Saturday, May 16, 2020

From Mother Vicki

Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you."   John 14:15-18 NRSV

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The Gospel of John for this coming Sixth Sunday of Easter includes these beautiful words that Jesus shares with his disciples in his farewell address from the Upper Room, "I will not leave you orphaned."  An earlier translation was, "I will not leave you comfortless."  But the Greek word ὀρφανός is very literal: "I will not leave you an orphan, without parents."  The disciples were not going to be abandoned.  Jesus promised them another Advocate, the Spirit of truth, who will abide in them.

On Sunday, we are more than halfway through the fifty days of Easter.  This coming week we will celebrate Christ's Ascension (May 21st), and then, on May 31st, Pentecost Sunday (and Memorial Day Weekend).  This abiding, indwelling Spirit is Christ's gift to his disciples and to us, if we so choose, forever.  What a profound and comforting gift!

I am very impressed with Patrick Bergquist, the relatively new Director of Programs for Episcopal Charities who gave a wonderful presentation via Zoom for clergy and lay leaders.  He is incredibly energetic and Spirit-filled. Episcopal Charities is doing superb work right now!  They have set up a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund which goes directly to the important programs they are supporting providing emergency food for those in need all throughout the Diocese.  Every cent of what you donate will go directly to supplying what is needed (episcopalcharities-newyork.org).  Also, if you can volunteer to help, please go to the same link and under "Join Us" is a button for "COVID-19 Volunteers App".  They will train you and tell you where you are needed!  This is a great way to help those safety nets that are already in place without reinventing the wheel.  If you feel called to give, whether money, time or effort, please contact them!

Filling out the Census is more important now than ever before!  According to Mayor Spano on a recent Zoom meeting with Yonkers clergy, Yonkers has only counted 50% of its population.  This is really problematic.  All of the federal and state funding, government representation, etc. is dependent on these numbers. The least counted area is southwest Yonkers!  Please make sure you have filled out your form either on line, on the phone or by mail.  If you have lost the form and don't have the number from that form, don't worry, you can still fill it in.  Only one person per household needs to give in the information, but it is critically important, especially to include immigrants or others who might otherwise not be counted.  NO ONE CAN USE THIS INFORMATION TO ARREST YOU!  Please fill out the form, if you haven't, and ask your friends if they have as well.

Thanks for your prayers for Ralph Tremonte.  Denise Hackl and I were blessed to be with him via Zoom on Friday morning as they took him off his ventilator for the third time.  We passed on your love and prayers, prayed with him, said last rites and sang "Amazing Grace" and finally "Jesus Christ is risen today!"  He died soon after.  We are so grateful to the caring doctors and nurses at Phelps Hospital and to the wonderful staff from Crestview Manor Home, who were also present.  Clearly he made a great impression on everyone.  May Ralph's soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Please join us on Sunday for our worship service, which will be sent out by email at 7:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 17th. If you know of someone who would like to be on our email list, they can sign up at yonkerschurch.org (scroll down and at the bottom of the lighter green column on the right side, click on "Sign up for our Email List").  It's easy!

Thanks to our fabulous Administrative Assistant Jan Valentine, whose birthday was this week (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAN!) and who has been doing amazing work with our on-line Sunday services.  We are also grateful for our wonderful musician Jason Slayden for the hymns this Sunday: Hymn 593, "Lord make us servants of your peace" (with words after Saint Francis of Assisi) and Hymn 454 "Jesus came, adorned by angels."  This latter hymn is relatively new to us, but a beautiful setting by American composer Gerald Near (b. 1942).  Thanks also to Tina D'Amato who will be reading about the Apostle Paul preaching to the Athenians from The Acts of the Apostles 17:22-31 and Psalm 66:7-18 (with Bobby D'Amato!), and Chris Michel-Karsten, who will read about being blessed for doing what is good, even if you find yourself suffering for it in 1 Peter 3:13-22.

Don't forget to join us for our Zoom coffee hour, which we are holding from 11:30 a.m. to about 12:10 p.m. and is great fun!  Just to see your faces, makes us all really happy!  You can always call in and hear our voices even if you can't get Zoom. The link is below.  Put a note on your refrigerator to remind yourself.  If you haven't joined us yet, you will be surprised at how wonderful that brief time with each other is.

See you Sunday!
Easter blessings, joy and much love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria Sirota
mothervsirota@gmail.com; cell phone 443 257 9963

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