THE DOVE October 2012

Thin Places

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin

The island of Iona is, after Wrigley Field, my favorite place on earth. An island three miles long and slightly over a mile wide, Iona is located near the Isle of Mull off the western Highlands of Scotland; and it is, quite simply, the most beautiful place I have ever seen in person.

Iona is most famous for being the place St. Columba used both as the location for his monastic community, beginning in 563, and as the base for the missionary efforts by Celtic monks to take the Good News into Scotland and northern England. Although Columba's monastery is long gone, the mediaeval foundation built over its ruins is now the home to the vibrant, ecumenical Iona Community.

One facet of mediaeval Celtic spirituality that has long spoken to my heart is the concept of "thin places:" the belief that certain locations are particularly holy because the membrane between heaven and earth is thin and permeable. The early Celtic Christians sought out such places and often made of them important centers of pilgrimage, prayer or worship. In a thin place, one can sense clearly and even tangibly God's presence, God's nearness, the intimate embrace of God's grace.

Do you have any thin places? Are there locations, or even memories or experiences, that are thin places or "thin moments" in your relationship with God?

Holy Comforter is such a place for me; and perhaps it is for you, as well. Think of the
understated beauty and warmth of nave and chancel, open every minute of every day for prayer and contemplation, or of the serenity of the cloister and columbarium, filled with dozens of faithful people who have preceded us into God's embrace. Hear in your mind's ear the clarion call of the carillon chiming the hours in God's day and calling us to worship. Recall the joyous, holy chaos created by the children of the parish and the soaring splendor of voices raised in song. Is not Holy Comforter a thin place where God is specially and wonderfully present, where spirits are restored and souls renewed, where we feel enveloped by goodness and grace?

If this place is such a thin place for you, seek it often. Come worship with your sisters and brothers on Sundays and during the week. Be nurtured by the adult formation programs. Join in the Bible Study or the Prayer Group or the Shawl Ministry. Nourish your children through church school and choir and youth group. Simply come to sit in silence and commune with the Holy One. Make more intense and intentional your connection to this community and to God by immersing yourself in the holy "thinness" of Holy Comforter.

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism;

All Saints' Sunday, November 4

As most everyone is aware, we celebrate Holy Baptism four times each year at Holy Comforter: at the Great Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday evening; on the Feast of Pentecost, our parish birthday and the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit; on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord in early January when we commemorate Jesus' baptism at the hands of his cousin John in the Jordan River; and on All Saints' Sunday, the first Sunday in November, when we remember and rejoice in our identity as God's holy and beloved children. Each occasion has a unique quality and a unique connection to Holy Baptism; and all are poignant and powerful.

Our next celebration of Baptism will occur at the 9:00 Eucharist on Sunday, November 4. If you are interested in having a child baptized, or desire baptism for yourself, please contact the Rector at or at 847/251-6120, ext. 115. The next baptismal feast will be Sunday, January 13, 2013.

Give a Little Bit

by Jill Klusendorf
Director of Community Life

One of the goofiest arguments my husband David and I have is over what music to listen to in the car. David has an IPod playlist that contains enough music to run continuously, literally, for over 37 years. Me, I'm a radio kind of girl.
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The Vineyard

We extend our sympathy to . . .
Sean Flynn & Siobhan Flynn on the death of their father, Frank Flynn, on July 14.
Robin Gemeinhardt on the death of her mother, Patricia Loftis, on August 6.
The family of parishioner Marge Allyn, who passed away on August 25.
Pam McGaghie on the death of her mother, Shirley Wall, on August 26.
Jean and George Hull on the death of Jean's brother-in-law, Kermit Powell, on September 22.

Wedding Blessings to...
Leslie Rozelle and Chad Haycock, September 8.
Lauren Knier and Fran Golden, September 15.
Andy Knott and Stephanie Thiede, October 6.

Learn more here...

Intercessory Prayer

by Fr. Hardman

It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.  (Romans 8:34)

I have always wondered what it meant when the Apostle Paul said that Jesus intercedes for us. Where and how does that happen?  I have certainly needed someone to intercede for me a number of times, but I never saw Jesus do it.  It has always been someone else, someone I know, and someone that knows me.

The truth is, of course, that Jesus does intercede for us through other people, other people who see themselves as "in Jesus and Jesus in them," people who have discovered intercessory prayer as a way of entering the life of God.

Richard Foster puts it this way: Intercession is a way of loving others.  When we move from petition to intercession we are shifting our center of gravity from our own needs to the needs and concerns of others.  Intercessory Prayer is selfless prayer, even self-giving prayer.

I do not think that prayer is about manipulation, that if we pray hard enough God will grant us what we want no matter how selfish that might be.  I do believe, however, that prayer changes us.  It can bring us out of ourselves and into a life of receiving and giving that can be quite healing and powerful. It can bring us into communion with God, each other, and the world.

Let me propose three ways you can contribute to and participate in that communion.  First, join Holy Comforter's Intercessory Prayer Group (IPG). 

Our next meeting will be in the library on Thursday, October 25th, at 10:00am.  We need a base of people praying not only for those who are sick, but for the leaders and members of this parish. Reaching out to the community in prayer always brings us into the larger life of God where we can better discern God's will and where we can find healing for our souls. Second, join us on Sunday nights for our new Evening Prayer service.  Besides having an opportunity to meditate on scripture our prayers are always focused on intercession, praying for each other. Third, join us in reading Morning Prayer at home each day using the shortened Prayer service found on our web site or as printed copies in our parlor at church.

Let's pray together.  The results will always be surprising!


A Blessing for Holy Souls

by Pastor Heath Howe

The following celebration is adapted from the book For Everything a Season, 75 Blessings for Daily Life. This celebration may be done with small children, teens, and/or adults. It may be done with a large group or on your own. Ideally, this celebration is done at a meal on Halloween; however, it may be adapted to be celebrated at another time around the holiday. If celebrated in a group, please share the opening welcome, prayer, bible text, and blessing with any readers present. Enjoy!
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From the desk of Bill Gordon

Youth Choral Director

I am so grateful for the opportunity, to develop a youth choral program here at Church of the Holy Comforter. Thank you for allowing me to step into this position. I have huge dreams and aspirations for youth vocal music here at this church. Please allow me to share a little about my current teaching activity.
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by Mary Johnson

When asked to describe a fundamental principle for our schools, both preschool and Sunday school, I reply: there are many things that will change for these children. What will never change is how much God loves you.
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Ralph Vaughan Williams

by Derek Nickels

This October 12th marks the birthday of one of the Anglican Church's most influential composers and personalities, Ralph Vaughan Williams.
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Love One Another:

Giving Care and Receiving Care

by Martin McCarthy, Jr.

Stephen Ministry offers us the opportunity to deepen our knowledge and experience of God's unconditional love. The Stephen Ministers at Holy Comforter, and those at other churches and in other denominations, provide emotional support and spiritual comfort during times of challenge challenge and transition, before or after a death in a family, during a period of unemployment, or with regard to other intensely personal struggles.
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