The Tower

Trinity in the snow! 1/29/2019

 As we remain closed….

FOR EASTER VII

Dear Friends,

At the Vestry meeting on Tuesday evening, we made tentative plans to resume worship services.  Our plans are contingent on the requirement that new covid 19 cases continue to decline.  Obviously, from the reports of the last two days, that is not the case for us.   So, we will wait.  It is so important that we put safety first in the midst of this pandemic, something none of us have ever seen before.  That is the way we best love and care for each other.   This weekend please remember in your prayers all of those who have served in our armed forces to protect our country, particularly those who have given their lives.  Remember, too, the sick, the grieving, those who continue to serve on the front lines, all who are lonely and afraid.  Continue to reach out to each other.  Be grateful for the beauty of Spring and for all our many blessings.  Counting our blessing cures a multitude of ills.  

GT

THE LESSONS:

Acts 1:6-14

I Peter 4:12-1, 5:6-11

John 17:1-11

A HOMILY

Today is the Sunday after the Feast of the Ascension which was Thursday (see the lesson form acts this morning).  We know the story.  Jesus took his closest friends to a mountaintop and there they watched him ascend into Heaven on a cloud.  Knowing what we know of cosmology and the structure of the universe, to modern ears the story of Jesus’ Ascension seems but a fantastic tale.  Clouds can’t carry people.  To where would the cloud have carried Him?  But, to the disciples and those others present, to their cosmology, it all made great sense.  It was a marvelous affirmation of who Jesus was, the Son of God.  Jesus went back to where he belonged, to Heaven, to the very heart of God Himself. 

For some, this story of the Ascension is a great barrier to their belief.  For me, the story is very comforting.  God used even their ignorance and lack for knowledge to draw them to Himself.  That being true, it means that God can and will use even my ignorance to draw me to Him from where I am able to really see.

The reality and experience of the Ascension was particularly important to the early Church, so much so that it became a part of each creed.  The importance for them was that Jesus went back to where He came from.  As one meme on Facebook said this week, “He went to work from Home.”  Jesus went to His rightful place, to the very heart and life of God, to His rightful place in the Godhead.  His presence there changed everything.  In the doctrine of the Ascension, we affirm that Jesus, just as He was, fully human and fully divine, entered into the heart of God.  That means that all of the ways that Jesus is just like us entered fully and completely into the divine life of God.  There are at least three reason that fact is so important.

First, it means that Jesus, God, knows us fully and deeply, like no other.  He was “tempted as we are”.  The one “to whom all desires are known and from whom no secrets are hid”.  There in the very heart of God, as a part of His life is humanity, too, is a depth of understanding and empathy for us that only God can provide.  Notice that Jesus took with Him the scars of His crucifixion.   His scars were one of the ways the disciples identified Him after the Resurrection.  Certainly, if God could raise Him from the dead and give Him a body that went through locked doors, He could also have healed the marks of His deepest pain, but He chose not to.  All the pain, all the scars, all the grief and fear of us humans went with Jesus in the Ascension.

The second reason is perhaps best summarized by a line from one of my favorite hymns, “And when human hearts are breaking under sorrow’s iron rod.  There we find that self-same aching deep within the heart of God.”  How can we dare made that bold affirmation?  Because Jesus, in the very heart of God Himself knows that kind of heartache, anguish, and pain.  In the awesomeness of His love for us He chose not to discount our suffering or tell us to “buck up”.  Rather, He chooses to be with us in the midst of it, always working and promising new and Resurrections life out of it.

  Finally, the Ascension means that Jesus is no longer bound by the constraints of time and space.  “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the age” is His promise to the disciples and us in the Ascension story in St. Matthew’s Gospel.  Now, the promise can be fully possible and realized.  He who has loved us to death, who longs to be with us, can actually do so out of the bounds and bonds of this mortal life, operating as He does from the very heart of God.

The Ascension.  It is terrible, but comforting, cosmology.  God uses even our ignorance to draw us to Him.  Jesus, fully human, fully divine, completes the story of salvation “back at home”, in the very heart of God.  From there He loves us, protects us, cares for us and leads us to Resurrection life in this world and finally home to be with Him, where He is, in the very heart of God.

AMEN

SOME PRAYERS:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ
ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:
Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his
promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end
of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory
everlasting. Amen.

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son
Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to
strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior
Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art
 God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring

forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I

am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still,

help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it

patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. 

Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit

of Jesus.  Amen.

O God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts
of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold
and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend
them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both
they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together
by thy love in the communion of thy Holy Spirit, and in the
fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who walks on wounded feet walk with you to the end of the road.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who serves with wounded hands help you to serve each other.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who loves with a wounded heart help you to love each other and your neighbors. 

Praise God wherever you may go and may you see the face of God in everyone you meet.

And the blessing of God Almighty: Father Son and Holy Spirit be with you this day and always.  AMEN

a note from the Editor…I apologize for updating this Sundays service so late…. I lost track of what day it was….

FOR EASTER VI

Dear Friends,

We continue our care and isolation in the face of this virus.  By now many of us are becoming most impatient and we have begun to wonder when it will end and what it will be like.  There are many who are fear mongering, many who are chaffing at restriction, and so very many helping.  I am convinced that patience is our friend these days.  We do not know what the future will look like exactly, but we do know that we will have each other and Lord with us.  We will be OK. 

Our Vestry will meet by zoom this coming Tuesday evening.  One of the items on the agenda will be conversation about our reopening and having services again.  Our Bishop has sent us some guidelines and I have been closely monitoring the Health Department’s reporting and advice.  We continue to work to have our beautiful trees cared for, the Chapel roof repaired, and some other maintenance things cared for.  At this point we are awaiting proposals for the work so that we have some prices in hand.  That too will be part of the Vestry’s work on Tuesday. 

Please keep in touch.  It gets awfully quiet at the Office.  Please let us know if we can help in any way.

GT

THE LESSONS

Acts 17:22-31

I Peter 3:13-22

John 14:15-21

A HOMILY

Today is the original Earth Day.  It is the beginning of Rogationtide.  It is a time set aside to ask God’s blessing on the seedtime and planting.  If we were able to gather, we would be going outside at the end of the service to pray the Rogation prayers (some included here today).    It is more, however, than asking God to work His magic.  The day also points us to our connectedness to all creation of which we are literally a part. What happens to creation happens to us.  If we pay attention to ourselves, we can easily see that reality.  Our mood and energy levels rise and fall with the weather.  Who doesn’t feel better on a warm, sunny day?    We can feel ourselves rising in the Spring as all around us awakens.  Evelyn Underhill often spoke of the “mysterious interpenetration of every living thing”.  Richard Rohr describes Creation as the first incarnation of God.  In the Gospel this morning, Jesus seems to say that it is the person of the Holy Spirit, God Himself who infiltrates and connects all things through His constant act of loving us and His world.  As Paul point out in Acts, “in Him we live and move and have our being”. 

The implications of this truth are perhaps innumerable.   Richard Rohr also goes on to say that Jesus becomes incarnate to show us what has really been true all along.  We are all intimately connected.  Love is the way of all creation.  God is always here and involved deeply and intimately immersed in creation and in us.    Perhaps that is why Jesus is so anxious in this part of his farewell address this morning to speak to his disciples of the deep and abiding reality of the love of God.  The path forward he showed them was pretty simple.  “You will keep my commandments”.  Now that is a dangerous phrase for us 21st century Christians.  Dangerous because we are so adept at keeping rules and laws, meeting requirements.  Do this, we are taught, and you will be successful, respected, loved, acceptable.  Sometimes, the problem, though, is that Jesus didn’t really leave us any laws or rules or requirements.  (The Church and churches, by the way, have been incredibly adept at formulating them, however.) When asked about his commandments, He quoted ancient Hebrews, ‘Love, love God, love your neighbor”.  Then He consistently added one more.  “Do not be afraid”, because fear is always the antithesis of love.  When He was pushed for more, Jesus told parables with levels and levels and layers of meaning and reached out to bless, to heal and to show us what the Kingdom of God all around us is really like.  The point, he showed us again and again, was always reaching up and out, beyond ourselves to love ourselves, God, and one another without fear or conditions.  That is why the reality to which Rogationtide points us is so important.   It is only when we can begin to recognize our intimate interconnectedness with all that is that the necessity of loving becomes so real for us.  Who and what we are and do matters, because who and what we do and are affects the whole, the entirety of all that is, the quality of the created order.  There is no question that love gives way more life than fear or hate. 

Finally, we cannot leave this day without an enormous sense of gratitude.  When we contemplate creation, our intimate interconnectedness, the possibilities of loving, we stand squarely in the presence of Holy Mystery.  Holy Mystery so vast and marvelous and wondrous, we can only gaze in awe and wonder.  From the seeds that crawl up out of the soil to blossom, to the sun and moon and stars in their courses, it is indeed a beautiful and wonderful world of which we are apart  Gratitude is the only real response to that.  Go outside today.  Look, really look at all that lies about us.  Pray the Rogation prayers and marvel, just marvel at all God has made, including you and me, and give humble, heartfelt thanks for all that is and all you are.

AMEN

SOME PRAYERS

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good
things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such
love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above
all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we
can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray
that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our
use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper
all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly
receiving good things from your hand, may always give you

Thanks, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, on God for ever and ever.  Amen

O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the
needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for
your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the
account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards
of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with
you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, Creator of all things and

giver of all life, let your blessing be upon our seedtime

and planting and grant that we may serve to your glory

and the welfare of your people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us
from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the
kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he
has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal
joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art
 God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring

forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I

am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still,

help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it

patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. 

Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit

of Jesus.  Amen.

O God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts
of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold
and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend
them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both
they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together
by thy love in the communion of thy Holy Spirit, and in the
fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who walks on wounded feet walk with you to the end of the road.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who serves with wounded hands help you to serve each other.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who loves with a wounded heart help you to love each other and your neighbors. 

Praise God wherever you may go and may you see the face of God in everyone you meet.

And the blessing of God Almighty: Father Son and Holy Spirit be with you this day and always.  AMEN

FOR EASTER V

Dear Friends,

How I continue to miss you and wish we could get back to worshipping together.  How precious that which we took for granted becomes when we are no longer able to do it.  However, our Covid 19 numbers continue to increase in the Eastern Panhandle and gathering is still limited to five people.  Our Bishop has extended our “closure” until May 30, hoping that in person worship can begin on Pentecost.  It all depends on our unseen enemy.  Our singular goal must be to keep each other as safe and well as possible.  The day will come.  This too will pass.  In the meantime, work continues apace here at the Church.  Many have been out doing yard work and it is lovely.  I am grateful many have sent their contributions and financially we have all the bills paid.  How blessed we are!  We have discovered some problems with the Chapel roof this week and have begun the process of ascertaining how best to fix them.  More later I am sure.  Sunday is Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to all.  It is also a day when I always remember all of those who have never given birth but have nurtured and cared for me along the way as well as my Mom.  There is no day for “other mothers” but I am exceedingly grateful to them.  Please continue to pray for all those who are sick, for all who are caring for them, for all the first responders and those on the front lines, and for each other for safety and peace in this time  Though we cannot know exactly what the future holds we do know that our Lord goes with us into it.  Stay well.  Please be in touch if you need anything.

GT

THE LESSONS

Acts 7: 55-60

I Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

A HOMILY

This season of Easter is all about the wondrous, marvelous promise of Resurrection Life.  It is a promise so evident in these words of Jesus in the Gospel to his disciples this morning.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many dwelling places.  If it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”  A place for us.  Home.  What we call Heaven.  Perfect reunification with God in Jesus in the great hereafter.  We look forward to it.  It is where we are headed.  Jesus’ promise is true.  We have his word and He doesn’t ever forget us.

Now, if that were all, it would certainly be enough, but wonder of wonders, it is not all.   The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus are not just some kind of cosmic pay off for our misdeeds and sins so that we can get to Heaven.  Nor is the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus ever about our right and good behavior so that we can somehow be counted worthy to get there.  For if either of those were true, first of all we deny the depth and pervasiveness of our sinfulness and, secondly, we make God into that which he refuses to be:  some kind of absent tyrant who keep score of rights and wrongs.  And finally, that theology denies God’s power, since finally and ultimately it is we who determine our fate, not Him. 

Archbishop Temple points us to a truer way of thinking and being as he teaches us about the Life of which Jesus speaks this morning.  “The Christian doctrine is a doctrine of Eternal Life, not of immortality, but of resurrection.  The difference is profound.  The method of all non-Christian systems is to seek and escape from the evil and misery of life.  Christianity seeks no escape but accepts these at their worst and makes them the material of triumphant joy.  That is the special significance in the connection of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ.”  Your see the essential truth and reality here.  Reunification, reconciliation with God is not a future even to which we look forward.  No.  Resurrection Life, being home with Jesus, is now.  Though Resurrections Life is indeed in the “sweet by and by”, make no mistake, Resurrection Life is here and now.  That is why Peter can describe us the way he does in the Epistle this morning: “You are (not will be) a chosen race, a royal priest hood, a holy nation, God’s own people.  Once you were no people, but now (right now!) you are God’s people.

The truth is that God longs for us now, is present with us now, is reconciled with us now and wants us to be home, to abide in Jesus now.  Jesus in Himself is way, truth, life for us now.  Note His response to Thomas’ question, “How can we know the way?”  Thomas, Jesus replied, you know me.  The way, truth, and life for which we so long is not to be found in a series of rules and theology and facts of scientific method.  The way, the truth, the life is in the person of Jesus and we know the way truth and life the more we allow ourselves to be drawn into the reunifying, reconciling love affair with Him for which He longs.  Stephen certainly did not die for a set of facts or doctrines in the lesson from Acts this morning.  He died rather than betray his friend, lover, and Lord.

It is the entirety and whole goal of the Gospel, the point of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.  Life—abundant life with Jesus.  Now, always, everywhere, and at all times.  It is Resurrection Life that grows from the relationship, intimate love affair with Him.   The Gospel today makes it clear:  it’s all about relationship, all about love, all about the intimate knowledge and love of one another, all about the reunification and reconciliation that loving brings, the reunification and reconciliation of each of us with God in Christ Jesus who has loved us literally to death and called us each by name to follow Him.  To follow Him home to our abiding place, His House, His Heart.  Right now, no matter what.  Home to the abiding place, home to Jesus who is Himself the way, the truth, the Life. 

AMEN

SOME PRAYERS

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant
us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way,
the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his
steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ
your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us
from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the
kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he
has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal
joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art
 God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring

forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I

am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still,

help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it

patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. 

Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit

of Jesus.  Amen.

O God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts
of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold
and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend
them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both
they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together
by thy love in the communion of thy Holy Spirit, and in the
fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who walks on wounded feet walk with you to the end of the road.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who serves with wounded hands help you to serve each other.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who loves with a wounded heart help you to love each other and your neighbors. 

Praise God wherever you may go and may you see the face of God in everyone you meet.

And the blessing of God Almighty: Father Son and Holy Spirit be with you this day and always.  AMEN

Dear Friends,

I thought that perhaps this good work being done by Jefferson County Community Ministries would interest you.  Also wanted you to know that the new Forward Day by Day booklets are on the front porch of Trinity House for you to pick up at your convenience.  More tomorrow

GT

From: trinityshep@citlink.net <trinityshep@citlink.net>
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 10:06 AM
To: TRINITY CHURCH <trinitys@trinitys.comcastbiz.net>
Subject: FW: Pandemic Update from JCCM

From: Bob Shefner <info@jccm.us>
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 3:59 PM
To: trinityshep@citlink.net
Subject: Pandemic Update from JCCM

Image removed by sender.Pandemic Update from JCCM
 The most vulnerable in our community need us now more than ever. JCCM has been very busy during this challenging period and we wanted to share our activities with you.  We hope you find the attached newsletter informative and we look forward to your continued support.   
Please let us know if you have any comments or questions by emailing us at info@jccm.us 
Bob ShefnerCopyright © 2020 Jefferson County Community Ministries, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email as part of the JCCM mailing list.
Our mailing address is:Jefferson County Community Ministries 238 West Washington Street, Charles Town, WV 25414

FOR EASTER IV

Dear Friends,

As the Governor of West Virginia is beginning to lift restrictions the question is becoming, when can we resume worship?  Obviously, many of us are anxious to “get back”.  I am very mindful, however, that our county and the ones contiguous to us continue to have an increasing number of Covid 19 cases.   The newer, less restrictive rules also say that no more than 25 people can gather.  As long as that is the case, it is still too unsafe for us to “get back” as we are accustomed.  I have also come to believe that when we can resume, there will be a new normal for us.  Things will not be able to be as they were.   Frank and Tom and I, along with West Virginia’s Bishop and clergy, have discussed several different scenarios.  I will soon be trying to get our vestry together digitally so that we can consider our options.  In the meantime, these messages will continue.  It is a time like none of us have ever known before.   There are no clear roadmaps to follow so we will need to be gentle with ourselves and one another as we navigate this new territory, knowing that now, as always, our Lord has us close to His heart.   Please feel free to communicate your thoughts and ideas.  Continue to pray for all of those who have been directly affected by this virus, for those who are sick, those who are lonely or afraid, and for guidance and protection for all of us.  I believe that prayer unites us in ways that nothing else can.  As one of my seminary professors used to say. “when we pray for someone, we send a little bit of love their way and love changes things.”  Be well, stay in touch.  Let us know if we can help.

GT

THE LESSONS

Acts 2:42-47

I Peter 2:19-25

John 10:1-10

Psalm 23

A HOMILY

The fourth Sunday of Easter is always “sheep and shepherd Sunday”. In some form or other the lessons always point us to the image of Jesus as the “Good Shepherd”.    This image was so important to the members of the early Church.   All around them were sheep and shepherds.  To this day on the hills of Israel,  there are still shepherds leading their flocks of sheep and goats.  I will never forget when I was in Israel standing on a narrow street outside Lazarus’ Tomb and hearing thunder.  All at once, down the incline of the street came dozens of sheep, filling the street heading our way.  We all pressed ourselves against the stone walls on the side of the street waiting to be trampled.   All at once came a whistle and the sheep in front bore hard right up a flight of steps and into the previously unnoticed sheepfold.  In seconds they were all safely ensconced as the young shepherd walked up the stairs and closed the gate.   From today’s Gospel: “the sheep follow him because they know his voice”.    To this day it is one of the most vivid expressions of the truth of that verse I have ever seen.

As many of you know, my wife Susie cares for horses on our farm just off Shepherd Grade.  Over and over I have seen the same kind of thing happen as she deals with those horses.  They know her.  They trust her.  There is a relationship.  Sometimes, she is the only one really able to help a sick or frightened horse.  That is a result of her horsemanship and particularly a result of the relationship she has developed with the animal.  Again, they know her.  They trust her.  They know that she will care for them.

This image (so prevalent in Scripture and the early church) is not a familiar one to most of us.  We live far away from sheep, shepherds, and the care of animals.  You have often heard me observe that we live so far from nature and the land that I believe it has deprived us of some of our humanity over time (human=humus=earth).   It is perhaps why visiting this image at least annually is so important for us for it is indeed powerful.  Notice just a couple of things.

In the Gospel Jesus is clear.  The sheep listen for the shepherd’s voice.   They expect to hear it.  One of the gifts of this terrible pandemic is the wonderful quiet many have observed.  With fewer cars, less activity, we can hear so many things we didn’t hear before.  The things were there all the time but drowned out by all of the busyness and noise around us. We can hear the birds singing, the water flowing, the leaves in the trees rustling.  Job says, “Ask the animals and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you or speak to the earth and it will teach you.” That means that we are as well in a place where we can hear the voice of the Good Shepherd as well, perhaps in ways we have never heard before.  Make no mistake.  His voice has always been there.  Calling us, guiding us, loving us.  So often though it is drowned out by all of the noise of our modern lives.  The image reminds us to listen and to expect to hear His voice in the course of our lives as well.  We simply must be still enough to hear.

Secondly, notice that the sheep follow Him.  Again, Jesus is clear.  They will not follow a stranger.  They don’t know him.  The sheep follow the shepherd because they know and trust him.  They believe that he will not lead them astray but has only their best interest at heart.  Remember that the root Greek word for faith is perhaps best translated “trust” which also connotes “giving oneself to”.  Simply, I trust you enough to give myself to you.  So, it is with the sheep and the shepherd.  The sheep trust the shepherd enough to give the care of their lives to him.  The voice of the Good Shepherd encourages us to do the same.  Now, not all sheep are as obedient as the image suggests.  There is always one headstrong, stubborn one wandering off.  Remember the verse from the hymn: “Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love he sought me.  And on His shoulder gently laid and home rejoicing brought me”.  That is precisely what makes Jesus the Good Shepherd.  He doesn’t lose any of us.  As headstrong, stubborn, wandering as we might be, He even goes out of his way to find and rescue us (most likely from ourselves).  The image calls us to hear Jesus’ voice to us, to enter into the relationship, and to entrust ourselves to His love and care, knowing that He will never let us down and will even find us when we get ourselves lost.   

Finally, notice to where the Good Shepherd leads us if we listen, hear and trust Him.  “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”   So often we hear Christians talk of all the things we can’t do, or what is sinful behavior, or the only way to get to Heaven, or how best to excluded and feel superior to others.  Jesus’ promise to us contains none of that.  Jesus’ promise is not about the future but about the here and now and Jesus’ promise is abundant life—life so wonderful and fulfilling it is hard to imagine or even dream.  Life filled with joy, hope, peace, love.  Life abundant even in the midst of trouble and sorrow and pain, because He is here infusing us with His very own Life and Love.  It is a life dependent not on what we can or will do, but rather, on what Jesus does and gives us—Himself, His Love, His Peace, His Joy. 

“The King of Love my shepherd is. . . . “ May we listen, hear, trust and follow so that we can be those who relish the abundant life here and now that is ours. 

AMEN

SOME PRAYERS

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people;
Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who
calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with
you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us
from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the
kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he
has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal
joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art
 God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring

forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I

am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still,

help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it

patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. 

Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit

of Jesus.  Amen.

O God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts
of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold
and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend
them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both
they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together
by thy love in the communion of thy Holy Spirit, and in the
fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who walks on wounded feet walk with you to the end of the road.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who serves with wounded hands help you to serve each other.

May the Lord Jesus Christ who loves with a wounded heart help you to love each other and your neighbors. 

Praise God wherever you may go and may you see the face of God in everyone you meet.

And the blessing of God Almighty: Father Son and Holy Spirit be with you this day and always.  AMEN

Email from GT 4/16/2020

Dear Friends,

It seems that all of us these days are looking for good news so I am happy to share some with you today.  Henry Willard was a former Junior Warden and Trustee of Trinity.  When he died in December of 2018 his will provided a generous bequest of us.  The Vestry formed a committee to look at options and the Vestry finally decided that the bequest would be used to pay off our outstanding loan.  Our debt arose from our building project we dedicated in 2006 which bought and refurbished Trinity House and built our Fellowship Hall.  The total cost of that project was $2.2 million and of that we borrowed $1.7 million.  Many of you have generously contributed over the years.  Today I am delighted to tell you that our loan has been completely paid off and we are debt free.   This is truly an amazing accomplishment. 

Please note that this does not negate the need for contributions to the Building Fund.  The fund is used to pay for repairs and projects beyond the scope of the general operating fund.   The money freed up by Mr. Willard’s generosity will now allow us to pursue some neglected maintenance.

I hope that you all are well and staying safe.  I know that some days our confinement is very difficult.  It is hard to express how much I miss you, Sundays, the Holy Eucharist.  However, this “momentary affliction” is what we need to do keep each other safe and well.  Somehow for me, thinking of it as an act of love for one another makes it much easier. 

GT

email forwarded from SAIL 4/14/2020:

From: trinityshep@citlink.net <trinityshep@citlink.net>
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2020 11:07 AM
To: TRINITY CHURCH <trinitys@trinitys.comcastbiz.net>
Subject: FW: SAIL

From: CATHERIN IRWIN <cath.irwin@comcast.net>
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 11:11 AM
To: trinityshep@citlink.net
Subject: Fwd: SAIL

Hello Rev. Schramm, GT 

In these difficult times I am holding you, your church and the Shepherdstown community in my heart and prayers.

I am writing today from SAIL. As you know, In February we began a search for an Executive Director.  Now we are realizing more than ever that we really do need assistance in coordinating and maintaining our services.  We are sending the position notices to local ministers asking for their help in reaching out to people who may be interested in the position.  Could you post the job opening in your Trinity Church notices and also let us know if you have someone you think might be interested in the position?

Attached is the notice as well as the job description and qualifications needed.

Thank you so much for your continued support of SAIL,

Catherine Irwin

SAIL Search Committee member




March 24, 2020
Dear Friends,
I received the following email yesterday from our Bishop.  As you can see, in keeping with the Governor’s stay at home order and out of the deepest concern for the health and well being of us all, his closing of our churches is extended through Easter.  Though, this deeply saddens all of us, I believe that it is the only reasonable course of action.  Please note that this doesn’t mean that we won’t have Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter.  It means that we will not have them together.  Frank and I have already been working on plans for this.  As the plans are fleshed out we will let you know.
Also, tomorrow, March 25 at noon in every time zone the Pope and our Bishop have called us to prayer.  Please stop at noon wherever you are and pray:  The Lords Payer, for our communities, for the sick, for those now unemployed,  the lonely, and for all who continue to work for us healing and providing what we need.  I believe that prayer changes things.  You all are never far from my prayers.  Please take advantage of this special opportunity tomorrow.  Our bells will ring as a reminder, as they have been doing each day at noon.   Please stay home, be well, call your friends and neighbors, and let us know if you need anything. 
Love and prayers,
GT

From: Mollie Bailey <mbailey@wvdiocese.org>
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2020 1:14 PM
To: WV Mission <WVMission@wvdiocese.org>
Subject: Bishop’s Message re Coronavirus

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
A few weeks ago, as I was taking the train from NY to Baltimore to have my Visitation at Emmanuel, Keyser, there was the initial discussion of this strange ‘thing’ that was making people ill.
At that time, we were discussing the use of the Common Cup/The Chalice at celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.  In retrospect, how simple that all seemed. 
Since that time (just 3 weeks ago) the world has changed.  Thousands have died worldwide.  Hundreds of thousands have been infected.  Businesses are sending workers home, and businesses are now working from scattered workplaces – or especially from home.  Restaurants are, for the most part, shuttered.  Faithful employees around the country are now applying for Unemployment Benefits, due to being laid off.  People in various cities and States are being told to ‘shelter in place,’ and not to go outside except for essential matters.
And Churches around the world have ceased holding Public Worship Celebrations.  Even parish meetings are being canceled or delayed. 
Two weeks ago, I wrote and directed that all public celebrations should be canceled. 
Some questioned my judgment call, while others applauded it.   Today, it appears that this was the right coarse of action. 
At that time, I wrote and said that this would be for the foreseeable future, with the hope that we might resume after 2 weeks.  Obviously this will not happen!  The Presiding Bishop has encouraged us all to continue with no public worship gatherings through at least Easter.  I agree, and extend my direction to cease holding public worship services/Holy Eucharists through Easter Week!  In addition, I am asking the Diocesan Staff to work from home.  The Diocesan Office will be closed until at least mid-week next week, and possibly longer.  The staff will be answering emails, and doing as much as they can from various locations.  Some of us will be in the office, from time to time, to make sure that other matters are handled.
I realize how drastic this move is, but it is in keeping with the Presiding Bishop, as well as in agreement with the Roman Catholic Church, and Faith Community gatherings around the world. 
I know that there have been some who are considering trying to be physically creative – by having ‘drive through’ Eucharists – consecrating the elements in one place, and having people drive through the parking lot.  This is NOT to be done, as I see this as only ‘splitting hairs’ and still creating a situation where the virus could potentially be transmitted.  Again – such activities are not to be done! 
There will come a time when we can all come together again and celebrate!
This is the most serious and drastic actions any of us have taken in anyone’s memory.  It is done out of an abundance of caution.  We are to be reminded that more than 50% of West Virginia’s residents/population are in the higher risk for complications from this virus.  Although – this past weekend we have been told that it is not the problem for older people.  This virus is dangerous to all ages!  So – potentially 100% of the population is at risk, and our goal is to protect those for who we are charged to care.
I am reminded that while this virus is calling us to ‘Be the Church’ in the 21st Century, we can also draw from successful operations of the past.  How many of us remember the Telephone Tree?  How many of us remember the Prayer Tree?  Using the Telephone Tree – one person calling 3 people who call 3 more – parishioners were as well connected as anyone could hope.  It was long before emails and the Internet, and yet people were held in prayer, and made known that they were remembered by their parish families. 
I call upon each of our parishes and missions to restart the Prayer Chains and Telephone Trees.  Connect!    Be intentional about our communities.
I have seen more and more that our clergy and lay leaders are becoming creative about the use of Zoom…Facebook Live…and other options of technology. 
Let us continue to safely worship Christ our Lord. 
The Church will always be the Church.  We will be the Body of Christ, spread around the field, to bring hope and love to the world.
Please be assured of my prayers, all the more.
God bless you.
Faithfully,
The Rt Rev W Michie Klusmeyer
Bishop of West Virginia

A note on the Corona Virus:

We hear much these days about Corona Virus. Some thoughts and suggestions.
It is pretty certain, given our proximity to the Washington area that we will soon be affected.
First, it is my hope that we will continue to love and care for each other and our community as we always do here at Trinity. We have begun to form a Care Team to respond to the needs of those sick and shut in as a result of the virus. If you are willing to serve, please let the Office know.
Secondly, if you are sick please stay home, but also let us know so that we can provide help if needed and at least keep you in prayer for a full recovery.
Third, we are in contact with our local authorities. We will follow their advice concerning assembly, etc. Any changes to our schedule will be on our website, the voicemail and sent to you by email.
Finally, a note about receiving communion and the peace. Please respect the needs of those who want space—some will not be comfortable shaking hands, etc. That is OK. If it is uncomfortable for you to receive wine at Communion, then don’t. The sacrament is perfectly valid received in one kind.
Finally, please do not lose sight of the fact that we will get through this. Our need to protect the most vulnerable among us is always with us, but the more extreme measures will one day be behind us. Let us do all we do in the coming days mindful of the presence of our Lord Jesus, His awesome love for us all, and with as much love, compassion, forbearance and kindness as we can. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with any concerns.
GT

March 5, 2020

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS begins on March 8th. Remember to Spring Forward by setting your clocks an hour ahead

LENTON DINNER SERIES: Five Thursday evenings beginning on March 5 th There is a sign-up sheet for soup/bread, salad or dessert in the Fellowship Hall. Please join us.

HIGHLAND EDUCATIONAL PROJECT announces its summer camp work week for teens. Geared for grades 6-12, dates are June 28-July 3. More information and registration forms can be found here: www.highlandeducationalproject.org

LENT MADNESS: a unique way of leaning about and participating in the season of Lent. A blend of competition (think NCAA basketball tournament) Lent Madness allows you to be inspired by the ways in which God has worked Visit: www.lentmadness.org

BOOK CLUB will meet on March 9th at 9:30am, at Trinity House.

GIVING STATEMENTS : there are still giving statements to be picked up at the back Podcasts: Please be sure to check for yours on Sunday.

ONLINE RESOURCES: Here are a few helpful sites for reflection and meditation: forwardmovement.org/podcasts of the church. “The Way of Love with Bishop Michael Curry” wayoflove.episcopalchurch.org the mail, please email us at trinitys@trinitys.comcastbiz.net . Thank you! Apps: “Pray as you Go” & “Reimagining the Examen” Daily Meditations from Fr. Richard Rohr: meditations@cac.org BOOK CLUB will meet on March 9th at 9:30am, at Trinity House. Morning and evening prayer : “Mission St. Clare” Please join us for coffee and conversation, newcomers always welcome!

THE LENTEN REFLECTIONS BOOKLET has arrived! Thank you to all who participated. Especially Paula Lelansky and Cathy Baldou

COFFEE HOUR : Please be sure to check the coffee hour sign-up sheet in the Fellowship Hall and choose a Sunday to host. No elaborate lunch is needed.

KERYGMA CLASS: These are the dates for the meeting of the Kerygma session: Mar. 8, Mar. 22, Apr. 19, Apr 26 and May 17. Time: 11:45 in the Parlor. see Charlie Holder with questions: c.holder@myactv.net

SCRIP CARDS: Don’t forget to pick up your Food Lion, Martins, Sheetz and Home Depot cards. Please visit us after church on Sunday to purchase grocery & gas cards.

VISIT TO CANTERBURY NURSING HOME : Wednesday, March 11 th at 10:30am. Please join us as we visit the residents and provide a short worship service.

ALTAR & ORGAN FLOWERS: There are lots of Sundays open for you to participate

POPCORN AND PICKLES! Treasure Kids preschool. They are selling popcorn and pickles. Sign up at trinitys@trinitys.comcastbiz.net or call and leave us a message. It comes in many popular flavors and some unique ones! Popcorn is $6 a bag and Pickles are $10 a quart. Please see Mary Lee Blue

ASSISTANTS –MARCH 8, 2020 / SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT

The 8:00 a.m. Chalice: Mike Jacobs 10 a.m. Chalice: John Strider Lesson and Psalm: Carol Mannel ( Genesis 12: 1-4/ Psalm 121 ) Epistle: Bob Singdahlsen (Romans 4:1-5, 13-17) Prayers : Elizabeth Cuthebert (Rite II, Form I) Tower Greeters: Melissa and Bill Chapman Coffee Hour: Jean and Mike Jacobs Acolytes: Jackson Thompson, Ashlee Study, McGuire Gleason, Scott Leonard, Max Romine, Nathan Rouse, Elizabeth Krogstad, Henry Frey, Morgan Lori Trinity Episcopal Church March Altar Guild: Jenny Hollis, Annette van Hilst, Jo Ann Knode, Janice Smith PO Box 308 Aileen Boyd, Jane Cook, Elaine Dorosh, Libby Sturm, Carolyn Banks, Margaret Coe Shepherdstown, WV 25443 (304) 876-6990 Nursery: Caitlin Degenfelder Backup Layreader for March: Dale Walter Email – trinityshep@citlink.net Web page – www.trinityshepherdstown.org ALTAR FLOWERS are given to the glory of God in honor of our 55 th Wedding Anniversary by Vicki and Harrison Lanham. ORGAN FLOWERS are given to the glory of God in memory of Marcello Chavez Staff (10/04/2011 – 02/24/2020) by Louise Stratton.

ASSISTANTS –MARCH 15, 2020 / SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT

8:00 a.m. Chalice: Tom Miller 10 a.m. Chalice: Bill Baker Psalm: Christel Devlin ( Exodus 17:1-7 / Psalm 95 ) Epistle: Hans Fogle (Romans 5:1-11) Prayers : Dale Walter (Rite I) March 5, 2020 Greeters: Paula Lelansky and Aileen Boyd Coffee Hour: Margaret Coe Acolytes: Jackson Thompson, Ashlee Study, McGuire Gleason, Scott Leonard, Max Romine, Nathan Rouse, Elizabeth Krogstad, Henry Frey, Morgan Lori March Altar Guild: Jenny Hollis, Annette van Hilst, Jo Ann Knode, Janice Smith Aileen Boyd, Jane Cook, Elaine Dorosh, Libby Sturm, Carolyn Banks, Margaret Coe Nursery: Caitlin Degenfelder Backup Layreader for March: Dale Walter ALTAR FLOWERS are given to the glory of God by Annette van Hilst. ORGAN FLOWERS are given to the glory of God by Tom Miller.