THE DOVE October 2014

Invitation

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

I saw a sign recently that said, "I love my Church - you will, too."

What a great thought. Not the sign, but the idea.

I love my church, too. I love the beautiful ritual, some of which is based on worship practices that existed even before Jesus was born. I love the music because I get to hear beautiful sounds made by voices and organ pipes and piano strings unfiltered by anything artificial. I love the children, bursting with energy, joy, and curiosity. I love the creativity and dedication of the staff and lay ministers. I love the beauty and functionality of the church architecture. I love the generosity and compassion our people show to each other and to the outside world. I love our sense of tradition which honors our heritage without hampering our willingness to try new things. I love that together we get to feel and experience the presence of God.

I think others would love our church, too, if we gave them a chance. Yes, we're easy to find, and we try to welcome the people who do come in. But what do we do to get them here in the first place? It's intimidating to walk into an unfamiliar church on one's own, especially if it is a "liturgical" church like ours and the visitor is from a non-liturgical tradition. Many people are not comfortable just wandering in.

A study done some years ago discovered that the average Episcopalian invites someone to church once every 27 years. Yes, you read that correctly: once every 27 years. And yet, we easily share enthusiasm for a favorite new restaurant, a movie, or even a new phone app. People get passionate about their favorite barbecue place. So, why not tell new neighbors or friends who are hungry for a faith community, "I love my church, and I think you will, too.' Even more inviting would be to say, "I would love for you to come to church with me.'

The Alban Institute, which originated as an Episcopal research center, says that the number one reason people come to a particular church is because one of the members - not the clergy, but a lay member - invited them; and that that invitation is the number one reason by a remarkably, even absurdly, high margin. Signs in the yard, decals on the car, T-shirts, web pages, newspaper ads, even pithy and clever sayings on church signs: none of these is as effective as a simple invitation.

In our baptismal covenant, we promise to "proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ." In other words, we are supposed to be engaged in inviting and welcoming others into a relationship with God and with a community of faith. The truth is that this act is really quite simple: we can use our gift of hospitality to invite our friends to come enjoy something we enjoy. I believe there are a lot of people out there who would love our church just as much as we do, if we gave them a chance.

I will end where I began: I love my Church. And I think others would love it, too!

Celtic Contemplative Service

by Fr. Chris Hardman

On October 5th, at the 9:00 am service, we will hold the first of two contemplative services this fall. This Celtic Contemplative service will incorporate Scottish and Irish music, a worship space transformed by light, and an inner spaciousness that will open us to an awareness of God's healing presence in our midst. Read more here...

Adult Forum: October 2014

We continue our look at the World Faith traditions by focusing on Islam and Baha'i this month. We will also deepen our understanding of our own faith, as well as review Buddhism and Islam. More and schedule here...

Glory to God Alone: Bach

by Derek E. Nickels, Director of Music

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the words Soli Deo Gloria at the conclusion of his sacred manuscripts. Bach's organ works have been widely revered as the greatest collection of pieces ever composed for a single instrument. Read more here...

In the Vineyard...

Long-time parishioner Jane Lange died on Sunday, September 14. Jane, along with her late husband, Glenn, was a member at Holy Comforter for decades. There will be a simple memorial service for her on Friday, October 3, at 11:00 a.m. in the church.

Barbara Devlin, a devoted and beloved member of Holy Comforter, died on September 4. Barbara was involved in Altar and Flower Ministries, Adult Formation, the Housewalk, and a host of other aspects of our common life. Please keep her husband, Paul, and her children, Ann, Jennifer, Paul, and Barry, and their families in your hearts and prayers during this difficult time.

Our love and condolences also go out to Deirdre von Moltke on the death of her mother, Ethne McAndrews. Mrs. McAndrews was 87 and a native of Donegal, Ireland. Her funeral took place in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, where she lived. Please hold Deirdre, Kurt, and their son, Konrad, in your prayers and thoughts.

May God embrace all three of these women with never-failing grace and peace, and grant them life eternal and sublime.

Reality, Spirituality, Community:

Canvass 2015

As the Vestry and Parish approach the year 2015, it is once again time to think about your support of the work of Church of the Holy Comforter in this faith community and in the world. Pledge Sunday is November 2, 2014. We ask you to prayerfully consider the following themes and the information that you will be receiving over the course of the next month.

REALITY:

  • Our parish is a $1.3 million business --or $3,700 a day to keep our doors open
  • With about 300 pledging units, that equates to $4,500 per pledge
  • Most of our budget comes from your pledges
  • Our dedicated staff did not receive any salary increase last year
  • Like many organizations, a majority of our income comes from a much smaller group
  • The Vestry asks for your pledge in order to budget for 2015 and be good stewards
  • There is no admission charge for virtually all that goes on here
  • In the recent past due to economic conditions, pledge income has been static

SPIRITUALITY:

  • As individuals, God has richly blessed us
  • As a faith community, we are similarly blessed
  • Stewardship is part of our faith journey
  • Our pledge represents both thanksgiving and a tangible commitment to Christ and the work of His church
  • Stewardship helps us look outward beyond ourselves to supporting others
  • "Giving back" is part of our own journey of faith

COMMUNITY:

  • Our support of the parish allows us to sustain and grow our community
  • Vital and vibrant programs such as our Church School are supported by pledges
  • Numerous ministries, outreach opportunities and fellowship abound in this place
  • The community is here for all of us in times of stress or milestones or in the ordinary
  • Pledge Sunday is an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to our community

As we approach Pledge Sunday, we ask you to consider the above themes and to prayerfully consider your commitment to this special place. We also ask you to review additional materials that will be sent to you in the coming days. The reality is we need 100% participation and we need your support for 2015. We also hope that this will be an experience that will expand and enhance the spiritual aspect of giving as we renew our commitment to this community. Prayerfully reflect on all that God has given us as you consider your 2015 pledge.

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism;

All Saints' Sunday, November 2

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 2. If you are interested in having a child baptized, or desire baptism for yourself, please contact the Rector at jlparkin@holycomforter.org or at 847/251-6120, ext. 115. The next baptismal feast will be Sunday, January 11, 2015.

Is it All About the Candy?

by Pastor Heath Howe, Family Ministries

I happen to live on one of the busiest streets in Evanston come Halloween. The first year we experienced Halloween on our block, David almost gave out ice as he waited for me to return from Jewel with another 100-piece bag of candy. Read more here...

Laughter

by Mary Johnson, Director, Children's Ministries & All Things Bright & Beautiful

Scientists have spent centuries studying laughter. One conclusion is that it is a mechanism that every human has: laughter is part of the universal vocabulary. Read more here...

Flexing the God-Muscle

by Charlotte Long, Youth Ministry

Recently, a friend of mine in her late 20's contacted me to "chat about God." I told her what St. Augustine says: "If you are looking for God, you've already found God." Read more here...