A Month of Memorable Moments

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

There is so much going on this month at Holy Comforter that I don't even have the space for my normal lead article....

All Saints' Sunday falls this year on November 1. As many will remember, All Saints' Day is one of the seven Major Feasts of the Christian year, and a particular favorite at Holy Comforter (and, after Easter, probably my personal favorite day of the entire church year!) On that day, we will hear some of the most memorable scriptural passages of the entire lectionary cycle, sing some of the most delightful hymns in our Hymnal, and, above all, rejoice in the fact that God has, through our baptism into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, made us all saints of God. It is a day for remembering and being grateful for all those whose examples of holiness and faithfulness guide and inspire us today. All Saints' truly is one of the most joyous days of the year; and this year, we will have the special privilege of welcoming into the family of God Madeleine Marie Paine, daughter of Andrew and Monica Paine, and the granddaughter of Jeff and Barbi Paine; and Conor Shea Young, son of Michael and Carolyn Young, and the grandson of Jim and Margot Igoe. It is also Pledge Sunday, the day when we will give thanks for the financial commitments made in support of our common ministry and our outreach into the community and the world. Don't miss this festive and merry day!

All Souls' Day Commemoration; November 2, 7:00 p.m.
In the New Testament, the word "saints" is used to describe the entire membership of the Christian community, and from very early times, it has been the custom of the Church to set aside All Saints' Day to commemorate all people of faith. Beginning in the tenth century, it became customary to set aside another day-as a sort of extension of All Saints'-on which the Church remembers the faithful of God who have preceded us into the heavenly court; and this day, formally known as the Feast of All Faithful Departed, has become an important time for remembering family members and friends who have died.

As we have for some years now, Holy Comforter will offer a special All Souls' Day liturgy of remembrance and thanksgiving. If you would like to remember a loved one who has died, and especially if you have suffered such a loss this past year, you are encouraged to attend this beautiful Eucharist. The adult choir will sing, and all will be invited to light a votive candle from the Paschal Candle, the symbol of the Resurrection, and place it on the altar. The candles remind us of the light of Christ that neither fades nor fails. We will declare Christ's victory over death: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. We will consecrate the bread and wine in the midst of all those lit candles, in the midst of the fire of the Holy Spirit. Then, when we receive the body and blood of Christ, we will experience that sense of being "in Christ" and know we are not far from those who have gone on before.

Whether you hold in your heart someone who died last week or someone who died decades ago, please join in this moving celebration of the people whom God has given to us as gifts in our lives. A reception, hosted by the Bereavement Committee, will follow the service.

Guest Speakers and Preachers
On three successive Sundays, we will welcome visiting speakers at the Adult Forum: Ellen Katz, the Rev. Mark McIntosh, Ph.D., and the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows. Many will remember Ellen Katz from her appearance last year, when she spoke to the Forum about Hinduism and Buddhism. This year, on November 8, she will present on the Buddhist understanding of the Tao. On November 15, Mark McIntosh, truly one of the preeminent theologians in the Anglican world, and, indeed, in the larger Christian community-especially in the area of spirituality-will both preach at the 9:00 and 11:15 Eucharists and address the forum on Trinitarian spirituality and theology. And, finally, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, one of the senior staff members of the Diocese of Chicago, who preached and taught here over three years ago, will once again be our homilist, and will lead a discussion in the Great Room on racism. Please see Fr. Chris' article for more information on each of these three special events.

 
The Annual Winnetka Interfaith Council Thanksgiving Service is going to take place right here at Holy Comforter on Tuesday evening, November 24, at 7:30 p.m.! Most will remember that we joined the Winnetka Interfaith Council (WIC) about two years ago, and participated in this service last year at the Baha'i House of Worship. This year, we will be the site for the celebration, which will include readings, prayers, and musical offerings from the Christian, Jewish, Baha'i, and Muslim traditions, and will feature an interfaith choir from several congregations, as well as a brass quartet, led by our own Derek Nickels. The preacher for the service will be the Rt. Rev. Christopher Epting, the assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago. Bp. Epting visited Holy Comforter on Pentecost in 2013. He was, for many years, the Ecumenical Officer of the national Episcopal Church, and has been involved in many dialogues, endeavors, programs, and ministries that cross denominational and religious borders. Bp. Epting was the Bishop of Iowa the entire time I served Trinity Church, Iowa City as rector (1991-2000), and is one of my favorite people on the planet. This promises to be a unique experience and offering the likes of which we have not previously hosted at Holy Comforter!
 

Thanksgiving Day, November 26

And then there's our own, homegrown Thanksgiving celebration on the Big Day itself: we will, as we have for many years, begin our day of thanksgiving by offering praise to God, from whom flows all our blessings and delights. The Thanksgiving Day Eucharist, which begins at 10:00 a.m., truly has become a homecoming celebration: it will feature beloved hymns, a simple homily, and the chance to see friends, grown up kids, old neighbors, and others, as, together, we offer our grateful praise to God for all that we are and have and do. Come, join in the celebration of gratitude: this liturgy really is a time of thanks and praise for all ages that is the perfect preparation for an entire day of giving thanks. Thanksgiving Outreach envelopes have been included in paper versions of The Dove to provide another chance to give thanks for all our blessings.

 

 

A lovely and lively month. A time to celebrate our identity as God's children and saints. A time to rejoice and grow. A time to give thanks to the One to whom all thanks is due. And a time to begin our anticipation of, and preparation for, the Coming One. So come, celebrate, rejoice, and give thanks!