Week of December 3, 2017

This Week at Christ the Redeemer:
The New Year is fast approaching! Here are some of the things you need to know as we prepare for a wonderful Advent:
Saturday, December 2, 8:30 am  to Noon—Our Second DEMOLITION DAY takes place. We hope to expand our Fellowship Hall space by taking down the walls on the end of the hall. If you can lend a hand for even an hour, it would  be greatly appreciated.
Saturday, December 2, 5:00- 7:00 pm our ANNUAL ADVENT PREPARATION NIGHT. We begin in the Fellowship Hall at 5, continue with our Family-Friendly Evening Prayer at 5:30, then enjoy a Pot Luck dinner together, before ending the evening by assembling the materials we need for celebrating Advent at home. Plan now on preparing for a great Advent Season. If you plan to make a family Advent wreath, bring greenery! And, if possible, bring a little extra greenery to share.
Sunday, December 3,  Our DISCIPLESHIP HOUR returns (for two more weeks), and then immediately following worship, all women are invited to the Christmas Luncheon in the Ministry Room. Bring something to share (along with the recipe, as you will get a copy of all the shared recipes) and join in on the fun.
Please note, this will be the last Sunday you will be able to choose a Compassion Child from Rwanda to sponsor. (Also, note that if you are looking for ‘Alternate Christmas Gifts’ ideas, the ‘Gifts of Hope’ catalog supporting Walk With Rwanda are available and may be found on the table in the Fellowship Hall).
Sunday, December 10, immediately following worship, we will host our Annual General Meeting. We will be having a more extensive meeting in the new year (date to be announced), so this meeting will be much shortened: we will give an update on our financial situation to date and elect two new members to our Leadership Council. The slate nominated this year consists of Pete Fraser and Paul Gyorfi. Further nominations may be made at the meeting.
Finally, some Pastoral news:
Charlie Watkins continues his chemotherapy treatments and appreciates your continued prayers.
Ron Brockett has returned home from his successful surgery, but would benefit from some help with meals for the next few weeks. We have set up a ‘Take-A-Meal’ program which you can easily sign up  for here: http://takethemameal.com. Under “Find” (in the middle of the page) “recipient surname: Brockett and password rbrockett.
Janis and I have successfully downsized our housing situation by moving into the Pembroke Towers (Colley and Brambleton). Our new address is 601 Pembroke Ave, Apartment 308. We love the move (Ozzie, our Cairn terrier is still adjusting!) and are eager to enter this new phase of life together.
Looking forward to a great Advent together (remember to be on time Sunday, or you will miss the ‘Lighting of the Candle’ opening!).

Week of November 19, 2017

Please take the time to read fully, as there is much important information!

As the end of the Church’s year approaches, there are a number of dates and events that you need to place on your calendars:

First, this Sunday, November 19 we celebrate our ‘Connection with Rwanda’ in multiple ways. We welcome the Rev. Joey Pierce as our preacher. Joey is the Director of Development for WALK WITH RWANDA, the fundraising project that seeks to help the Rwandan Provincial Church become financially self-sustaining.  Additionally, we will hear brief reports on our projects in Mbyo and have the chance to sponsor a child in Rwanda through Compassion International. It promises to be a great day.

Second, our RENOVATION PROJECT begins this Saturday! Here is a word from Bob Atwood:

“Only two days left until our exciting Demo Day at CtR — Saturday morning, November 18 from 8:30 to noon-ish.
Have you ever wanted to use a sledgehammer to vent some frustrations on an inanimate object?
Have you ever wondered why demo day is Fixer Upper’s Chip Gaines’ favorite day?
Would you like to be able to casually brag to your friends ‘Yeah, I find the nine-inch six-teeth-per-inch carbide-tipped blade to be the best for taking down walls’?
Here’s your chance.  We need your help this Saturday morning to remove some walls in the former Dwelling Place offices, so that we can convert that space to a meeting room and offices for Fr. Brian and church staff.
Men, women, boys, and girls can all help with the work.  This is truly a case of, ‘many hands making light work!’
I look forward to seeing you this Saturday morning.  Please let me know if you’re coming so that Janie can bring enough food for lunch.” Thanks, Bob Atwood

rwatwood@gmail.com or text or call 314-614-8629

Third, our Children and Family Ministries have several things on the go presently:

1. our Christmas Collection of School Supplies for Park Place. This is a simple way of blessing the children of Park Place School. Sign-up sheets are posted on the door of the Fellowship Hall. Please note that all donations must be in the church office by Wednesday, November 22.

2. Jennifer is looking for sewing help with the costumes for our Epiphany Play (January 6, 2018).  She has patterns, etc. Please speak with Jennifer directly if you can help (or email her: brownie7506@yahoo.com)

3. we will host a LADIES LUNCHEON and CRAFT TIME after worship on the First Sunday of Advent, December 3.  Please bring a dish to share (along with the recipe, as they will be shared!) and let Jennifer know that you are coming (brownie7506@yahoo.com) so there are enough craft supplies for all.

Fourth, Registration deadline for the Women’s Retreat is in two weeks, Sunday, December 3. (Guys, this would be a great Christmas present for your spouse!)

Fifth, please note that during Thanksgiving week the Wednesday Women’s group and the Discipleship Hour classes will not be meeting (both resume the following week).

Sixth, mark your calendars now for a great ADVENT SEASON:

Saturday Nights, beginning December 2 at 5:00 pm (continuing December 9, 16, and 23) for Family Friendly Evening Prayer, instruction, and support.

Note, our Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, December 10 immediately following worship.

Finally, some Pastoral News to be shared. Charlie Watkins met with doctors in Boston last week who gave him some encouraging news about the type of cancer he is fighting and the best protocol. He begins chemotherapy next Monday and covets your prayers for the time ahead.

Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.

Week of November 12, 2017

Dear Friends

As the days shorten and the nights lengthen, we know we are fast approaching the changing of the year. Here are some things to note as we travel this road together:

First, ‘Celebration of Our Rwandan Connection’  is Sunday—November 19.  By the grace of God, Christ the Redeemer has been intimately connected with the Anglican Church in Rwanda from the very beginning. On  November 19 we will celebrate and raise up that connection.  We welcome as our preacher, the Rev. Joey Pierce, who is the Director of Development for Walk With Rwanda—the development project we have supported that seeks to engender self-sufficiency at the Provincial level in Rwanda. He will give us a report on that work. Additionally, we will have reports on both our School and Agricultural projects in Mbyo, as well as rejoice in our connection with Compassion Rwanda. Mark your calendars now.

Second, our Financial Stewardship class continues at Discipleship Hour (9:00 am Sundays). If you have missed the first week video, you can find it posted on YouTube here: John Guernsey Stewardship YouTube Videos. I encourage you to watch these videos even if you are unable to attend the classes (though you will always get more out of them by participating in the discussions!).

Third, Our ADVENT SEASON approaches and we are planning to add to our corporate rhythm of life that will shape and encourage your personal and familial preparation and worship. In addition to our traditional ADVENT PREPARATION INTER-GENERATIONAL GATHERING on the Saturday before Advent (December 2 this year), we will meet each additional Saturday night in Advent for Evening Prayer, Family-Friendly Teaching, and encouragement around the table (covered dish suppers).  These Saturday nights will be tied into our Sunday morning worship and lead us, by God’s grace, to a wonderful celebration of Christmas.  So, mark your calendars now for the Saturdays in December (2, 9, 16,23) for wonderful time of Prayer, Preparation, and Encouragement for all ages.  More details will be posted in the bulletin next week.

Fourth, We need your help! will be taking over the entire second floor of the building (with some renovations needed) and planning on being resident here for the next three years (with two more possible option years).  Bob Atwood will be leading our renovation work. He has scheduled Saturdays, November 18th and December 2nd, beginning at 8:30 am, as the first of our work days. He will plan more dates as needed. (We hope to have everything done well before Christmas!)  Plan to come and participate, especially if you have a pickup truck to carry away debris.

Fifth, We are collecting items to bless the children of Park Place School with Christmas “goodie” bags. The sign-up sheets are on the Fellowship Hall door, or contact Jennifer Brown to donate. All donations must be collected before November 22nd.

Sixth, Our ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING will take place in a different way this year. We will gather after worship on Sunday, December 10 for a brief ‘Business Meeting’ to  elect the new members for our  Leadership Council, and then gather in the New Year for a more extended time of reporting and discussion on the challenges and opportunities open to us in 2018.  A day and time for that later meeting  will be finalized soon. In the meantime, if you would like to nominate someone for the Leadership Council, please speak with either Pete Fraser or Clark Garvin.

Finally, some Pastoral News:  Lytton Musselman came through his back surgery well yesterday and will remain in the hospital through Sunday and then begin a lengthy recovery period. Charlie Watkins is preparing to travel to Boston on Sunday to consult some doctors on Monday concerning the protocol for his treatment. Please keep both these families in your prayers asking that God’s good pleasure will be worked out through the circumstances of their lives.

Looking forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.


Week of November 5, 2017

This Week at Christ the Redeemer:
With the coming of November, we know that the current year is speeding to its close as a new one eagerly awaits!  Here are some of the things you need to know this week as we live into that reality:

First, Remember to TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK this Saturday! (My favorite time of year).

Second, our Diocesan Synod that takes place this week in McLean VA (starts today and ends on Saturday). The theme for this year is discipleship and catechesis for a ‘time of exile’—a timely topic, and one that resonates with our community.  Pete Fraser and Janie Atwood are our church’s delegates, Sharon Reyes represents us on the Diocesan Council, and Ryan Reyes is our ‘alternate’ (and will join Sharon in the Synod).  Please pray for all participating in the event.
Third, our Annual Chili-Cook-Off takes place this Saturday, November 4, beginning with the Flag Football game at Lafayette Park (near the zoo) at 4:00 pm (Note: the ‘Chili’ feast takes place at the church at 5:30 pm). All are encouraged to come. The church will be open at 3:45 for chili (crock pot) drop off.
Fourth, our Discipleship Hour continues Sunday at 9:00 a.m. If you are planning on participating in the Financial Stewardship Class but were unable to be present last week, please take some time to watch Bishop Guernsey’s opening presentation, so you can participate as we begin by debriefing the content of his talk this week. It is a 5 part series, but you only need to watch the first part – on this YouTube link:

John Guernsey Stewardship Teaching Video

Fifth, mark your calendars now and plan on being in worship on Sunday November 19 for our ‘Celebration of Rwanda’ day. We have the privilege of welcoming the Rev. Joey Pierce, the Director of Development for the ‘Walk With Rwanda’ project. In addition to hearing about ‘Walk with Rwanda’ we will hear updates on our projects in Mbyo.
Sixth, we are calling together our ‘Chamber Singers’ to prepare some special music for Advent. If you enjoy classical music and singing you are welcome to join in on the fun. There will be a brief rehearsal this Sunday after worship. Speak to Carole Rosenfarb or David Snouffer on Sunday for more information. Also, consider participating during Lent as well.
Seventh, rejoice with us that we have concluded our negotiations and signed our new lease with Knox. We will be taking over the entire second floor (with some renovations needed) and planning on being resident here for the next three years (with two more possible option years).  The stability this gives us is priceless; the ability to plan for our future is now in our hands.
Bob Atwood will be leading our renovation work. He has tentatively scheduled Saturdays, November 18th and December 2nd, beginning at 8:30 am, as the first of our work days. He will plan more dates as needed. (We hope to have everything done well before Christmas!)  Plan to come and participate, especially if you have a pickup truck to carry away debris.
Eighth, The Wednesday Night women’s group will begin a study of the book “Liturgy of the Ordinary” by Tish Harrison Warren, Wednesday, Nov. 8th at 7p.m. at the home of Temple Richardson, 1510 South Eleanor Ct. Norfolk, 23508.  The group is open to anyone wishing to join us.  Books are available online or in Kindle format.
Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.

A Reflection on the Daily Office

“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seal?”  

Revelation 5:2

Today is the Feast of All Saints (or ‘All Hallows’ – thus, yesterday evening was ‘All-hallows-eve’). Today we celebrate the reality of God’s victory in Christ by acknowledging the presence of those who have gone before us, who now share that victory with him (and all the while trusting that we one day shall join them in it!).

The vision of John recorded in Revelation chapter 5 captures this reality powerfully. The seer is taken up into the heavenly places where he witnesses the glorious worship of God by the heavenly hosts (Revelation 4).  They acknowledge God’s worthiness and power and glory by confessing his creative power: “For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (4:11).

But in chapter 5 the focus of the scene changes.

The seer notices that “in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back and sealed with seven seals.”  As his focus is fixed on this scroll he hears a “strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’” And to the horror of the seer, “no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and (he) began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.”

You can feel the pathos in the scene. It is glorious to acknowledge God’s greatness in the sheer fact of creation, it is utterly tragic to discover that there is ‘no one worthy’ within that creation to fulfill God’s purposes for it. We know in our heart of hearts that creation MUST have a purpose; but fear in the depth of our souls that we ourselves are incapable of fulfilling it. That is the pathos of the scene on a cosmic scale. The scroll represents the intended story of creation; a story now thwarted by the corrupting presence of evil.

But as the seer weeps, “one of the elders said to (him), ‘Weep no more; behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that  he can open the scroll and its seven seals.'” And the seer looks, and “sees a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain…and he took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.”  And as he did so, the heavenly chorus breaks out in a new song of praise:

‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

There is one who is worthy to take the scroll and open its seals; worthy to overcome all opposition, and thus allow for the fulfillment of the Creator’s purpose for and within his creation.

And what is the shape and telos of that overcoming victory?  He has “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (thus, the reality of the communion of saints), “and have made them a kingdom and priest to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

The telos of the Lamb’s victory through his sacrificial death is the recovery of the ‘Steward’ for God’s corrupted creation; the one who alone is made in the Creator’s image to be both ‘priest’ to the creation and ‘king’ over it!  And this community of redeemed and renewed Stewards, from every tribe and nation, “will reign on the earth” one day, as they now “reign with him in the heavenlies.”

That is what we celebrate this day. The advent of the One who alone is worthy, whose worthiness  makes us ‘worthy’, and able to fulfill our purposes within God’s glorious story.

Take a moment this day and join in on the heavenly chorus.

Then renew your commitment to live your life with and for this King.