A note for this Sunday April 2

March 31st, 2017 by

As part of the 10 o’clock service, and as part of our Confirmation classes, Bishop Carl will lead us in an Instructed Eucharist. This is an opportunity to have a guided description of the elements of our weekly celebration of Communion.  We will have an instructed liturgy (for the first part of the service) in future weeks. You can see an overview of our whole service here.

 

Two things can aid us as we share this Holy Communion on Sunday. First, listen for the good news of Jesus Christ and be attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit as we move through the prayers. The prayers speak to God and ask Him to act among us. Second, don’t settle just for understanding when we are invited to participate and experience communion with Christ. Let the description deepen rather than replace your worship.

 

In addition, we will be dedicating and asking God’s blessing upon new altar linens, acolyte albs, and Prayer Books for service in the church. A short prayer for years of future service.

 

The altar guild and many others prepare for our gathered worship each week with others in mind. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer describes the preparation for Holy Communion in this way.

 

“The Table at the Communion time having a fair white linen cloth upon it,

shall stand in the body of the Church”  BCP 1662

 

A simple sentence hiding hours of weekly ministry. Preparing for the celebration of Communion each Wednesday and Sunday and for the other services of the church. The bread and wine, the chalice and paten, with candles trimmed and burning week by week. If you are willing to serve in essential and mostly hidden ministry, call the church office or ask a guild member.

 

Thanks to Whitney Neubecker and Gordon Hunt for their gifts of photography during services. They are helping us prepare a slide show for Maundy Thursday.

 

As we continue to seek God through worship, word and in prayer, we hope that this opportunity to see all three woven together at our Lord’s Table will be a blessing to you.

 

Christopher+

Summer Sunday School (June – August)

March 31st, 2017 by

We are looking for about 18 people who would like to invest in the lives of our kid’s at New Covenant on Sunday mornings this summer! Many of the teachers and song leaders who lead throughout the year take a break during the summer, and so we are looking for a commitment of to 1-2 times per month during the summer months. Please contact Chris Reilly at 407-699-0202 for more information.

Easter Egg Hunt Candy Needed

March 30th, 2017 by

 

The candy donation basket for the egg hunt is out in the foyer.

Please donate individually wrapped candy.

Marriage Small Group

March 30th, 2017 by

John and Susan Stevens will be hosting up to 5 couples at their home for a marriage focused small group. Meeting on 8 Sunday afternoons from 12:30 (after 10:00 am service) until ~3:30, beginning March 26th. The meeting includes lunch as a couple with conversation starter questions, a video from the John & Staci Eldridge Love & War and a group discussion to share our experience, strength and hope. Cost for the books is $31 per couple but don’t let that stop you! RSVP to 407-695-0023.

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Easter Egg Hunt

March 29th, 2017 by

 

                                        

Saturday, April 8

Beginning at 11:00 am.  Bring your family and friends to our annual egg hunt!  We will have a free picnic lunch and an Easter activity to take home.  For information, contact Erica Stephenson at 407-687-8570.  Look for our ad in the Tuskawilla and Oak Forest Newsletters.

Resurrection in Corinth

March 28th, 2017 by

Sunday April 2

At 9:00 am.  Join us in the Parish Hall as we look at the NT books of Corinthians. See how the promise of Easter reshapes life in a complicated world. Breakfast, conversation and interactive study. Resources for the class and other materials are located here.

Walk for Life

March 27th, 2017 by

Brochures in Narthex.  Sponsor a walker or participate.  For information contact Shannon Muldowney at 321-262-5781.

WALKING, WALKING …AND THEN HE WAS NO MORE

March 24th, 2017 by

I stared out of my hotel window, some random raindrops hitting the glass.  I was looking down on the seriously overcrowded streets of Port-au-Prince I had just left.  From one perspective I could see some stately mountains and the Caribbean Sea, but my eyes kept returning to the flood of people walking.  I was pretty sure they weren’t wearing fitbits or counting their steps, this is the way they live their days, walking.

And so the existential shock I anticipated began to hit me.  I was in a different world again.  Bringing 75 young girl dresses for a medical missionary to distribute in hospitals and orphanages had been a fair warning that my heart would be vulnerable.

 

 The lion’s share of my time in Haiti would be spent with three amazing Haitian clergy who would fast become heroes for Canon Kevin Donlon and me.  The light and joy that radiated from them, as they spoke about their ministry and the possibility of walking together with Anglican Mission, was stunning!  God bless these godly servants of grace!

The first blow to my heart happened that morning at the boarding gate at Orlando International Airport.  Glancing through my texts, I saw the note about Dell’s passing. I was still in disbelief when Kevin’s voice rang out, “Well, how is Bishop Buffington this morning?”  I looked up, tried for a smile, and stammered, “Shocked, stunned.  He was 100 years old but strangely he wasn’t supposed to die.”

Here’s a clip from an August 10, 2004 letter Dell wrote to me:

“Dear, dear Carl,

You have been besieged with such oppressively serious stuff, recently, I would like to throw at you something on the lighter side-maybe even a chuckle or two. Please give serious consideration to my death and memorial service.

First of all I have no plans of dying soon nor, as far as I know, does God. In recent times, considering the way things have been going, I have from time to time thought I might avoid dying but I figure so many more things apparently must happen before Jesus returns, the odds are I won’t last that long… now, when I do kickoff, regulation burial is not in the cards for me…”

God love you,

Dell

 Dell was one of the founders of New Covenant and has written a history for us.  In addition, he was a walker.  I heard he began serious walking after he retired and tromped the Appalachian Trail more than once.  When our family first arrived on the scene, he invited Peter, AJ, and me for a walk on the Florida Trail.

He was one who clearly walked with his Lord.  He had a refreshingly joyful and quiet confidence about him.  For a season, Thom Shaw and I would meet him for a breakfast at a diner on Fairbanks Avenue and we would leave filled, uplifted, and refreshed.  I’m thankful for the few precious steps I got to share with Dell on this earth.

I still haven’t heard the details of his last step here and first step into the fullness of the Kingdom, but somehow suspect it was not unlike Enoch’s:

“Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Gn 5.24

 

In Thanksgiving for the life of Dell Loyless,

Expect the Unexpected

March 17th, 2017 by

To all who are doing the Prayer Book Lenten discipline, you might want to expect the unexpected.  Drawing closer can be like walking in the dark, and then when the light comes on, there you are face to face, or at least nearer than you expected, to your Savior.

 

Below is a quote from an interview by James Martin, S.J., of Andrew Garfield, an actor from the movie SILENCE. (I have included the link in case you want to read more.)  Garfield had taken on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to prepare him for his part in the movie.  He did not expect what would happen as a result.

 

Andrew Garfield, pictured here with the director Martin Scorsese

 

“What was more surprising, what surprises him (Garfield) still, was falling in love.

When I asked what stood out in the Exercises, he fixed his eyes vaguely on a point in the near distance, wandering off into a place of memory. Then, as if the question had brought him back into the experience itself, he smiled widely and said:

 “What was really easy was falling in love with this person, was falling in love with Jesus Christ. That was the most surprising thing.”

He fell silent at the thought of it, clearly moved to emotion. He clutched his chest, just below the sternum, somewhere between his gut and his heart, and what he said next came out through bursts of laughter:

“God! That was the most remarkable thing—falling in love, and how easy it was to fall in love with Jesus.”

 

The interesting thing to me is what spiritual exercises and disciplines can do, even when you are not expecting it!  Even our liturgy on Sundays is a spiritual discipline drawing us near.

 

I haven’t seen the movie and I hear it is rough.  I have read the book by Shusaku Endo, which is beautifully written but is still a hard, gruesome, story.  It’s based on the true story of some Jesuit missionaries going to Japan in the early 1600s when Christianity was illegal.

 

I pray for all of us this Lenten season as we draw closer to our Lord through our spiritual exercises, that we too, might be completely caught off guard and blessed out of our socks by the Love of Jesus!  Amen!

 

In His Love,

 

+Carl

 

PS http://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2017/01/10/andrew-garfield-played-jesuit-silence-he-didnt-expect-fall-love-jesus

Friday Epistle for March 17

March 17th, 2017 by

Our journey to Easter with Jesus takes us intentionally to   the edges of where we are comfortable.

This week, we find in John chapter 4 that the same Jesus (filled with the Spirit at his Baptism) who was compelled   into the wilderness to face temptations alone (Luke 4.1) is now driven into Samaria ” Now he had to go through Samaria…” to encounter the spoken and unspoken limits of mission.

 

Which would be preferable to us? Perhaps we would prefer to face our Lenten deprivations as we contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus in the privacy of a wilderness. Or consider our own feelings of anxiety as we enter situations with people whose demeanor, story, and questions can feel overwhelming.

 

Notice that Jesus is weary, hungry and thirsty in both settings.

 

Celebrate that Jesus is equally capable in both.

 

(I sometimes ask the devil for a drink and exorcise difficult people, but that is not ideal.)

 

Looking again at this familiar conversation at the well gives us renewed opportunities to move a bit closer to Jesus as he guides us in his way towards Jerusalem and the Holy Week that begins to color our horizon.

 

As we do that, I was reminded of a popular book many of you have perhaps read or appreciated.  Tom Rath’s How Full is Your Bucket explores the reality of our needs and how they are met through community, our approach to others and the power of affirmation. Much in the book is helpful, and its strategies have been successfully implemented to aid in classrooms, workplaces and families. You can see a 6 minute children’s video of the idea here.

 

You can listen to an excerpt of the original book from the publisher’s website here.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page for “The theory of the dipper and the bucket”

You can read an excerpt of the book and see the idea in practice here.

 

The woman at the well speaks in terms of buckets and dippers as well. Jesus’ replies to her, and our own replies to the people in our lives, have an important choice to make. The path Jesus takes with her and with us turns the wilderness into wetlands, and that same path is open to us as we reach out to our neighbors, friends and especially our families.

 

See you Sunday,

 

Christopher+

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