The church celebrates the new liturgical year at the beginning of Advent. We do so with a season of preparation for the celebration of the Feast of the Incarnation - celebrating God With Us. At various times in history, Advent has been seen as a penitential season, but even without the sense of penitence, many find the process of watching and waiting to be a time of reflection and amendment of life, echoed by the secular world with New Year's resolutions.
In the northern hemisphere, it is a journey into darkness and the longest night of the year, followed by increasing light and activity. In most farming and gardening circles, it is a time for the ground to lie fallow and rest before yielding new life with lengthening days and warmer weather.
Depending on your work or retirement situation, the new year can be a call to new busyness - to stop lollygagging with holidays and get back to something real - whether year-end routines and new start-ups at work, or new projects to seem busy at home. Yet winter is not over yet. There is still value in finding the balance of leisure and activity, of remaining fallow to be more generative later. Read a book or catch up with friends - not with compulsion of holiday fervor, but with a gentler pace.
In a similar vein, we note that the magi came to visit the Christ Child, led by visions and dreams along the way. They knew they needed to seek, but did not know what they were looking for. Even once they were there, they listened to the dreams that told them to go home by a different way.
We are on a journey in life as well. Some of us are still seeking the Christ, to better understand and deepen our faith. Some have already encountered the Christ and are seeking to make Christ better known in the world around us. As we continue on this journey, let us share with one another in the dreams and visions we have, so that we can find the common points and work together. Who is Christ calling us to be in Amador County? How is Christ calling us to be in Amador County? How do we continue to make that happen? Hopefully, we will share those with one another to help direct our church community to where we are called to be.
While we each have our individual callings and ministries as part of the church, we need to also continue to look at our common calling and ministry to be faithful to God's call. May the Spirit of the Magi continue to guide our paths in the months ahead.
Did You Know?
-Jan. 3rd is a Vestry meeting at 6pm in Jane's Hall.
-Jan. 5th at 10am is a meeting at the church for anyone who IS or WANTS TO BE a host, greeter, usher. We will gather to look at the ways in which this ministry is working and review some of the details of how the worship service is changing.
-Jan. 9th, 11am: Sewing/Social group meets in Jane's Hall. You don't have to sew or do needle work to come by and visit. Everyone is welcomed.
-Jan. 10th- book study resumes at 5:30pm in Jane's Hall. The group meets each Thursday at 5:30pm unless there's a vestry meeting scheduled.
-Jan. 13th is Tuna Sunday. Bring canned tuna to church to support the food bank.
-Jan. 27th is a single service at 9:30am followed by the Annual Meeting.
-The Centering Prayer group meets each Wednesday at 9:30-10:30am in Jane's Hall. Everyone is welcome to join this meditative practice. If you have questions about Centering Prayer, contact Martha Robbins, 296-7842.
Senior Warden's Words
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
What a beautiful reminder as we begin a brand new year! I have always loved this portion of scripture. As a person who has not always had the gift of embracing change easily, it serves as a reminder that no matter the situation at hand, God is in a constant process of making all things new. Truly a hope that springs eternal!
In November of 2016, when Pastor Karen asked if I would serve as the Senior Warden to Vestry, I readily said, "sure." I was already present at vestry meetings and assisting her in a number of other areas; the idea of taking on this role felt like it was more in title than in workload or additional responsibility. Little did I know of the changes that were on the horizon!
Through the two years that have passed since that time, I have repeatedly been amazed at the experience of - just when the idea of the change was beginning to feel overwhelming - I would somehow take note of something new springing up, a new path being made, and I would remember to come back to whatever was present in that moment. What a funny thing our God does in helping us to remember that light always follows the darkness.
This is the last newsletter article I will write as Senior Warden (for at least a few years) as my term on vestry comes to an end. And while the experiences, joys, and challenges have been many, there are a few lessons that have stood out to me above others:
1) Change happens. Whether change is easy or difficult for you personally, it requires a certain level of adaptation on all sides. I have experienced repeated gratitude after witnessing how well we have worked during these times of change by remaining flexible and willing to be present to the challenges faced; our own and those of others.
2) Transparency is essential. A willingness to work with the new and remain flexible seems much more present when people understand what is going on and why. One of the first things I decided as Senior Warden was that the Vestry needed to remain absolutely transparent about everything possible (with the exception of protecting candidate's privacy). I am proud that this was true! I believe that it was a factor in the relative ease in which we came through our interim period; particularly at the end with no Priest at hand.
3) How we communicate matters. Mature, clear communication that can address joys, concerns, and both hard and easier truths helps us to maintain the respect we have grown together. When delivered with love and received with openness our words can transform ourselves and others.
4) Love is the highest expression Christ's presence among us. "Beloved. Let us love one another, for he who loves is born of God and knows God." Anyone who has spent any time with the parishioners of Trinity knows what it feels like to be in God's midst because of our love for one another.
In closing, I want to say that I have so appreciated being your Senior Warden the past two years. The way our church has operated has been, in my estimation, phenomenal and I am excited to see what God has in store for us. While I am truthfully a bit excited about having a bit of a break, I am equally challenged about the idea of letting go. However, letting go is essential in order for new ways to begin. This is not to say that I intend to back away from leadership and ministry, only that I am open to receiving the new ways in which I am called.
I hope you join me in this openness and willingness to serve as you are called. God is doing new things among us and our ability to perceive these new things and put them into action is the response we can offer to our God.
Peace and Love,
Food Bank Donations
Food gifts for November totaled 56 pounds. The total for 2018 is at 1065 pounds.
Thank you for your generous support of this ministry.
Trinity Singers Rehearsals
All are invited to join the Trinity Singers/Worship Team! Rehearsals are Wednesdays at 5pm. Bring your voices, your instruments, and a heart for worship and praise! For more information, please contact Deena Holland at 209-296-6616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following members of our church family are celebrating birthdays in January!
3rd- Margaret Lewis
8th- Aloysha Mathany
12th- Dale Miller
13th- Linda Krauthamel-Lane
22nd- Shirley Tscharner
29th- Jesse Miller
If you are celebrating a birthday in January, but you don't see your name listed here, please contact our Parish Administrative Asst.
Would You Like to Contribute to the Newsletter?
If you have an article of interest to the congregation that you would like included in the newsletter, please email it to the office, email@example.com by the 20th of the month. It will be included in the next month's newsletter.
Trinity Episcopal Church, 430 N Hwy 49, Sutter Creek, CA 95685