Merry Christmastide! In the hubbub of the secular celebrations, and the busyness of our own family and religious celebrations, it is easy for us to stop celebrating the Feast of the Incarnation early. Part of that may be our human nature and a certain built-in attention deficit disorder that is partially caused by our culture's addition to something new and something different. The routine becomes boring and we stop paying attention. This is where the mindfulness practices being reclaimed in our Christian Tradition become important. Pay attention to the moment. Pay attention to the Feast we are celebrating today, without getting caught up in the potential excitement of the future (which may or may not materialize).
We are caught up in the Time-Space continuum, needing to be present to the here and now. We also need to be mindful to control the things we can about the future and make some plans and take some steps. While I was living in the Yemen, I encountered a certain fatalism that was associated with the local culture there. In'shallah (God Willing) was one of the most common phrases used, and it often denoted an excuse for not doing things more than a reason for doing things. It abdicated or excused personal responsibility to the fatalistic whims of God. Here is the West, we often find ourselves abdicating responsibility for things, effectively saying In'shallah, because we find ourselves overwhelmed by decisions that we think are beyond our control (the issue is too big; the deciders are too powerful; who am I to decide; I don't have enough information).
As we enter the new calendar year, I hope that we will all take time each day to be present to what is in front of us today, being aware of what is happening and responding properly to the situations. I also hope that we will all take some steps in planning for our individual and corporate future, looking at the issues prayerfully and then acting appropriately for their fulfillment (even while recognizing that they may not come to fruition). In that regard, I commend to you the full version of a prayer that has come to be known as The Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr. I have found that each of the phrases takes on a slightly different meaning at different times of the day, or days of the week. It is a prayer that helps me reflect on the issues at hand, as well as my responses. It is a prayer that helps lead into transformation. It is disquieting and discomforting, even as it quiets and comforts. May you all be blessed with similar discomfort as you confront the prayer and yourselves.
God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can;
wisdom to know the difference;
living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Pax et Bonum,
Did You Know?
-Jan. 5th, 9:30am: Introduction to the Book of Common Prayer, in the undercroft.
-Jan. 12th, 9:30am: Beginning to pray, in the undercroft.
-Jan. 12th: Tuna Sunday. Bring canned tuna to church in support of the food bank.
-Jan. 16th, 4pm: New book study begins. See article later in newsletter.
-Jan. 19th, 9:30am: Lectionary based Bible study, in the undercroft.
-Jan. 26th: A single church service 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.
Greeting the New Year- The Annual Meeting
As we begin the new calendar year, we have opportunities to reflect on what has happened in the past. More importantly, we have the opportunity to begin planning for the coming years ahead of us. Ideally, the reflection of the past will yield fruit by informing us of the things that have worked for us and that values that we cherish to move forward. In the congregation, some of this work occurs through the Annual Meeting.
There is much to be done in the coming years. In December, the Vestry made tentative approval of a budget that shows a $66,000 deficit. Since then, more pledges have come in, but the financial picture is bleak. We (the Vestry with input from the congregation) need to do some serious work in evaluating what we want our future to look like AND then take steps to make it happen.
At our Annual Meeting, we normally elect three new members of Vestry who replace those who terms are expiring. This year, we have two additional vacancies to fill, one for two years, and one for one year. I encourage everyone to prayerfully consider standing for election for the vestry and engaging in the work that is ahead of us.
The Vestry is comprised of baptized members of the congregation (of at least 16 years of age), who have been regular in attending church and giving of their time and talent to the church for the past six months. Vestry terms are normally for three years, with a year off before being eligible to run for a full term again. Some have asked about the shorter terms - do they need to take a year off? - and the answer is no. It is possible to serve the one- or two-year term and still be eligible to run for a full term without taking the time off.
Our Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with a combined worship service at 9.30 am on the 26th of January 2020. We will open the meeting, just before the Eucharist begins, receiving nominations for the positions open on the Vestry. After the Eucharist, we will have a break and resume the meeting (note that this helps meet our requirements that the nominating process be open for at least an hour). During the meeting, we will also elect delegates to our Diocesan Convention.
We have a lot of work ahead of us in 2020. I certainly hope that all of you will be able to come and join in the work of our Annual Meeting.
Pax et Bonum
New Book Study begins
In recent weeks the Cutting Edge book study group has taken a detour from actual book study, discussing a series of very stimulating articles instead. Now we're ready to begin the next BOOK, which has been mentioned before, so this is just a reminder. We will be discussing Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication starting Jan 16th, 4:00-5:30 in Jane's Hall.
Surely we can all see how public language escalates polarization. Many of us acknowledge that clearer, more authentic, more compassionate ways of communicating could improve our personal relationships as well. This book supports that undertaking. Check it out on amazon to see how it's 500 5-star reviewers have been helped by it.
Hope to see you on the 16th!
-Free financial literacy classes sponsored by ATCCA are offered every 3rd Thursday from 2-4pm at Kennedy Meadows Apts., 701 NY Ranch Rd. Call 223-1485 ext. 223 to register.
-The LGBTQ Questioning and Ally youth group meets 1st Fridays 3:30-5pm in Jackson. Call or text 209-981-4689 for the location.
-Story Time at the Amador County Library is Thursdays at 10:30am. Contact the library for more details. 209-223-6400
-Upcountry Veterans free monthly lunch is the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 11:30am-1:30pm at Pioneer Veterans' Hall, 25100 Buckhorn Ridge Rd. Contact Lori (209-418-9695) for more details.
-Dementia/Alzheimer's Support Group meets the second Monday of each month (5:30-7pm) at Gold Quartz Inn in Sutter Creek- for information contact Susan at 257-1377. They also meet the third Wednesday of each month (2-3:30pm) at Amador Residential Care in Jackson- for information contact Sheri at 223-4444.
-Dad & me: for dads, uncles, grandpas, etc. and children 0-5 years old. This is a chance for a free, fun outing together (like visiting a fire station or garden center). "Dad & me" events are held the 4th Saturday every month. Call 257-1092 to reserve a spot in the next event. Space is limited.
-NAMI Connection is a free recovery support group for adults with mental illness regardless of diagnosis. They meet on Thursdays at 10:30am-12pm at Sierra Wind and at 1-2:30pm at the Senior Center in Jackson. Call 209-223-1485 x266 for more information.
All are invited to join the Trinity Singers! Choir practice happens each Tuesday at 5pm in the church. Bring your voices, your instruments and a heart for worship and praise! For more information please contact Mary Yount at 209-267-5461.
Food Bank Donations
Food gifts for December totaled 46 pounds.
The total for 2019 is 1292 pounds of food collected in the food cart.
Thank you for your generous support of this ministry.
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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