The Rector's Column

Mitres, Teenagers, Hearing Voices, and Seeing Red

On Sunday, May 19, we will celebrate the great Day of Pentecost, one of the great Feasts in the Church calendar, and our own parish feast day. We will be specially blessed this year to welcome the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago, for a Visitation, during which he will preach and preside at the 9:00 and 11:15 Eucharists, and celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation with the students from this year's Confirm Not Conform class. It is going to be a wonderful and exciting day for all.

Bp. Epting, as I have mentioned before, is making his first Visitation to Holy Comforter, as he only began his ministry as the Assistant Bishop a little over a year ago. Prior to that time, he served as the Officer for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Episcopal Church following 12 years as the Bishop of Iowa. Bp. Epting was my Bishop the entire 9½ years I was Rector of Trinity Church, Iowa City, and is a deeply beloved person in my life and journey. It will be a great personal joy to welcome him to Holy Comforter.

On Pentecost, we will alter our morning routine to a degree: the times for the liturgies will remain unchanged, but we will focus on Confirmation at the 11:15 Eucharist, as we rejoice with the 20 teenagers making mature professions of faith. There will not be an Adult Forum that day, but, rather, a baptismal reception. Our schedule for the morning will be:

     8:00 Holy Eucharist
     9:00 Holy Eucharist, Bp. Epting presiding and preaching
     10:00 Reception in the Great Room
     11:15 Holy Eucharist with Confirmation, Bp. Epting presiding and preaching
     12:15 Confirmation party in the Great Room

If we do not have any baptisms at the 9:00 service, we will simply hold a reception in the Great Room, perhaps asking the Bishop to say a few words before he goes to meet with the Confirmands in the Library prior to the 11:15 liturgy. Whatever the schedule, I know that all will love having Bp. Epting with us.

To make the day even more festive, please plan to wear red, the color of Pentecost! And if you are able to read along with one of the scripture passages in a foreign language, please let me know at your earliest convenience. Let's open ourselves to the Spirit on Pentecost, and celebrate the birthday of the Church, the journey of our young people, and the Feast Day of Holy Comforter!

Confirm Not Conform

Did you know that the name of the confirmation preparation program we use at Holy Comforter is "Confirm Not Conform?" This curriculum, which was created by St. John's Church, Oakland, CA, but which is now administered nationally, is a delightful, rather comprehensive course designed to provoke young people to investigate what they truly believe; to challenge-in a healthy, supported way-and enter more deeply the traditions that have formed them; to create a sense of community with one another; and to have some good, old-fashioned fun. The curriculum is designed for high school students, but we have adapted it for use with our 7th and 8th graders.

Much more important than the curriculum, however, are the students who have taken part this winter and spring in Confirm Not Conform. Please pray between now and Pentecost-well, and always after, as well!-for

Gretchen Beatty
Wallace Butler
Sarah Caywood
Carlyn Chrabaszcz
Jacob Chrabaszcz
Scott Citari
Sophie Civetta
Patrick Drake
Will Duquette
Lauren Johnson
Sam Leiter
Lucas Lind
Kendall Lobo
Jack Mangel
Addie Newsome
Hilton Prewitt
Carynn Randolph
Henry Shaw
Ingrid Wall
Mackenzie Wilkin

These young people have been an unusually delightful group: funny, smart, insightful, occasionally irreverent, lively, noisy, and stimulating. Walking with them has been a huge joy for Bill Haljun and Fr. Jason, their leaders. Please rejoice with these young people, and their families, as they progress further on their journeys of faith!

Fr. Wayne Johnson Memorial Service; May 11

As most in the parish are aware, Fr. Wayne Johnson, the Rector of Holy Comforter from 1971 to 1986, died on January 2 just before his 94th birthday. A funeral was held later that week at Trinity Church, Rock Island, Fr. Johnson's spiritual home in retirement (and the church he served as Rector before coming to Holy Comforter). We are also going to have a celebration of his life here on Saturday, May 11, at 11:00 a.m., with interment in the columbarium and a reception following. Fr. Myers-who served under Fr. Johnson as both curate and associate-will return to preach. Following the liturgy and inurnment (interment in the Columbarium), there will be a reception in the Great Room hosted by our Bereavement Committee. All who knew and loved Fr. Johnson will surely want to attend if possible, and to greet Marie and their family; so please make a special point to add this date to your schedules.