September 14 is Holy Cross Day. The Epistle is Philippians 2:5-11, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited….” Jesus Christ is not the kind of political leader or authority figure with whom we would be impressed with today. In our society, we have little respect for someone who humbles themselves, especially “to the point of death.” And yet that is the surprising gift that Jesus gives us: through his death and resurrection we are freed from the hold that death had on us, and are able to experience the love of God in transformative and miraculous ways. Christ’s example of self-sacrifice and profound love has changed our world forever.
Welcome home! This is my second September with you. Now that I have come to know you better, I feel even more blessed and awed to be here. What a wonderful congregation and what a terrific and devoted group of volunteers we have. Thank you for your great service to this body of Christ and to our community!
We have started a new program this fall called RenewalWorks that encourages all the members of the congregation to take an anonymous Spiritual Life Inventory. This is not about numbers and figures, but about our hearts and souls. Obviously, no survey is going to be able to quantify where each of us are spiritually, but this is a good jumping off place for a much deeper discussion about our personal relationship with Christ and our Church. This survey takes about 30 minutes or so, and can be accessed on-line (https://www.research.net/r/RenewalWorks2110) or in paper form (please pick one up on Sunday). We only have until midnight October 1 to input all of the data, so if you are filling out a paper copy, please deposit them in the box on the back table in the Narthex, or on the table in the hallway by next Sunday, Sept. 24. Once all the surveys have been completed, our RenewalWorks Team will be given the results and guidelines for deeper discussions about new opportunities and programs for spiritual growth at Saint John’s Getty Square. For more information, feel free to contact me, Tara Seeley (our RenewalWorks Facilitator), Jen Longley (our RenewalWorks Communicator), or our RenewalWorks Team (Samuel Akhtar, Linda Brown, Carol Craft, Debbie DeBride, Aaron McKinney, George Morrison and Carrie Parkey). This is an exciting venture and we hope and pray that you will be part of it!
This Sunday, Homecoming Sunday, we rejoice at beginning another new academic year and renewing our life together at Saint John’s Getty Square. Please plan to come and bring your family, friends and neighbors! At both the 8 a.m. and the 10:15 a.m. Sunday Services we will be praying over and commissioning our Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors, our RenewalWorks Team and ALL volunteers. Coffee hour follows the 8 a.m. service and there is a special Homecoming Luncheon after the 10:15 a.m. to which everyone is invited. This is also your opportunity to try a new volunteer ministry, such as being an Acolyte, a Greeter, a Lay Reader, a member of the Altar Society, helping to teach Sunday School, etc. Please sign up on one of the sheets in the Narthex if you are interested.
I am starting a Saint John’s Children’s Choir on Wednesday, September 20 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. This choir will meet every Wednesday, and is open to children grades 1 through 5. We will start with a snack. I will be teaching them some sight-singing, basic music notation, as well as learning and memorizing some wonderful songs about God’s love. Please spread the word, and let me know if you know any children who might wish to join.
On Sunday, September 24 Jonelle Ward from the Alzheimer’s Association (800.272.3900; alz.org) will be with us at both services to share information about Alzheimer’s Disease and the importance of early detection.
If you are interested in joining the Order of Urban Missioners, a spiritual support group for lay and ordained people working in urban settings, please contact me (email@example.com). Our Service of Covenanting will be held at our church, Saint John’s Getty Square, Yonkers, on Thursday, 28 September at 6 p.m., The Right Rev. Allen Shin, preaching and presiding. The description of the Order and the dates for the fall of 2017 are listed below.
Don’t forget to make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development to help those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The devastation has been immense. Your donations, no matter how small, are desperately needed.
In our relationships with each other, we see Christ. I look forward to seeing you and meeting your family and friends. Welcome home!
In Christ and with love,
The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota