THE DOVE November 2014


by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

Are you bedeviled by severe headaches? Consider praying for the aid of St. Peter Damian, patron saint of migraines. Can't sleep because of noisy frogs? Invoke the name of St. Harvey of Brittany, who had the power to quiet them. Suffering from writer's block? Asking St. Francis de Sales for inspiration might end the dry spell. Ever been tempted to commit perjury? Then turn to St. Pancras. Do you, for whatever reason, suffer occasionally from hangovers? Then your saint is Bilbiana, a 4th century holy person in the garden above whose tomb grew an herb that relieved headaches. Concerned about the upcoming mid-term election? Then ask God for the succor of St. Chad, the patron saint of elections (yes, I know: remembering the 2000 election with all its "hanging chads," what are the odds that the saint for elections is Chad?!)

November is the month of Saints, for during this month we observe All Saints' Sunday on November 2nd, and are reminded of our own identity as the saints of God. When most of us hear the word "saint," we probably tend to think of the famous and impressive folk through the centuries who have accomplished great and wondrous feats for the Kingdom of God. And, indeed, these people were saints. But All Saints' is the day when we celebrate the fact that all of us, by virtue of our baptism into Christ Jesus, are called to be saints, and have, in fact, already been made saints in and for him. Saints are not merely the nearly flawless giants of the faith (whom history has all-too-often rendered rather bloodless, as well). Saints are those who, in every age and in countless ways, have tried to be faithful to God when faithfulness was out of fashion; who have sacrificed themselves for others in a world where "sacrifice" is frequently an alien concept; who have, stated simply, tried to live life in the direction of God. Saints are not perfect. They-we-are people who take God seriously, as the poet Anne Sexton put it; who, despite our individual and communal warts and blemishes and shortcomings, are trying to become more and more the people God would have us be; who are growing into the identity that is already ours: the holy ones of God.

And during this month of saints, for whom will you be a saint? For whom will you, in ways subtle and unknowing, point the way toward God? Who will remember you, perhaps decades from now, as one who pointed them to the Other, who showed them Christ, who nudged them to walk more closely to God?

Adult Forum in November

by Fr. Chris Hardman

We continue our look at the World Faith traditions by focusing on Native American Spirituality this month. We will also have an opportunity to discuss the Baha'i Faith and Christian Healing. Schedule and more here...

All Souls' Day Liturgy Choir Notes

by Derek E Nickels, DMA, Director of Music

On All Souls' Day on Monday, November 3rd, at 7:00 p.m., we will commemorate all of the faithful departed with a special candlelight liturgy that has been one of our cherished traditions for a number of years. The choir will be singing Edgar Bainton's And I Saw a New Heaven, an anthem based on Revelations 21:1-4. Bainton was a former student of the famous Charles Villiers Stanford and served as the Director of the New South Wales State Conservatorium in Sydney, Australia. While Bainton is primarily a recognizable name in church music for this particular anthem, he wrote a number of symphonic works and film scores.  The choir will also being singing "Remember your servants, Lord" (Hymn 560) which comes from the Russian Orthodox liturgy and the Beatitudes.

Donors' Corner

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector 

This is the first in a periodic series of brief stories about members of Holy Comforter who have ensured the strength and vibrancy of the parish through planned gifts.

Harold and Frances Kraft were long-time and beloved members of Holy Comforter. Harold passed away while Fr. Robert Myers was the curate. When Fr. Myers began serving as rector, Frances was a widow. He and other clergy visited Frances regularly as, sadly, she was confined mostly to her home with around the clock caregivers. The two developed a strong relationship and friendship with Mrs. Kraft, and it was during this time that she informed Fr. Myers that Harold had decided to leave a gift to the church upon the death of the last spouse, as they had no children. Upon Frances' death, and shortly after the funeral, the Krafts' attorney informed Holy Comforter that the gift was for $875,000. Harold and Frances have a plaque on the wall in the ambulatory. Their gift propelled the church's endowment fund to over $1 million. Today, and in perpetuity, all of us will forever benefit from their extreme generosity.   

In the Vineyard...

We rejoice in the births of Juliet Laura Bridgeman Fields and Tobin Townshend Bridgeman Fields, who were born on October 7, in San Francisco. Juliet and Toby are the children of Carter and Natalie Fields, and the grandchildren of Mary Fields. Although a few weeks early, they are both healthy, and arrived weighing in at over 5 pounds apiece. Big brother Nicholas welcomed them home a few days ago. Congratulations to the entire Fields family, and welcome, Juliet and Toby!

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Registration is now available for the 2015-2016 school year. Registration requires a completed application. There is a one-time non-refundable application fee of $100 for new families. Applications will be available in the school office starting November 3, 2014. Please contact Mary Johnson at (847)251-6120 for more information.

The Need of the Giver

Many years ago, a stewardship slogan floated around the Episcopal Church that still rings true today: "The need of the giver to give is greater than the need of the Church to receive."

Yes, it is true that Holy Comforter needs financial support. There are lights to keep on, ministries to support, educational opportunities to strengthen, outreach opportunities to embrace, salaries to pay, and on and on. Contrary to what some might believe, we do not receive any support from the government or the Diocese or the national Episcopal Church-in fact, the reverse is true-and much of our Endowment Fund is dedicated to very specific issues or items. But even with all that said, the simple spiritual truth is that our need as individuals and families to give generously, sacrificially, in proportion to our income, is greater still.

The fact that Jesus himself talked so much about the importance of faithful stewardship indicates that he, too, was convinced that a person's need to give was a significant dimension in her or his spiritual life and relationship to God. He saw what inordinate valuing of money could to do a person's soul, how greed or a self-centered focus could enslave an individual's entire personality. Jesus saw this dynamic and was moved by it again and again; and he spoke out about the peril involved in the use of money and other resources. 16 of his 38 parables are about stewardship, and one-tenth of all gospel verses are about money and possessions.

This fall, as we engage in our annual stewardship campaign, we all have the opportunity to take stock of our priorities, our level of faith and trust in God, the extent of our freedom from or bondage to money and the things of this world, and the well-being of our souls. In the face of all God has done for us-in the light of the cross and the empty tomb, and the peace that passes all understanding-let us respond responsibly, making certain that our pledge is a true indication of our faith in the One who has given us all that we have, including life itself, now and eternally.

If you have not turned in your pledge for 2015, please do so at the earliest opportunity.    You may call the church office, or deliver or mail your pledge card.  Your generosity is appreciated!

All Souls' Day Commemoration

Monday, November 3, 7:00 p.m.

As we have for some years now, Holy Comforter will offer a special All Souls' Day liturgy of remembrance and thanksgiving. If you would like to remember a loved one who has died, and especially if you have suffered such a loss this past year, you are encouraged to attend this beautiful Eucharist. Read more here...

Taize' Worship Service with Healing

Sunday, November 9th, 9 a.m. in the Great Hall

In 1940 Brother Roger Schultz, a Reformed Protestant from Switzerland, formed an ecumenical monastic order in the little French village of Taize'. He was searching for a simpler and more authentic way of leading a Christian Life. Read more here...

Thanksgiving Offering and Eucharist

Thanksgiving Day, 10:00 a.m.

This year, we will celebrate a special Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day. The day will feature some of the most beloved hymns in our repertoire, a simple homily, and the chance to see friends, grown up kids, old neighbors, and others, as, together, we offer our grateful praise to God. Read more here...

Men's Advance

February 6-8, 2015

The Men's Fellowship is going to offer an "Advance" (as opposed to a "Retreat") at Divine Word in Techny. The weekend will include periods for reflection, discussion of issues facing men in our current world and culture, personal time, and, of course, some plain, good old-fashioned fun. Read more here...

Thanks be to God!

by Pastor Heath Howe, Family Ministries

"It looks like Thanksgiving! At my house a lot of people gather!" he answered with both delight and recognition. When I looked again, I realized he was right. The images before us did look like a family gathered around a table on Thanksgiving Day with our Lord, the incarnation of Love, right at the center. Let me explain...

The Art of Being Patient

by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's Ministries & ATB&B

As I listened to Mr. Bill Gordon rehearse with the Youth Choir the hymn they will sing on Baptism Sunday, I was struck by the lyrics. The first adjective to describe the "Saints of God" is patient. So, without any aspirations or expectations of canonization, I did ponder whether anyone would use the adjective patient to describe me on any given day. Read more here...

Signs of a Thriving Youth Ministry

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministries

What I know has happened in Youth Ministry in this church before my time and what I am privileged to watch happen again, is astounding. What I am talking about is the nurturing of a culture of time and effort into youth ministry; a church that sees the long-term benefits that is the magic of teens and God. It is all Joy with a capital J. Read more here...