August, The Beginning of a New Adventure

The start of the school year brings such a sense of anticipation, doesn’t it?  I haven’t been in school for years, but STILL, every time things start gearing up for school, I can’t help but get excited.  It’s a new beginning, a blank canvas…like unmarked sand at the beach before anyone has walked upon it; we can make this year into whatever we want, start new habits, new traditions, have a new outlook, go in a totally new direction.  It’s a new adventure!

The Disciples’ Adventure

I sometimes wonder about what it would have been like when Jesus called his disciples.  Was there that sense of excitement at starting something new?  That sense of adventure?
Jesus’s purpose in calling the disciples was, indeed, to take them on a new adventure, the crazy awesome journey of learning to follow him and be more and more like him.  And that’s really our purpose this year with Christian Formation…figuring out how to follow Jesus in this day and age, and how to continue to be more and more like him…that certainly is an adventure!

Formation vs. Education

You’ll notice I say “Christian Formation,” not simply “Christian Education.” Education has to do with knowledge and intellect.  Formation has to do with so much more; it’s a person’s whole life: intellect, emotion, spiritual connection, actions.  It’s not just what we KNOW about God, but how we live it out in the world and in community.  It’s doing life together.  Education, the knowledge piece, is an important part of Formation, but it’s just one part.
When Jesus called his disciples, he definitely educated them. He taught them lots of things.  He sat around teaching them all kinds of parables and the Sermon on the Mount, among others.  But he didn’t stop there.  He did life with them.  He practiced living out those teachings in the real world.  Those disciples went everywhere with Jesus, watching him apply that knowledge and put it into action.
The Adventure of Our Formation
Formation was certainly an adventure for the disciples!  What a journey…retreating up to mountaintops, exploring God’s creation, meeting all kinds of people, witnessing miracles, and being part of God’s work in the world.  We hope that this year, our Formation into Christians who are more like Christ, will be that kind of an adventure for you, too!
And I hope you’ll join us on that adventure!



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Education for Ministry (EfM) — Words From a Graduate

There is an old adage that says, “You don’t go looking for something until you need it.” This can be applied to just about everything in our lives, from our car keys to Christ. Back in 2008, two life shattering events happened to me (the details need not be retold here); events that convinced me that I needed something. My search for that something led me first to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, which led me to EfM, which let me to this moment. Now, I cannot say with absolute certainty that I have found what I was looking for, but I can say that I’ve come to the conclusion that one’s walk with God is an everlasting journey, an eternal cycle of exploration and discovery.

My eyes, ears and spirit have been opened. EfM has enabled me to see, hear and feel with greater clarity and assurance the beauty, majesty and unity of God’s creation. It has made my on-going journey much more meaningful.

EfM is not just bible study. One does not come to EfM to learn how to quote bible verses, but through theological reflection, spiritual autobiographies, questions and discussions, and peer-led group worship, one learns not just to speak scripture, but to live and do scripture. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times, use words when necessary.” Besides, the last thing most non-seekers want to hear is a bunch of bible verses being thrown at them. Their shields go up and their defenses dig in. They have not yet seen the need, so they have not yet started looking. This is not to say that evangelism has no value or is pointless. Those people who know you, or know of you, may or may not know where you stand. But they have been observing you. They have noticed your actions and behavior. And more often than not, they will eventually ask you something similar to, “Hey, what makes you tick?” At that point, a doorway to dialogue has been opened. At that point, they have become a seeker. The spirit has moved!

EfM promotes dialogue and allows plenty of room for the spirit to move. Everyone is encouraged to offer their beliefs and opinions. We’ve all been places, done things, experienced things, heard and read things that perhaps no one else in the group has done. Everyone brings in something new and beneficial to the EfM table. Everything is respectfully listened to. When I came to EfM I dragged in behind me the Apocrypha and many pseudepigraphal writings. This atmosphere of safe, respectful, inclusiveness fosters a deep feeling of community. You feel very connected to the other members. It is difficult not to feel close to those who have bared their soul to you and you to them. I will always remember them and be eternally grateful for their presence in my life.

So, if you’ve ever wondered why we Christians believe some of the things we believe (and to be honest, some of our beliefs, on the surface, sound a little far-fetched; if not downright weird), if you’ve ever wondered how and why we worship the way we do, how our rituals came about and what some of the symbols mean, or if you are trying to work through and resolve your own personal doubts, (yes, it happens), then you are needing something and you are looking for answers. You are a seeker. And perhaps EfM would be a good place to start. Follow your heart, and come to that God-wrought decision. Pray about it, talk to God…and then go talk to Gini.[1]
And now the journey continues….

Philip Matteson
2016 EfM Graduate



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Adult Christian Formation–Fall 2016

There is such a sense of anticipation with the start of a new program year. It’s a new beginning.  We can make this year into whatever we want.  It’s a new adventure!

Jesus’s purpose in calling the disciples was, indeed, to take them on a new adventure, the crazy awesome journey of learning to follow him and be more and more like him.  And that’s really our purpose this year with Christian Formation…figuring out how to follow Jesus in this day and age, and how to continue to be more and more like him…that certainly is an adventure!

We hope you’ll join us on this adventure! Here’s what’s coming up this fall:

 

 



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Blessing of the Backpacks Sunday, August 7

A family service and Children’s Sermon on Sunday August 7 at 9:30 a.m. included the Blessing of the Backpacks as children and youth prepared to start another school year. Children of all ages brought their backpacks to church for a special blessing, and teachers and college students (adults, too!) took part, receiving a special blessing.

This event marked the end of the summer service schedule at St. Matt’s. On August 14, St. Matthew’s returned to two services at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with breakfast at 9:00 a.m. between services and Sunday School registration for all ages at 9:30 a.m. Sunday School classes resume Sunday, August 21 at 9:30 a.m. St. Matthew’s is a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming faith community. and we welcome all to come worship Jesus Christ in community with us.

 



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Vacation Bible School — Surf Shack!

Surf Shack was a blast! 

Every year, VBS is a clear reminder of God’s divine providence, and Surf Shack was no exception.  With almost 90 children, we needed a lot of youth and adult volunteers, and the Holy Spirit led just the right number to us at just the right times.  Over 60 adults and youth dedicated their week to sharing God’s love with the children of our community.  If you were able to witness the joyful energy, you know what a blessing it is to have such a vibrant program here at St. Matt’s.  If you missed it, be sure to check it out next summer!  You do NOT need to give your entire week – many of our volunteers were only able to spend one day at Surf Shack.

Many thanks to all the people who made Surf Shack a huge success.  And special thanks to the center area leads who spent time preparing for the week and then working tirelessly to create a full VBS experience for all the children.  Beth DiGiovanni, Amanda Livermont, Sharon Ferrell, Kira Coats, Jessie Hurst, Heidi Byron, Caroline Carter, Isaac Camden, Nancy Drury, Josh Hurst and Nate Olbon:  your leadership and commitment set the tone for the week.  And to our dedicated teachers who created and implemented our first ever Special Needs VBS (Abby Whatley, Althea Benton and Norma Dove): hopefully this year’s pilot will lead to a growing program next year.

Are you feeling unsure about helping out next year?  I encourage everyone to find a way to get involved in some capacity.  Leading VBS has been a true joy for me over the past 3 years, even though answering that call took me out of my comfort zone (aka the Craft room).  I am thankful that Sally Ulrey nudged me into my new role, and I can honestly say that it has enriched my life and reinforced my faith.  Please prayerfully consider how you might allow the Holy Spirit to work in you through VBS.

With profound gratitude,

Terri Hurst, VBS Director

With profound gratitude,

Terri Hurst, VBS Director



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Summer Service Schedule Through August 7

Sunday, May 29 – Sunday, August 7 

Continental Breakfast 8:45 a.m.

One Service 9:30 a.m.**

Holy Eucharist, Rite II

No Sunday School or Youth Group

**Nursery available for ages 6 mos. through age four

Two services at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. resume Sunday, August 14, with Sunday School registration at 9:30 a.m.

Sunday School resumes Sunday, August 21 at 9:30 a.m.

 



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Cafè Theology

Cafe Theology

Facilitator: Mother Liz
Location: York Room
Mother Liz invites you to join her  in a new program beginning this Lenten season.     
The first series of Café Theology continues on the following Saturdays, from 10:00-11:30 a.m.: March 5, March 19, April 2, April 16, May 14 and May 21.  The book we are using for this class is “Did God Kill Jesus?”, by Tony Jones.  Information about this book can be found at the Barnes and Noble web site or the Amazon website. 



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Harvard University Offers Free Online Classes on World Religions

Harvard University to Offer Free On-Line class to Promote Religious Literacy

Although sales of the Islamic holy book, the Quran has skyrocketed since 9/11, surveys have found that increased sales have not helped people understand the faith of Islam. In fact, with the recent attacks in Paris and California, there is growing fear and prejudice toward Islam both in the United States and abroad.

To try and improve knowledge of other religions, Harvard University has started a free on-line series of classes on world religions. The classes will be taught by professors from Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College. The courses are being offered via an on-line learning platform called edX, which Harvard University launched along with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The series includes six classes on different subjects that will each run for four weeks. Specific faiths that will be covered include Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. The classes are free, but if you want a non-audit certificate, that does cost $50 per class. For more information and to sign up, use the link below:

Series/world-religions-through-scriptures



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Annual Easter Eggstravaganza Saturday, March 26

St Matthews’ Annual Easter Eggstravaganza

Saturday March 26th

10 am to noon

The eggcitement will include the Easter Bunny, Balloon Clown, games, crafts, face painting
and egg coloring. Of course there will be Easter Egg hunts for the children, splitting them into three age groups.
This morning of fun is for all children up to age 10.  So bring your children, their baskets, and your camera and join in a morning of fun!

Easter Eggstravaganza Help Needed

Youth & Adult Volunteers Needed To Help With This Fun Day For The Children.
Just to name a few….
Set Up   *   Decorating   *   Hunt    *   Snacks   *   Crafts   *   Games   *  Clean Up
Really need help setting up the Parish Hall Friday afternoon too.
You will find the signup sheet on the bulletin board in front of the office or you can contact Cheryl Wheeler @ cherly756@yahoo.com
We also need donations of individually wrapped candy
by Wednesday March 16th

to fill over 1200 eggs that will be used for the hunt.
Look for a basket in the Narthex for your donations.



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Aging is Risky Business Seminar

Aging is Risky Business
What you don’t know CAN hurt you
Don’t go it alone!

March 5, 2016
8:30 am to 3:00 pm
Parish Hall

Description: This seminar is designed to address issues the Aging Population will face. Topics include:

  • “Scripture, Aging and Values”
  • “Dynamics of Aging,” taught by a Nurse, which will include info about Geriatric Care Managers
  • “Aging from a Legal Perspective” by Wally Kelleman, an attorney and retired nurse
  • “We wish you a long life–How do you plan to pay for it?” on the Financials of Aging
  • “Making Your Final Arrangements” by Mother Liz
  • “Leaving a Legacy”

Speakers

  • Mother Liz Hendrick, Rector St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
  • Metta Johnson, RN, BSN, CNC, Nurse Consultant, Certified Care Manager
  • Mark DiGiovanni, CFP, ChFC, MBA, Investment Advisor, Marathon Financial Strategies
  • N Wallace Kelleman, Esq, LLM, LTCP, Retired RN, Licensed Insurance Agent~ Wally

Register by emailing Sally at stmattsyouth@bellsouth.net  The cost is $12 which includes lunch.



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