THE DOVE September 2010

Faith, Hope and Love

Holy Comforter begins a new programmatic year this month. The following is a reflection by Father Chris Hardman on why church and church school are so important for all of us.

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;...
                                                        (I Corinthians 13:13)

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth because it was in big trouble. Some members, who could speak in tongues, thought they were better than everyone else. Conflict arose and the church was about to fall apart. So, Paul writes them a letter where he says no gift is any better than any other, all are necessary to build up the Body of Christ. And then he proclaimed that all those gifts and everything else would fade away. Only faith, hope, and love abide. So, strive for these higher gifts.

What do we mean by faith, hope, and love? New Testament professor, William Countryman, in his book The Good News of Jesus explains them very well. "Faith is trust that the message of God's forgiving love is true." Faith is trust in the "good news" that God loves you unconditionally. Faith means we trust that God is in our midst loving us, caring for us, and forgiving us, and that empowers us to come together in right relationship with God and one another.

Most people, however, do not trust that. Most of us experience a world of conditional love that moves us to think that the world is hostile and threatening. We grow suspicious of one another and try to gain advantage over one another, just like the Corinthians. We also build up barriers of protection and security against all those "hostile" forces out there. That is the origin of greed, violence, revenge, scapegoating, racism, sexism, consumerism, and all those isms that keep us enslaved and divided. But, instead of protecting us, they destroy us because they alienate us from one another.

"Hope is the expectation that God's forgiving and reconciling love for you and the world will continue." We believe that God is active in our lives, reconciling the world through Jesus. Every time we see God working in our midst, it engenders hope. Every time we see someone forgive someone who has hurt them, or reach out to someone in need, or receive the unexpected grace of God that heals us, hope is engendered. Most of us begin life by hoping that God will give us what we want. But that is not Christian hope. "Christian hope is that God will help us to grow in God's forgiving reconciling love."

"Faith and hope find their meaning in love-now and always." God's unconditional love and forgiveness given to us empowers us to love God and to love each other. "Love of God consists not in a certain set of feelings nor in respectability or knowledge. This love consists, fundamentally, in sharing your life with God." Your life is a partnership with God in love. That is our common vocation.

We live out that vocation together in the church. It is that life together that strengthens faith, hope, and love in our lives. John Westerhoff points out that God grants us those three gifts in the Eucharist. They are also the goal and purpose of our community activities, our outreach, our education offerings, and especially our church school.

Faith, hope, and love are not qualities engendered by the world. The world promotes those things that keep us divided. Faith, hope, and love, on the other hand, can lead us out from under the power of those alienating forces and into fullness of life together.

So, which do you want for yourself? Which do you want for your children?  A new year is beginning. Now is a good time to decide.

We hope you will come join us.

A Just Harvest

Through our Soup Kitchen Ministry, Holy Comforter is a long-time supporter of A Just Harvest's Community Kitchen (formerly the Good News Soup Kitchen). The Community Kitchen serves hot, nutritious meals 365 days per year to anyone in need. With the economy weak, and unemployment still high, this need is growing. Last year, the Community Kitchen served more than 54,000 meals, and volunteers from Holy Comforter shopped for, cooked and served over 2100 of these meals.

Volunteering is easy, and it doesn't take much time. If you can shop, or if you can boil water, or if you can spoon food on to a plate and smile then you have what it takes to volunteer! The Soup Kitchen takes place the 3rd Saturday of every month and CHC volunteers cook the meal in our church kitchen - a delicious and simple pasta dish -- and serve the meal at the Community Kitchen in Chicago (near the Howard St "L", just south of Evanston). The time commitment for the cooking is 2:00-3:15pm, and serving is typically 4:00-6:00pm. Shopping, cooking and serving are usually done by separate groups of volunteers led by an experienced volunteer.

Every time you volunteer for this ministry, you are helping to feed between 150 and 200 people. If you can spare an hour, or two, or eight on one or more Saturday's during the next year, then please volunteer. Look for a Soup Kitchen schedule and a volunteer sign-up card in the fall mailing. Just check one or more Saturdays that you can serve and what job you want to do (shop, cook and/or serve) and return the volunteer card to the parish office by September 15. If you have any further questions please contact the parish office.

Foyer Groups Re-Group

In the spring 2009, seven Foyer Groups were formed, several of which continue to meet. There is an interest in forming new groups this fall. If you would like to join a new group, or if your current group could use additional members, please contact the Community Life office by September 15. 

Foyer Groups are not a study or prayer group, they have no agenda other than spending time with one another, which is important for building Christian community. They simply provide time to be with one another so that friendship may grow. The uniqueness of the Foyer Group is its lack of formal structure and its openness of communication.

Upcoming Events

To register for any event, go to registration>>>

September 18
  FLEX YOUR MUSCLES  7:30am-4:30pm
This team building event is open to ALL women regardless of age or ability!
September 25  FAMILY FALL FESTIVAL  10:00am-Noon
Join us for a hayride through town.  Locally grown apples and pumpkins will be for sale. A fun event for all ages!
Be sure to purchase your tickets for this annual outreach event; tickets may be used on either or both day and can be purchased online. Volunteers are needed to work the days of the event. 

Full Schedule Resumes

Our full schedule of Sunday liturgies and Christian formation resumes on Sunday, September 12.  More information on all our programs and events is available throughout our website; printed materials are available in the church parlor.

The Sunday schedule is as follows:
   8:00am    Holy Eucharist [Rite I]
   9:00am    Holy Eucharist [Rite II with more contemporary music]
                  Children's Chapel & Formation [Grade 3 & under] 
  10:00am    Adult Forus & Children's/Youth Formation
  11:15am    Holy Eucharist [Rite II]
Nursery care is available from 8:45-11:00am.

With the beginning of our new program year, volunteers for  parish ministries and outreach missions, and participation in educational and fellowship events are always needed and welcomed.  Be sure to check out all the parish has to offer.

In the Vineyard

We joyfully announce the birth . . .
• John Nicholas Kropp to Michael and Anne Relias Kropp on July 31.  8lb 12oz John is Linda and John Relias' grandson.

We express our sympathy to . . .
• The Coley and Schaefer families on the death of Jane Graham, Jane Coley's mother, on August 4.
• The Washburn family on the death of Char's mother, Florence Smith, on August 5.
• The Raymond and Martin families on the death of Anne Martin on August 6.

We congratulate . . .
•  Jack Quigley on his selection as co-rector for New Beginnings, the Diocese of Chicago's junior high school program.
• Elizabeth D'Arcy who was named to Kenyon College's Merit List for academic achievement.

Time for Women

Today's woman has a demanding schedule and a hectic lifestyle. She's busy working, volunteering, keeping fit, caring for her children, her spouse and her home. Time for Women is an opportunity for Christian fellowship in the midst of a busy life. Women of all ages meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 PM for dinner and conversation. The responsibility of organizing each gathering rotates among the team leaders. The majority of the dinners are at local restaurants and occasionally at someone's home. Reservations are required. If you are interested in Time for Women, and would like more information please contact the parish office. 

Thursday Bible Study

By Father Chris Hardman

I grew up in the Baptist Church which is about as Protestant as they come. Some Sundays you would think we were worshipping Paul rather than Jesus. Most Baptist preachers back then just loved Paul's Epistles and so most of their preaching reflected that fact.

After I graduated from college and joined the Episcopal Church, I still heard a lot about Paul. Although by this time most of it was negative. The women's liberation movement was in full swing and some of Paul's comments were condemned by some and, of course, extolled by others. It was an interesting time to say the least. The result seemed to be, at least in my circles, a marginalization of Paul's Epistles in general.

In seminary, however, I began to gain a new appreciation for Paul. I began to realize that our tendency is to read Paul from our twentieth or twenty first century perspective rather than to read him in the context of his own time. If you read Paul from a first century perspective, you can see that he is greatly influenced by Jesus and is, in fact, on the same trajectory as Jesus. Like the 16th Century Reformers discovered, Paul has much to say to us that can be quite transforming.

This fall I would like to look at Paul's theology through the lenses of his time and ours. His letters were written to specific churches that were dealing with specific problems. I think we have the same problems today, and so his letters have something very important and timely to say to us and our culture as well.

Then in January, I would like to address another idea that was much discussed in the Baptist church where I grew up, "the end of time". Beginning in the 1960's and through about 2000, I can remember at least eight specific predictions of Jesus' second coming and the end of time. I recall one in particular. The prediction was for the end to come on a Wednesday in November and about half of the school-age kids in our town stayed home that day!

Predicting Jesus' second coming and the end of time has been going on for nearly 2000 years. In 1971, it gained enormous momentum with the publishing of The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. It is interesting to me to note that, while the world did not end in the way people thought it would, it did end. The world of the 1940's and 50's that some of us remember is no longer around. A new world has emerged. Fancy that!

My winter term, therefore, will focus on the end of time. We will use the Book of Revelation as our main text and will try to find out what the literature that speaks about the end is really saying.

Both sessions will be based in the Bible but will incorporate a multimedia approach including movies, television, books, and advertising. The fall session will begin on Thursday, September 9, and end on December 10. The winter session will begin on January 13 and end in the first week in May. I hope you will join us.

News from Our Directors

Reflections on Community Life: "The Beginning of the End"
by Patti Pateros, Community Building

Formation Principles: "One Filled with Joy"
by Mary Johnson, Children's & Youth Ministries

Music Notes: "A New Plainsong"
by Derek Nickels, Music

Rector's Message >>>