Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday After Ascension

Of the seven major festivals of the church, three come in successive Sundays: Sunday after the Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday. The other four -- Easter, Christmas, All Saints and the Epiphany -- get spread out over many months. To emphasize the significance of these special days we arranged the nave into two sections. The congregation processed into the first section for the reading of the word, the prayers of the people, and for the sermon. Then after exchanging the Peace moved into the forward section for the celebration of the Eucharist.

The Yarnsters knit prayer shawls for those in need of prayer.  Our friend David Pauling is going through a difficult health crises and received a shawl.

Frank Trayler recently completed Education For Ministry, a  four year course of theological study intended to  prepare him for additional lay ministry and was presented with a framed certificate by the groups mentors Angela Hock and Fr. Rick Brewer.


Micki02 said... [Reply to comment]


I am always surprised to see young men to church, France, the big problem of the Catholic Church is the age of priests. Note that parish is fairly young, but it is almost an exception. Your religious communities seem to be very active, more than ours, which are often limited as well. I have a question that qu'es Trinity Sunday? I am not sure this Sunday to celebrate with us.
Good day
I put a new picture of chick on my blog!

Linda Paul said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for the wonderful pictures! As always, great job. Linda Paul

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I agree with the first commenter, I'm always surprised to see young people going to church in North American, and even more, young priest/ ministers etc.

In France, or even in Europe, church attendance is at its lowest and is not a young people thing.

Just observing!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

Church attendence was drummed into me at an early age. We had a small mission church and the priest in charge only came to do communion/Eucharist one Sunday a month. The rest of the time we had a pair of Layreaders who led a prayer service that did not require an ordained leader. One would lead the prayer service out of our book of common prayer, or missle as you Catholics call it, and the other would read an approved layreader sermon. I was about the only kid in church so I was always expected to the the acolyte, carry the cross, light the candles, hold the book for the gospel, etc. I didn't mind because it made me feel useful, made me feel needed.

When I got a little older, 15 or 16, the laymen began to use me to read the scripture lesson, and then to take part of leading the prayer service. A few years later just one man would come to read the sermon, and I would lead the prayer service.

Because of this I grew up feeling like I needed to be at church. The appreciation of the significance of the sacrements and rituals came to me later.

I understand that the Roman Catholic Chirch is experiencing a crises of sorts in recruting young men to the priesthood. I belong to the Episcopal Church. We have evolved from the Church of England and while we follow the same liturgy and share most of the same beliefs as our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters we do some things differently. We respect the Pope as the Bshop of Rome but do not subscribe to papel authority.

For example, our priests can marry and have families. We also have permitted the ordination of women for about 30 years now. As a result, we are ordaining more priests and a significant number of them are women. While is is still a source of some controversy, it is increasingly more accepted.

Despite this, attendence in all the mainline churches is declining. We are seeing a great increase in conservative evangelical mega-churches. There are several in Tulsa who boast of membership of 4-5000 people. They have lots of activity, lots of music and excitement and draw large crowds. They preach largely a fundamentalist theology and a strictly literal interpretation of scripture.

I am readig some things that say the attraction of fundamentalism is on the decline. What that will do to church attendence overall I do not know.

I have made a long reply but I don't know that I have said anything helpful to you. I think for each of us it is a private matter. But I do believe that it is important to see that our children are exposed to the church at an early age. They will learn many things from society and from their peers, but they wll not learn about the church by accident. It is part of helping them grow strong roots. This is what I think.

This is the way I raised my 4 children. They are not all religious today, but they are all honest and loving and have become good honorable people. As parents we do what we can and hope for the best.

Linda Paul said... [Reply to comment]

A great deal of what my children talk to me about, when it comes to religion, dogma, practice, etc., is they find church important, but do not want to be there every Sunday. :-) We have these discussions about supporting the church being there every Sunday even though they are not there. Three of the four pledge, and I think they try to go with a frequency.
I think the evangelical-fundamentalist model, which has made the Mega Church what it is, used both the business and social networking to build their large populations. As people change their ideas, their "religion" changes too. They move on and the Mega Church has to recruit new members. It's the Direct Marketing approach.
What I see in a very interesting way in the last ten years is the Gen-X'ers beginning to look for a different kind of meaning in their lives. They aren't sure what that is, and the rest of us are pulling out our hair trying to figure out what the new paradigm is going to look like so we can make it NOW and capture this "market." :-)
What my one son who does not attend says is - make church available in ways that don't make sense to my generation. They were told they could make a difference, but all he sees is the strife of the church, and the "bi-partisan" rhetoric which turns him away. He wants to access church during the week when he's in town, not on weekends when he's out socializing. He wants to meet with people who are gathering to do something with local, regional, national and international groups, especially third world countries. He wants downloads and podcasts from these environments so he can see where his money goes and what it gets. He wants to do some sort of monthly Internet broadcast from the places he is supporting, so he can do real time observation and find out what more is needed. He said he'd like something close, probably this hemisphere, for the international location, which means it would be Spanish-speaking. He would like to travel to that location every other year to do a week or two on site. He sees this as being a cross-denominational effort. He also sees the "single-use, asset based" paradigm we use as shrinking to a smaller space that has several groups meeting at different times to do the work of making a difference in the world. There could be the continuance of sacraments, as we know them now, but in much smaller groups, available at different times.
I am reminded of Dr. Loren Mead's vision of what rural, and eventually, regional action will bring to the church. ("The Once and Future Church")He envisions building what is needed in a community, say Meals on Wheels kitchen and delivery service, or a Vet's office, or even a local clinic for a dentist and several doctors. The "lobby" would double as a meeting place for services, events such as baptism, and then revert to it's intended use on Monday morning. Between these two Ideas I think we can see the new paradigm starting to emerge in thinking. Getting it to emerge in practice will be the next step.