Category Archives: St. John’s Bangor

Facing an uncertain future with hope

One of a few dozen Mainers to travel to Boston on Saturday, April 27, for the Climate Revival, family doctor and member of St. John’s, Bangor, Ann Holland Faulkner Sherman reflects on her journey.

Ann offers a daffodil at the Boston bombing memorial during the procession across Copley Square to Trinity Church.

Ann offers a daffodil at the Boston bombing memorial during the procession across Copley Square to Trinity Church.

What is the stone rolled against the door of my heart, keeping me entombed?  It’s name is FEAR. Fear of change; fear of having to renounce some of the comforts of my life; fear of the pain of sacrifice; fear of ridicule and misunderstanding; fear of loss.

Can I, like Lazarus, hear the voice of Jesus calling me forth to rejoin the living? Am I able and willing to hear the confidence and calm assurance of his beckoning? Do I believe we are truly created one world, every rock, every flower, every beating heart, beloved of the Creator?

We have blessed each other’s hands, received blessing in return, been marked with the sign of the cross on each palm with the dark sticky soil of western Massachusetts. We have commissioned one another to go as healers of Earth, to bear witness and to pay whatever the price of our dedication to the community of God’s creation.

We heard the urgent message to take action in ways large and small from Thomas G.Carr, Baptist minister and Eco-Justice net-worker, as he proclaimed, “This is NOT an issue among issues. It is the quintessential moral, ethical and spiritual question of our time!”

Again and again in various ways and by different speakers, we were reminded that we are a resurrection people, a people of hope. Though our grief is profound in the face of Earth’s wounds, we can gather our strength and “seek in everything we say and do to glorify God” in the words of Rev. Geoffrey A. Black. The enemy will tempt us to inertia and despair, offer us cynicism rather than faith. But Jesus will lead us; his tenderness and ferocity will guide and inspire us. Together, we will breathe the creative breath of Life into our Earth, and God will continue to deliver the dead from the tomb.

Mother Nature smiled on our Climate Revival in Copley Square. Along Boylston Street the sun shone warm on trees blooming pink and white. On this first Saturday after Earth Day throngs of people filled the square as Bostonians and tourists crowded around the line of bike racks serving as a makeshift memorial wall for the victims of the Marathon bombings.

Services at Old South Church and Trinity Church drew young and old, from several denominations and from every New England state. Banners waved, people sang and prayed. In a city shaken so recently to its core by senseless violence, the juxtaposition of shock and grief against the glorious promise of springtime renewal reflected our own contrasting emotions as we contemplated the ravages of greed on our Earth and faced the uncertain future with hope.

God grant that we may heed the exhortation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu that “ordinary people must demand that governments put planet and people before profits.”

Let each of us feel a deeper and firmer commitment to climate stabilization and a fresh energy for doing the healing work to which we are called. I pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the courage to live our conviction.

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Filed under our island home, Social Justice, St. John's Bangor, Training and Education Events

One Holy Week – Two Sermons

On Palm Sunday, Bishop Steve Lane visited St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rockland.  Here, in part, is what he had to say to all of us at the start of Holy Week.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of colt, there were only two possibilities: he was either the author of an incredibly brave, but ultimately deluded, act of defiance against the oppressive authority of church and state, or he was the author of a new heaven and a new earth. As we enter into Holy Week and our journey to Golgatha, I invite you into your own journey of prayer and reflection. Who is this Jesus for you?

Read it all here. (Please scroll down to the second sermon.)

On Tuesday, he gathered with clergy of the diocese at St. John’s in Bangor for their annual renewal of vows. He challenged the clergy of Maine with these words:

Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” The key to meeting the spiritual hunger of our age, for people both in the church and the many more who are outside the church, is to stand at the foot of the cross, to be where he is: for real life to meet a real God.

Read the entire sermon here.

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Filed under From the Bishop, Sermons, St. John's Bangor, St. Peter's Rockland

Sharing stewardship successes

by Lisa Meeder Turnbull
Diocesan Stewardship Consultant

The Diocesan Stewardship Initiative has now been underway for nearly a year, offering consultation and resources in all aspects of stewardship: time and talent, love and compassion, effort and dedication, and funds. It is exciting to see the many creative ways that congregations inspire and celebrate offerings of prayer, presence, gifts, and service.

As we become more intentional about cross-pollination, sharing successes and challenges, the question I hear most often is, “Who else is facing this same challenge? How are they approaching it?” With that in mind, let me share some examples of the creativity that is coming to the fore as we take a fresh look at stewardship:

  • A small congregation offers a successful weekday fellowship program for families with young children. Maintenance thinking used to ask, “How can we get them to come back on Sunday?” Mission thinking now asks, “How will we be a church with the congregation that is emerging?”Perhaps it will be Noonday Prayer prior to the established fellowship, or a relaxed late-afternoon service. The answer is still emerging, but the question is exciting.
  • A stewardship committee stretched the Consecrating Stewards model to engage a year-round conversation around the many ways that members are in ministry together.Twice-monthly, a different ministry or committee is highlighted. During worship, a member talks for a moment about the ministry and what it has meant to his or her spiritual journey.  This both engages the community in the church’s breadth of ministry, and it makes conversations about church finance more tangible.
  • In a congregation with strong seasonal membership, the rector’s weekly e-mail creates an on-going sense of community. This is part of a larger approach that includes a June Homecoming, an August annual meeting, and a Blessing on Your Way in September.Through this intentional structure of communication and celebration, seasonal members arrive already “up to speed” as a reunited body of Christ. They also have a tangible sense of their support for mission and ministry: They understand that their faithful, year-round generosity doesn’t just pay for heating oil, it provides year-round warmth for program, worship, and community presence.

If these stories resonate, if you would like to bring fresh thinking about stewardship to your congregation, consider these opportunities:

  • On Saturday, February 11, St. John’s Bangor will host two stewardship workshops.

From 9:30-12:30, Money and More will explore holistic stewardship and offer some practical approaches for engaging stewardship in the congregation.

From 1:00-3:00, Organs and Boilers and Roofs, Oh My! will talk through the ins-and-outs of capital campaigns and legacy and endowment giving.

To register for either or both of these sessions, click here.

  • Visit my blog at www.mainestewards.com for stewardship-related reflections, many linked to the week’s lectionary readings.
  • To host a regional stewardship workshop or plan for me to visit your congregation, write to me at mainestewards@yahoo.com.

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Filed under Congregational Events, Diocesan Life, St. John's Bangor, Stewardship, Training and Education Events

Stewardship Double-Header at St. John’s, Bangor, February 11

On Saturday, February 11, 2012, St. John’s, Bangor, will host two stewardship workshops for clergy and lay leaders.

From 9:30-12:30, Money and More will introduce year-round, holistic stewardship, taking a fresh look at time, talent, and treasure through the lenses of the liturgical cycle, the unique seasons of the individual congregation’s life together, and our commitment to mission and ministry in all that we do with all that we have.

From 1:00-3:00, Organs and Boilers and Roofs, Oh My! will look at the principles of capital and legacy stewardship, with practical discussion around how and when to approach what are sometimes sensitive conversations.

Our time together will include the praying of the Daily Office and a lunch break, with a simple sandwich platter and beverage provided. Participants are welcome to bring a “brown bag” supplement as well.

Questions? Contact Lisa Meeder Turnbull at  mainestewards@yahoo.com

Ready to register, either as an individual or on behalf of a team from your congregation? Click here!

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Filed under Congregational Events, St. John's Bangor, Stewardship, Training and Education Events