THE DOVE October 2011

The Rector's Column:

Expanding Liturgical Expressions

The Rev. Canon H.B. St. George was Professor of Church History and Liturgy at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin during the 1920's and after. He was also the primary architect of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the iconic handbook of Episcopal worship for the middle 50 years of the last century. A very elderly priest I knew when I was rather newly ordained myself, was a student at Nashotah House in the late 1920s, when the 1928 BCP was crafted. He remembered very well the beginning of the new school year following the adoption of the "new" Prayer Book by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, an act that was certainly not without controversy at the time. According to my late friend, Canon St. George walked into class the first day, held up a draft of the new Prayer Book, looked around the room, and said, "Gentlemen, this is only the beginning." It was his strong belief-one shared by virtually all liturgical scholars and leaders-that worship is a living, evolving organism that changes and grows over time and in accordance with local needs and desires; and, further, that liturgical renewal is a process that is always taking place, sometimes slowly and imperceptibly, sometimes rather more dramatically. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer was, in Canon St. George's mind, merely the latest development in an unending process of development and transformation.

This fall, as many are aware, the 9:00 Eucharist on Sunday mornings has undergone some changes. These alterations in familiar patterns reflect the desire identified by the parish in surveys and conversations over the last few years, and articulated in the materials created for the search for a new rector, to embrace some expanded approaches to the worship of God at Holy Comforter. For example, we are attempting to incorporate more music of a contemporary idiom, especially in the middle portion of the service, and are using a piano-which supports such music better than an organ-to facilitate this change. The location of the piano is not ideal, to be sure; and yet, the added flexibility and texture it brings to the 9:00 liturgy is worth this very modest issue. In order to encourage greater communal participation, we are now singing a congregational hymn during the Offertory at 9:00 rather than having the choir sing an anthem; and the full choir has moved to the 11:15 Eucharist, with the smaller choir helping lead the singing at the earlier service. The Prayers of the People are being offered by our student intercessors from within the congregation itself, so that the prayers truly are of the people, of the worshipping community, and emerging from our midst. We are attempting, as well, to include in the 9:00 bulletin virtually the entire service to make it more accessible to newcomers and to those who are perhaps a little unfamiliar with what is known as "Episcopal aerobics." And we have incorporated greater freedom in physical posture during parts of the service, with people being offered the chance either to stand or to kneel during the Prayers of the People and the Eucharistic Prayer. The reason for this last change is rather simple: until comparatively recent times, the custom in the Christian world has been to stand for prayer, to sit in order to listen, and to kneel for occasions of penitence. Even though this new approach represents a significant change, and a significant challenge for some people, and may result in a mixture of personal approaches being followed at certain moments within the service, it is intended to provide all of us with the chance to follow the practice that speaks most potently to each of us, while still being part of the larger worshipping community. Liturgy at its best is vibrant and stimulating; and this means that it can also be, at times, surprising, challenging, and diverse.

The Adult Forum will focus for a few weeks later this fall on the Eucharist, and, during those sessions, we will discuss more fully the historical contexts in which liturgy has developed, as well as some of the forces and influences that have resulted in the current evolution taking place throughout much of the Episcopal Church and beyond (please see Fr. Hardman's article for more details). These modifications in some of our worship should be seen not as a critique of what has been the practice at Holy Comforter for some years-indeed, I was integrally involved in implementing many of our traditions 20 and more years ago-but, rather, as an expression of the desire continually to enliven our praise of Almighty God, to use more diverse music and language and action to worship the Holy One, and to prompt all of us to engage our faith, and our relationship with the rest of the worshipping community, in new and inspiring ways. The liturgical leaders are very much interested in feedback, so please do not hesitate to call or write with any reflections or responses. And thank you for your patience, engagement, and commitment as, together, we seek to offer God our liveliest and most attentive prayer and worship.


Inquirers' Classes

Don't forget that the Inquirers' Classes begin on Tuesday evening, October 25th, and continue on November 1st, 8th and 15th!

These sessions, which Fr. Parkin will lead from 7:00 to 8:30pm in the parish library, will be an introduction to the foundations of the Christian faith in general and to the traditions, history, theology, and worship of the Episcopal Church in particular. While the classes are a great way for those new to Holy Comforter or the Episcopal Church to become more familiar with important elements in our faith tradition, they are certainly also appropriate for those who have been around for some time and simply want a refresher course. No topic is too mundane, no question too basic for these sessions; and most of the final evening will be devoted to questions that have not been addressed along the way (frequently known as "Stump the Chump").

Please join Fr. Parkin and fellow parishioners on Tuesday evenings in October and November for lively and informative discussions: it is a wonderful way to become better acquainted with others in the parish family, and to grow in knowledge and faith. And if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Rector at 847/251-6120, ext. 115. Hope to see you on October 25th.


Youth Group Update

iCONNECT (6th & 7th Grade)
Our youngest youth group is connecting with the world through a six-week study of stewardship to the earth.  Today's youth will be the first generation to consistently and daily reflect on and monitor their impact on the environment. This study challenges youth to not just "claim" the name Christian, but to "reclaim" the first role given to humanity: caring for God's earth.  Leaders will encourage them to develop holy habits and make connections between earth-friendly habits they might aready practice (recycling, conserving energy) and discipleship. 

AIM (8th Grade)
Last month's focus was on friendship and radical acceptance, and the qualities one looks for in a good friend and a strong leader.  Now students will take an objective look at their inner character and discover traits, as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23, that encourage their spiritual, emotional and personal growth.  The first four traits, love, joy, peace and patience, reflect God's influence on us.  During their Sunday morning meetings, they will be viewing clips from Pay It Forward, Lost, World Trade Center and The Lion King and discussing characters that exemplify these traits.

WHAM (High School)
The high school youth group meets informally on Sunday morning for fellowship and conversation about their busy lives.  This month, they will scour The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and the newsmagazine This Week for stories that involve moral issues and challenges in our world (which shouldn't be too difficult!).

Details about and applications for the June 2012 Mission trip to Nicaragua are available here>>>

Youth groups gather in their lower level meeting rooms on Sunday mornings from 10-10:45am.


Our Common Life: Practicing Spirituality 

Adult Forum Series ~ 10am Sundays in the Great Hall

In our Adult Forum these past two weeks we have talked about two major paradigm shifts that the church is going through, a shift in the way we understand the church's relationship to the world and a shift in the way we see God's relationship with the world.

In October we will look more closely at our theology. We will look at a theology of Creation to prepare us for a "Creation Liturgy" to be held at 9:00am on October 9. Then we will look at "Relational Theology" to help us understand God as Trinity which is central to understanding the changes we are experiencing.

In November we will examine the "Eucharist" as the foundation of our life in Christ. We will discuss some of the changes in practice that have occurred over the past 30 years. Then, we will discuss the basic parts of the Eucharist (Scripture, Prayer, Offering, Community meal, Outreach) and use those as a guideline for how the Holy Spirit may be leading Holy Comforter to respond to these major paradigm shifts.


The Gift of Creation

Adult Forum, October 2, 2011
Special Creation Liturgy, October 9, 2011

Everything is a gift. The creation is not our possession. The air around and within us does not belong to us. Our lives are not our own. Everything is a gift.

This simple yet profound truth is at the center of the Christian faith, even if we do not often articulate or ponder it. For centuries, people of faith have acknowledged that life is a gift from an incessantly generous, gracious God, and that all of us are blessed with unique and precious talents, qualities, and characteristics. For centuries, however, people of faith also believed that the words of Genesis-that the human race was to have dominion over the earth, and to subdue it and all living beings-were to be interpreted literally: that the earth was made solely for the pleasure and use of humankind. As we all now know, this perspective is patently untenable. In increasing numbers and in diverse, powerful ways, Christians and people of other faith traditions now realize that the very Creation from which we come, in which we live and move and have our being, and back into which we will one day return, is, like all else, a gift: a gift from God that, like all other gifts, must be tended, cared for, respected, nurtured, loved, and engaged with profound thankfulness.

We must, as people of faith, take time intentionally to give thanks for all the blessings we have been given, including the gorgeous creation in which we have been placed. On Sunday, October 2, the Adult Forum will look at the emerging field of Creation Theology; and on Sunday, October 9, we will celebrate a special Creation Liturgy at the 9:00 Eucharist, with music, prayers, and other elements chosen to remind us of our relationship to God's world. These two events were scheduled to flank the feast day of St. Francis - which falls on October 4 - in an echo of his devotion to the created world in which he lived.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 5 ~ 9:30am-3:30pm
57th Annual Housewalk & Boutique
All profits benefit local agencies that provide services to those in need
Purchase tickets here>>>

Friday, October 21 ~ 5:30pm
Fall Fellowship Dinner
Refreshments offered at parishioners' homes followed by an "Oktoberfest" dinner live music by Die Musikmeisters Band in in the Great Hall at 7:30pm
RSVP here>>>

Tuesday, October 25 ~ 7pm in the Library
Inquirers' Class led by Fr. Parkin
An introduction to the foundations of the Christian faith in general and to the traditions, history, theology, and worship of the Episcopal Church in particular  Register here>>>

Thursday, October 27 ~ 5:30pm in the Great Hall
Family Pumpkin Carving Party
An annual event for parents and children; pizza dinner included

Sunday, October 30 ~ 5pm
St. Helen's Guild Pizza Party
Hosted by Jane & Tim Eaton; reservation and payment required
RSVP here>>>

Wednesday, November 2 ~ 7pm
All Souls' Day Liturgy
An evening Eucharist remembering and celebrating the lives of loved ones who have died, especially in the last year; a reception hosted by the Bereavement Committee, immediately follows the liturgy

Friday-Saturday, November 4-5
Divine Whisperings: A 24-hour Women's Retreat
Hosted by the GreenHouse leadership team at the Loretta Retreat Center, Wheaton (No prior GreenHouse participation required) 
Read more here>>>

Sunday, November 6
All Saints' Day Liturgy
Sacrament of Baptism is administered at the 9:00am liturgy; a parish reception follows in the Great Hall; if you are interested in Baptism for you or your children, contact the Rector>>>

Saturday, November 12 ~ 9am-4pm
Parish Community Service Project 
A work day for all ages at Good News Partners, Rogers Park 
Read more here>>>

The Vineyard

We joyfully announce the birth of . . .
•  Ramsey Joseph to Bill and Amy Lucyshyn and sister Reagan on August 4.  Ramsey's grandparents are Peter and Barbara Lucyshyn.
• Charles Scott to Andrew and Monica Paine of August 28.  Charlie is the first granchild of Jeff and Barbi Paine.

We extend our sympathy to . . .
• Julie Johnson on the sudden death of her husband, Norman, on Wednesday, August 31.

We welcome to the parish . . .
• Marion Ware of Wilmette.  Marion had been a member of Holy Comforter during Father Hanner's tenure.  We welcome her back!
• Miki Mancine and her children, 4 year-old Elizabeth, 3 year-old William and 2 year-old Henry.  The Mancine family lives in Winnetka.


News from Our Directors

Family Ministy:  Something Old . . .  And Yet Brand New
by Pastor Heath Howe, Family Ministries Associate

Reflections on our Community Life: Categorically Speaking
by Patti Pateros, Director of Community Building

Formation Principles:  Disciples
by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's and Youth Ministries

Music Notes: Youth Musicians
by Derek Nickels, Director of Music