Top 10 Reasons Children are Welcome in Church

Top Ten Reasons Children are Welcome in Church*

10. We believe repeated exposure to the sights, sounds and symbols of the Eucharist helps form all Christians. Praying shapes believing.

 9. Children have their own unique relationship with God; being in church helps them learn how to pray, listen, sing and worship while they strengthen that special relationship.

 8. It would be really expensive to repaint all those road signs to read “The Episcopal Church Welcomes Only Adults.”

 7. Practice makes perfect!  Helping children enjoy and participate in worship helps them become tomorrow’s active worshiping adults.

 6. Sunday services make great family togetherness time. You can use the quiet space for extra hand-holding or snuggle time lost during a busy week.

 5. Children actually LIKE sitting in those usually-empty front row pews so they can see and hear what’s happening!

4. If children aren’t in church, who are the restless, coughing, whispering, cellphone-ringing adults going to blame for the noise?

3. There are no pop quizzes at the communion rail!  We all experience the Eucharist as mystery…and thanks be to God, you don’t have to be able to explain it in order to benefit from it!

2. Children teach us what absolute joy looks like – and what better place to experience that than in church?

1. And the #1 reason we welcome children in church:  When they don’t come God misses them–and so do we!

 

Blessings throughout these beautiful autumn days,
Mother Candace+
* paraphrase of Tracey Herzer’s article
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Our Souls Know More Than We Do….

As I continue to practice de-cluttering my house as a spiritual exercise, I come upon random papers stashed away for years.  Perhaps you also have had the experience of coming upon a note to yourself, a letter, a poem, written years ago?  It can be a spiritual experience just to reread it.  It can be an opportunity to communicate with your past self, a chance to see the seeds of things that have been growing in you for years, seeds that have struggled to emerge into conscious awareness.  Our souls know more than we do.
Blessings throughout these beautiful autumn days,
Mother Candace+
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“Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness….”

An amazing, inspiring poem in honor of St. Francis whom we celebrated last Sunday:
St. Francis and The Sow

The bud

stands for all things,

even those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as St. Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch blessings of earth on the sow,

and the sow began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking

and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Galway Kinnell 

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Galway Kinnell 

Blessing the Animals

Originally sent 10/3

Today is the actual feast day of St. Francis. It is a “Movable Feast,” and so will be celebrated by many churches–including St. Paul’s–this Sunday.

Having just returned from some hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I can appreciate Francis’ belief that nature is “the mirror of God.”

Francis considered all of the animals to be his “brothers” and “sisters,” and even preached to the birds! Because of his deep love for the earth and all its creatures, Francis embraced everyone, believing he could not call himself a Christian if he did not love all for whom Jesus died.

On his deathbed Francis even thanked his donkey for graciously carrying his burdens, and legend tells us his donkey wept.

God bless us all, as did St. Francis,

Mother Candace+

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Memories of 9/11

As is always the case the week of 9/11, many memories were shared over the last few days…
Larry Neeb told me he had just that day returned home from quadruple bypass surgery, and the first thing he saw on T.V. was the  plane hitting the second tower.  That was a moment for all of us–the moment we knew it was not an accident.
On our Facebook Page Kerri Haack wrote that she remembered: “Hugging Mike when he got to my office after I thought I’d lost him.”
Kyle Smith wrote:  “My sisters neighbor, John Daniel Marshall, was one of the heroes lost that day. He was a NYC firefighter. When my sister moved in her house, I met him her 1st day there – because he was the kind of neighbor who welcomed a new neighbor – and I remember feeling so comforted that my baby sister was in good hands on Westview Avenue. Dan left behind a 3 year old daughter, and a 9 month old son. May he, and all who perished, rest in eternal peace.
And Amanda Olsen shares from Vet school in St. Kitts:  “I was 11 years old sitting in science class when another teacher ran in and turned on the tv in time to see the second plane hit the towers. I remember making my parents’ anniversary dinner that I had planned for days and my parents trying to enjoy it even though no one was in the mood for celebrations. And I remember thinking that a day that should have been one of joyous memories for my family had become one of terror and confusion.
There are more memories of 9/11 on our facebook page We’d love to hear yours too!
Have a blessed week!  Mother Candace+
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How to Declutter Your Life

A month ago John proposed we throw out one thing every day.  It was a great idea. In the process I had a real Holy Spirit moment when I tackled an old pile of papers and uncovered a little pamphlet near the bottom titled, “Decluttering as a Spiritual Exercise.”  It was prophetic. 
 
Throwing out (or giving away) at least one thing a day has not only decluttered our home, but uncovered many lost memories: old family photos, interesting old “to-do” lists, books I wanted to read, TWO pairs of glasses I thought were lost forever, a notebook full of dreams, etc. etc. ETC.!  
 
Throwing out/giving away at least one thing a day has led to old places and new, old goals and new, old thoughts and new. It has indeed become a wonderfully refreshing spiritual exercise, which I highly recommend.
 
Want to share your spiritual experience of decluttering? Go to our facebook page and join the community discussion.   
Have a blessed week!  Mother Candace+ 
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Declaring Our Independence

 Today we celebrate our declaration of  independence, which freed us from English government, but also  inadvertently led to a break with the Church of England (“Ecclesia Anglicana”). Because Church  of England clergy were required to swear allegiance to the British monarch, and the clergy in America were not willing to do so, the Episcopal Church was formed. It became the first of many “Anglican Provinces” outside the British Isles, which eventually formed the Worldwide Anglican Communion.
With approximately 80 million members around the globe, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian Church in the world, after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches
Some churches in the Anglican Communion are known as “Anglican,” such as the Anglican Church of Canada.  Others, like our church and the Scottish church, use the name “Episcopal,” which literally means “having bishops.” Regardless of their name, all of the churches  in the Worldwide Anglican Communion are in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Happy Independence Day!  Mother Candace+ 

Same Sex Marriage

Bishop Dietsche’s Statement 

on Yesterday’s Supreme Court Ruling

June 26, 2013

As all the world now knows, today the Supreme Court made two historic decisions related to the legal rights and standing of those in the LGBT community, by striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and by dismissing the appeal against the lower court decision in California which makes provision for same sex marriage in that state. In the annals of the struggle for civil and human rights, and for the recognition of the equality of all people, today will be remembered as a milestone of justice and righteousness. On behalf of the Diocese of New York, I join with those who have worked so hard for so long to guarantee rights for gay and lesbian couples in celebration of these important decisions and what they will mean. I am confident that the day is coming when marriage equality will become the law everywhere in America, and I am sure that the events of this day, our day, will further the pursuit of those just ends.

Certainly, for same sex couples in our own state and diocese, the abolition of DOMA opens the way for the breaking down of the final barriers to full equality and freedom for same-sex couples. I am proud that in various ways this diocese has made its witness that such equality is truly of God, and speak for our whole community in offering our thanks today to the United States Supreme Court, and to those who have tirelessly pressed the case before that court, and we offer our congratulations and best wishes to all those whose lives will be enlarged and blessed by the events of this day.

 

The Right Reverend Andrew M.L. Dietsche

Bishop of New York

 

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Finally! The Trinity explained!

Andrew’s mom, Amy, sent this picture of his block version of “The Trinity.” Andrew explained the three crosses as “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…the tallest one is the Holy Spirit.”

andrew

I have noted several times during our monthly Children’s Sermon that we have some “budding theologians” in our midst–and this certainly seems to prove it! Despite years and years of debate at the Council of Nicea, I honestly don’t think the Greeks ended up describing the Trinity any better. The term they ultimately settled on in our Creed for the “three in one” aspect of Father/Son/Spirit is “homoousia,” which translates “one being,” or “one substance.”

Too bad Andrew wasn’t around in 325 to help the Greek Fathers–as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Have a blessed week! Mother Candace+

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Childhood Mystical Experiences

It is a common practice in the Episcopal Church to call the children forward to witness a Baptism at close range, as we will do this Sunday.  I still remember the first Baptism I witnessed as a child of four or five–or at least I remember one moment of that Baptism when I looked around and realized I was surrounded by the most beautiful stained glass and marble, and the air seemed suddenly charged with an energy I had never experienced.  In some amazing and terrifying way everything seemed to be connected to everything in that moment.
Of course I was too little–or too awestruck–to articulate that experience to anyone at the time, but it has remained with me all my life. To this day I believe it to be my first experience of God.
Maybe you had what some would call a “mystical experience” as a child–what the great Anglican writer Evelyn Underhill describes as “a sense of the oneness of all being.”  It is actually not uncommon for children to have such experiences, though they seldom articulate them until much later in life. You may or may not have related such an experience to God, but it’s something to consider…and I’d love to hear about it sometime!
Yours in Christ, Mother Candace+
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