Stories of our life at Good Shepherd.
ASSOCIATE RECTOR’S REFLECTIONS
By The Rev. Bill Bennett
“Adoration, Formation, Transformation”
Fr. Steve Rice, Rector of St. Timothy’s Church in Winston-Salem, a vital and growing parish in our Diocese, shared with us, during our Wednesday evening Lenten program last night, his experience of how a contemporary engagement with the Anglo-Catholic tradition has brought renewal and a new sense of mission and celebration to his parish Church. At the heart of their life together as a parish community are the values of “Adoration, Formation, and Transformation” which you will encounter immediately on going to their website: http://sttimothysws.org/. Fr. Steve used some audio-visual aids to show us how the Solemn High Mass is being celebrated at St. Tim’s (parts of this can be viewed on St. Tim’s website). Fr. Steve added this service as a third Sunday service in addition to their 8:00 am service and their principle service, which was previously celebrated at 10:30 am but was moved to 9:00 am, with the Solemn High service celebrated at 11:00 am. Fr. Steve noted that young adults were very much involved in this service both as communicants and as liturgical lay ministers. He spoke also about how the statistical decline in the Episcopal Church’s average Sunday attendance may in some part be related to a loss of a sense of adoration in worship, which is at the heart of the celebration of the Solemn High Mass and the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Next week, Fr. Richard Cornish Martin, Assistant at St. Timothy’s Church here in Raleigh, former Rector of “flagship” Anglo-Catholic parish St. Paul’s K Street in Washington DC, Superior of the Society of Mary (Anglican/Episcopal) and author of a Forward Movement tract on the Blessed Virgin Mary, will speak with us about the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Anglo-Catholic belief and devotion.
Download Fr. Steve's power point presentation from his Wednesday evening Lenten program.
If you are unable to open this download, please e-mail The Rev. Bill Bennett to obtain a copy.
Associate Rector's Reflections
Christ’s Advent Meets our Yearning
“Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come among us…” Collect for Third Sunday of Advent
“Now is the time for you to wake out of sleep, for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11
“Advent is the season of watching and waiting for the coming of God. We recall his promise to come among us in power and great glory, and prepare for his coming in judgement at the end of all things, his coming in the child of Bethlehem in fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah and others, and his coming among us now. How shall we recognize him? Will we be caught napping like the foolish virgins? Will we be sheep or goats? Would we – will we – have the nerve to say yes when the angel comes and taps us on the shoulder, like Mary when Gabriel came to her? – Santcliffe, David (Bishop of Salsibury), THE PILGRIM PRAYER BOOK
The days of Advent, leading up to the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord at Christmas, gives us an opportunity to resist the commercialism, and to some extent, the empty sentimentalism of the secular “Christmas Season” (What used to be measured in “shopping days” – but now isn’t every day between now and Christmas a “shopping day?”) But this time of Advent can be so much more. In Advent, we can even bless, consecrate, and redeem some of the “Happy Holiday” season we find ourselves caught up in. Many of us do have gifts to buy, parties to go to, holiday meals to prepare, guests to welcome. Renouncing all these things may be for some who seek a deeper and truer experience of this holy season, but that kind of ascetical discipline has, in the experience of Christian spirituality down the ages, been the calling of the monastic, the heremetic (hermits), and the mystical few. They are bright lights, and their witness gives us a foretaste and a hope for a time and a place just over the horizon, where all things are made new. Their witness is a sign of hope which is God’s gift to all of us. Meanwhile, most folks, like I know I am, and expect most of you are, find ourselves perhaps with a more mundane calling, yet with hearts that yearn… for what we may not be quite sure. But we who gather each Sunday and at other times as God’s household, the Eucharistic Body of Christ, the Church, may find reliable signposts that guide us on a journey into the mist which is the mystery of God’s purpose with us and among us, where Life, Time, and Space are redeemed – even the Life, Time and Space of a secular, commercial Christmas. Advent, for us in the Northern Hemisphere a time of increasing darkness, brings the news that a light is breaking in, even into Christmas commercialism. Space, Time, and Life – our lives, all life – are being redeemed and made new. The child in themanger, who will bear the entire human condition, even poverty and rejection, even suffering and death, comes to us, dwells with us, even within our deepest fears and hurts, and gives us a paradoxical Good Friday to redeem all the Black Fridays. I try to keep each and every member of this blessed community of Good Shepherd in my heart day by day, but you are so in a special way during this season of Advent. I pray you will receive the gifts God has for you in this time. One small, practical way are through some special Advent devotional material which is available to you in several locations in the Church and parish life center. Please pick one or more up when you come either to Colin’s ordination on Wednesday or to Eucharist on Sunday. See also this Advent resource from Episcopal CREDO.
Be sure to check out one of the many fine books that are on display in our Library for your Advent reading. Other Advent selections can be found on the Library shelves and listed in the purple Advent folder you'll find there.
“We are moving into the season of Advent, and for must of us, this will mean that we are in a “waiting” mode – but waiting for what?
…Believe that you are being given a special invitation by God to give this time to meet him. You meet God in the deepest dimension of your heart. There you are at your truest and best self. Ask for the gift of a silent heart to be able to hear God’s whisper there. Then you will catch on to what God wishes for you this Christmastide.” – SACRED SPACE: FOR ADVENT AND THE CHRISTMAS SEASON 2012-2013 “An Advent Retreat”
Advent Peace and Blessings, Bill Bennett
The Rector' Ramblings...October 18, 2012
As we move toward the second half of October, I want to continue with some thoughts about how we live into the commitment that comes to us through baptism. Last week I shared the first of three special ways we can live into that commitment that have their basis in statements made by St. Paul in the twelfth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. The second statement given to the Christians in Rome is, “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly…” (Romans 12: 16)
As Christians with genuine love for one another, we are to be a welcoming community. Those who come to us are treated as brothers and sisters in Christ. We do not rate someone’s value by their economic standing, but by the fact that they are a child of God just as we are and by the fact there is a true sense of dignity in them. Never are we to look down our noses at those who are less fortunate, the day worker, the migrant worker, and the homeless. We must always be willing to reach out to them with the message of love and power that is found in the Gospel.
For the past couple of weeks. The Rev. Dr. Colin Miller has been teaching a course to help prepare us to go beyond the doors of Good Shepherd into the community around us. I encourage you to attend the remaining classes in Colin’s course as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty; but associate with the lowly…”
The Rector's Ramblings...Oct. 14, 2012
Last week, as an introduction to what many of us refer to as “Stewardship Month,” I began to share some thoughts about how we live into the commitment that comes to us through baptism. As I stated, “For me one of the ways I live into that commitment is through my financial stewardship. “
This week I want to share the first of three other special ways we can live into that commitment. These special ways have their basis in statements made by St. Paul in the twelfth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. The first statement given to the Christians in Rome is, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:9-11)
This first statement is the benchmark for life in the church. We who are loved by the Lord must live lives that are manifestations of this love not only to our brothers and sisters here in this parish but for those beyond the doors as well. People must know that we are Christians by our love. One of the great joys for me at Good Shepherd comes in the joy I feel in our worship time together. I can feel the power of God’s love in this place. It is real and it continually renews and strengthens my life and I pray the life of each of you as well.
God’s love for me makes me want to reach out to others in love so that they too might know the power of God’s wonderful embrace. May this be the week when each of us begins anew to reach out to others in love inviting all we meet to join with us in this great community of faith and love that we know as the Church of the Good Shepherd.
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