FROM YOUR RECTOR
What a wild and unpredictable summer we have been having with humid and hot weather and then torrential rains, followed by flash flooding. Hopefully, everyone has stayed out of harm's way, aside from electrical outages and downed trees and limbs. Please keep those that were less fortunate in your prayers, particularly the victims who lost their homes and family members and were injured by the flooding in Johnson County. I can't fathom watching my home being washed away from rising waters in less than an hour.
Amidst the hot and stormy weather and in addition to our family vacations, this summer has been filled with special worship services at Sterling Meadows Assisted-living facility, the week-long Lemonade Retreat with the teens at Gateway Children's Services, and unique musical vignettes during our offertory, as well as our regular worship services and ministries. It was a joy to see how small groups of committed adults and children were transformed through the grace and love of God into a wonderful growth experience for all involved in these various programs. Every year the Gateway teens share their talents and treasures in a variety of ways. This year, among other things, they designed and painted cloth squares for a quilt. Their art and stories have been on display in the Parish hall. Also, a group of us provided an afternoon Sunday worship service for a small group of faithful residents.
It was a very rewarding experience for all involved. Please join us this winter for this worthwhile ministry.
On a national level, the 87th General Convention of the Episcopal Church just recently ended. The following are some highlights. North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry was the first African-American to be elected as presiding bishop by a landslide. Regarding same-gender marriage, the canons of the church have been changed to be gender-neutral, and two liturgies have been approved. Concerning the budget, General Convention placed racial justice, evangelism and church planting into the forefront of their list of priorities. St. Mark’s, Hazard, in conjunction with the Diocese received one of 55 worldwide UTO grants to sponsor four young adults to live and serve in an intentional spiritual community among the poor of Hazard and Perry County. Major changes to the structure of TEC included reducing the standing commissions from 14 to 2 and clarifying the Presiding Bishop’s role as Chief Personnel Officer.
In Bishop Curry’s sermon at the final Eucharist, his message was clear. We are a part of the JESUS movement, regardless of our age, the color of our skin, our politics, traditionalist or progressive… and we are called to change the world from the nightmare it can be to God’s dream. Our marching orders were: “GO!” Live out the great commandment. Other information can be found at ENS http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/07/07/general-convention-wrap-up-historic-actions-structural-changes/
As you all are aware, Gordon and I will be traveling to Scotland for the month of August for my sabbatical. While we are gone, I have made arrangements for several priests to help with any pastoral emergencies. Jansje Huyck has their names and telephone numbers, so contact her if you need assistance.
When Gordon and I return refreshed and reinvigorated, all of us face a busy fall and winter schedule ahead of us.
In Christ's love,