THE DOVE January 2013

We Belong to One Another

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

About a year before I went off to seminary to study for the priesthood, I adopted a Rule of Life. Grounded in ancient monastic traditions, rules of life are designed to help people focus on God and on God's presence in their daily lives through a rhythm of prayer, reflection, worship, and other actions. One of the most important parts of the rule of life I seek to follow is the tradition of saying Morning Prayer (Book of Common Prayer, pp. 37ff or 75ff) every morning as I begin my day or when I arrive at the church. I find that starting my day grounded in the rich, resonant words of this Daily Office helps remind me of who I am as a child of God, and of my particular vocation within the world and the community of faith.

It will not surprise you to read that saying the same words nearly daily for, lo, these 30 years has resulted in times when the words themselves have been less meaningful than at other times. But there is one element that has never failed to move, stimulate, and refresh me: and that is my custom, adopted about 15 years ago, of praying every day for all the members of the congregation listed on a single page of the parish directory. I hold up each person by name before God, whether or not I know them well, whether or not I know the conditions and situations they are facing at that moment. I pray that they-that you-may be strengthened by the soothing Spirit of God; that troubled hearts may be calmed, weary or sick bodies given rest and healing, joyous souls nurtured by God's nearness.

I mention this personal practice only in order to emphasize this fact: we are all part of each other. We need each other. We live with and for and in each other. If the events of the year passed have taught us nothing else, they have reminded us of how dearly we need to be connected one to another, and how important it is to belong to a community larger than ourselves. In the face of events cosmic and often overwhelming, it is difficult to remember that our lives are inextricably interwoven, frequently in very small, invisible ways. And yet, rarely has it been more important than at the present time to find strength and succor, comfort and courage in others; and rarely has there been such a good time to remember that God surrounds and embraces all of us, and calls us into community with one another. So one of my prayers this New Year is that we will all take seriously our commitment to our common life: that we will redouble our efforts to gather with our brothers and sisters for worship, to take part in outreach ministries, to get the kids to church school or youth group, to take time for prayer and Bible study: to help build, in other words, a community of ever deeper love and connection and compassion.

By the way, I am partway through the Gs right now....

All Things Bright and Beautiful Registration

Applications for the 2013 - 2014 school year will be available online and will be emailed to currently enrolled families in the school. Anyone interested in touring the school should contact Mary Johnson at
mrjohnson@holycomforter.org.

Registration for 2013 - 2014 requires a completed application and one-time non-refundable application fee of $100. Applications may be mailed or dropped off at the All Things Bright and Beautiful office up to January 14, 2013, at which time the application phase will be closed. We will then begin building classes from the applications received. Every effort will be made to place each child in the first choice indicated.

SAVE THE DATES:

RITE 13 (Junior High) and J2A (Senior High):

FRIDAY, JANUARY 18th
Rite 13 (Junior High) Church Lock-In

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10th
Rite 13 (Junior High) Man/Womanhood Ceremony; 9AM Service

"Tell Me Where the Christ Child is Born!"

by Pastor Heath Howe

Clearly our Christmas pageant is a highlight for us at Holy Comforter. The wiggly angels and wandering shepherds are adorable. The sound of the Youth Choir is beautiful. Hearing the story of the birth of Christ told through the voices of our fourth, fifth, and sixth graders is touching to say the least.
Read more here...

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's Ministries

Was it in a box, neatly wrapped under your Christmas tree? Did you receive it on your last birthday or anniversary? Was it in the last great book you read?
Read more here...

Good Grief!

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministry Coordinator

I've been trying to meditate on grief, lately (YES, even during the Christmas season). Or, more specifically, on suffering. What with close friends and family members going through various hardships, not to mention the Connecticut school shooting earlier in December, I find myself putting my fist to my chest and saying, "Why, why" a lot.
Read more here...

2012 Is So Last Year!

by Jill Klusendorf, Director of Community Life

The New Year, to me, is much like the feeling I get after going to confession. Good, old-fashioned, face-to-face confession. (Although never at St. Peter's in the Loop, they are way too mean, trust me!) I can barely bring myself to call it "reconciliation."
Read more here...

Holy Baptism, Sunday January 13, 2013

The next celebration of the sacrament of Holy Baptism will take place on Sunday, January 13, 2013. January 13 is the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, and, thus, is one of the preeminent days on which to welcome people into the household of God. If you are interested in baptism at the 9:00 Eucharist on the 13th for yourself or a child, please contact the Rector at your earliest convenience.

We are also looking for bakers! Please consider baking a few dozen of your favorites to share with all on this very special day. 

The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows

On Sunday, January 20, 2013, we will be privileged to have as our guest preacher and speaker the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, who is the Director of Networking for the Diocese of Chicago.

Jennifer, whose position places her at the center of communications and efforts to build community across the Diocese, was the Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York, and Episcopal chaplain at Syracuse University from 2004 until the end of 2011, before moving to Chicago to take up her current position. Previously, she had served as the Director of Alumni and Church Relations at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, from which she holds an MDiv. She is also a graduate of Smith College and holds an MA from Cornell University in historic preservation planning. Jennifer is married to Harrison, and they are the parents of the cutest two-year-old you ever saw, Timmy, who attends All Things Bright and Beautiful. She is also a triathlete, and has blogged and written about food in a variety of forums. Please make a special effort to welcome Jennifer to Holy Comforter on the 20th!

Annual Parish Meeting: January 27, 2013

On Sunday, January 27, 2013, we will celebrate our Annual Parish Meeting following a somewhat simplified 9:00 Eucharist. The meeting will take place in the Great Hall beginning at 10:00.

The Annual Parish Meeting is always an important day in the life of any congregation. We use this time together as an opportunity to reflect on the year past, and to ponder the year just beginning. It is a business meeting, during which we elect new members of the Vestry, approve the annual budget and discuss other temporal issues and topics. But it is also a spiritual meeting, so to speak, for it affords us the chance to discuss the ways in which we are fulfilling, or hope to fulfill, God's call to us in our ministry, fellowship, worship, and outreach. At the Annual Parish Meeting, we pray, sing, laugh, rejoice in new growth, debate where God is nudging us, and, in general, hear and retell together part of the story of Church of the Holy Comforter.

I pray everyone will make a special effort to attend the meeting on the 27th, for it has been a full year, and we have much on our plate for the future, as well; and it is important that as many people as possible be part of discussions and deliberations. I look forward to seeing you at this year's Annual Parish Meeting on January 27.

Newtown Reflections and Adult Education

by Fr. Chris Hardman

It is strange to have such an event as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings to coincide with Herod's "massacre of the innocents." Herod's actions may be more storytelling than history, but anytime the innocent die it changes us.
Read more here...

Wednesday Bible Study Class

"Why did God let this happen?" That is one of the questions many are asking in the weeks following the tragedy. If you are interested in discussing that question and others, please join me on Wednesday, January 16 at 10:30 am for the first of a four part series entitled, The Nature of Evil. We will look at the development of Satan in the Bible, how Jesus and others struggled with evil, and how that coincides with our understanding of God.

Adult Forum in Lent

This Lent we will look at the Mysteries of Faith. I don't mean mystery in the sense of a puzzle that needs to be worked out. I mean mystery "as the deep dimension of life where meaning dwells" (Mark McIntosh.) We will focus on the Mystery of Creation and the Mystery of Communion with particular emphasis on what scholars call the Paschal Mystery-the mystery of suffering, death, and resurrection.

We will engage this subject on Wednesday nights with Reel Spirituality IV using movies such as American Beauty, Contact, Fried Green Tomatoes, the Horse Whisperer, On the Waterfront and Field of Dreams. We will also address these mysteries at our adult forum hour in Lent with Dr. Melissa Perrin and other guest speakers.

Lesson and Carols

by Derek E. Nickels, DMA, Director of Music

On December 9, 2012, the Second Sunday of Advent, the Adult Choir and the Youth Choir led the congregation in our traditional Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent at 5:00 p.m. This liturgy was designed to incorporate the Advent themes that include readings from the Old and New Testaments that illuminate the proclamation of Christ's birth.
Read more here...

Good News Partners:

Christmas Store "Wrap-Up"

Despite gray and rainy weather, nothing could dampen the spirits of almost thirty CHC parishioners as we boarded a big yellow school bus and headed south to the inaugural Good News Partners Christmas Store.
Read more here...