions when a significant matter is before the entire household of the Diocese, warranting both clarification and encouragement. We now have such an occasion.
Today, we live and move and have our being in a world characterized by division, destructive rhetoric, demonizing of the other and callous disregard for those whose opinions differ. This is not the Christian way, the Episcopal way or the American way. Let us once again be so bold and be so faithful as to set aside our fear and go into our neighborhoods to listen to one another, honor one another and love one another.
I do not think I have ever been as ready for Advent as I am this year. Normally I can wait until around Thanksgiving to break out the Advent hymns, but this year I am chomping at the bit to get going, or better put, to stop going and to start staying in place; silent, hopeful, expectant. Maybe it is the fact that Home Depot already has trees up and Starbucks is already offering peppermint mochas that has pushed Advent back into late October for me. Or maybe it is our current social / economic / political environment that has me clinging more frantically to my faith and the hope of something more beyond our current social isolation, economic disparities, and political polarities. I have grown tired of the empty promises of this world lately. I am ready, eager in fact, for the coming of something new; for the season of Advent.
In Alan Roxburgh’s book, “Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood,” he tells a parable of three friends. Once there were three friends who grew up together. At an early age their lives were intertwined at home, school, and even their dreams for the future. Though each had their own personalities, they were inseparable. As they grew older and went off to college, they shared a rich intellectual and social life, forging even deeper and more meaningful relationships. Through good times and bad, they learned to support one another and connect in ways beyond words.
After a summer-long search process, St. John’s is pleased to announce that Amanda Henes accepted our offer to be our new Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries. Since officially joining the staff September 20, Amanda has been busy getting up to speed but she graciously found time to share a bit about herself and her early goings in the office to help the St. John’s community get to know her a bit better.
Since first posted on social media on August 16, teacher Brandy Young’s “No Homework Policy” has gone viral and been shared on Facebook over 73,000 times. Why? Because it comes as good news to students and parents alike. Students appreciate not having additional work to take home, and parents appreciate not having one more struggle with children who are over-scheduled, stressed, and sleep deprived. In addition, with the policy being so countercultural— so counter to the ‘test-kids-early-and-often’ mentality of our education system— it is no wonder this news traveled quickly and broadly over social media. If it is not about performance and academic success, then what’s the point?
A while ago I came across a cartoon depicting two people walking down the street. In it the woman turns to the man and says, “My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.” It struck a chord with me at the time, and has been on my mind ever since returning from vacation. Perhaps my time away on the lake and in the mountains and with family has heightened my sensitivity to the current level of insanity in our world. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m now reluctant to stay well-informed; finding so much of our news and current events to be filled with insanity from all sides. These days sanity seems to be the better option.