On May 21st, I attended a Diocesan workshop called Living Local: Joining God. It was held at Christ Church in Gardiner. I wanted to share some of what I learned at this workshop as I feel it is very relevant with where we are as Christians and we as a parish.

We were asked to put our parish in one of four types. The brackets represent the icons that were these types:

  1. Reactive – [Hunkering down in our castle] Membership is decreasing, neighborhood has changed, many historical buildings in the area, parish needs money to maintain their building, spending down the principle of investments.
  2. Developmental – [Polishing the apple] We want to make ourselves more attractive, we renovate, change the carpet… We design programs to attract families with kids and/or adults. We make changes to our service.
  3. Transitional – [Plane that converts to a car] Make attempts to attract people. Imaginative, reconnect, re-neighbor, ask people how they are thinking.
  4. Transformational – [Dalmatian with Dalmatian kittens, not pups] Complete changes that are a 180 degree about face of where we are today.

Which category would you put us in?  Before I give my answer, think about your answer to the categories. My answer is below.

One of my takeaways was in the questions we ask ourselves. Our default questions have always been:

  1. How do we grow our church?
  2. How do we get people into church?
  3. How do we meet the needs of help?

We need to learn to ask the God questions:

  1. What might the spirit of God be up to out ahead of us in our neighborhoods?
  2. How do we participate more fully in what God might be doing in our neighborhoods and communities?

We went out in groups of 4 and walked the neighborhoods of Gardiner recording our observations. Our guiding Gospel was Luke 10:1-12 .

Luke 10 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

My choice- So, while I felt we landed in multiple types, I chose the second based on the fact that we are still trying to attract people to our church instead of going out in our communities to get to people. I feel we are getting out, but not as a mission, more as outreach. We are too concerned about maintaining our church building as a means of survival to get out and help the Nones and Dones[1] find their faith.

Doing so (getting out) requires more discernment than planning. It is a step into the unknown and needs for us to be brave and bold and just get out and find out. Easier said than done.

Paul Beaudette

[1] Nones and Dones refers to people who have no religious affiliations, the Nones, and those that used to affiliate but no longer do, the Dones.

Joyful Noise Choir

February 7, 2016

THE BUTTERFLY SONG
Snapshot 3 (2-7-2016 3-37 PM)

VIEW

red-tail-hawk-best2Think of the different cries we hear in the wilderness: the cry of the hawk circling the sky, the murmur of the dove in the grass; a battle cry, a cry of grief; the cry of the warrior, the cry of the lost lover. All are in the passion of Advent.

John the Baptist arrives with the cry of the hawk. He is a warrior in battle, the prophet going to Jerusalem. PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, John first cries. MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT. (You brood of vipers, we’ll hear next week). Make a path through the wilderness. Make a path through the clutter in your hearts.
Both paths need opening in the wilderness of everyday pre-occupations, and in our cluttered hearts. How many of you have cleared a path in the woods? I’m not talking about raking leaves in the backyard. I’m talking about a woods filled with vines, thick with undergrowth, with low lying branches that snap back. Has anyone cleared a path in such a setting? Who has cut a path in such a setting?

Read more

No one of us is called to be a Christian alone.  That’s why we’re here, saying our prayers together and having communion.  We are called together into the Body of Christ. No heroes in this business.  Christ opens the way for us to become neighbors, friends; mothers, fathers, sons and daughters  privileged to be part of  the promise, care and spirit  God holds for us and in us- in Christ our Lord.

Click here for the whole sermon.

Headed by Calvin Dube, the Cell to Street Ministry hosted a BBQ on August 22nd at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Auburn, with 60 people attending. Family members from as far away as New York came to help released inmates celebrate their new lives. This was the 3rd year that the BBQ was held and it has grown each year. Calvin stated that each event, which includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners, has shown immense support from families, St. Michael’s and neighbors.

St. Michael’s supports this ministry which helps newly released inmates re-establish themselves into community life.

Cell2St_8.12.15 (10)  Cell2St_8.12.15 (8) Cell2St_8.12.15 (7) Cell2St_8.12.15 (5) Cell2St_8.12.15 (4) Cell2St_8.12.15 (2) Cell2St_8.12.15 (1)

The Old Testament and gospel swirl in sex and politics.  You might say they’re X-rated.  David, as he enters Jerusalem, about to become king, spins in ecstasy, dancing to lyres and trumpets, tambourines, castanets and symbols-  while off to the side Saul’s daughter seethes. Saul, her father, was the previous kJohn The Baptisting.  His daughter is jealous.  Saul, himself, will soon fall on his own sword in violent grief.  For David, it’s an inaugural ball. For Saul and his daughter, it’s a wake and funeral.  Read more here.

A sermon by Fr. Ed Greene

November 22, 1963, was the day President Kennedy was assassinated.  Those of us who were alive back then can probably remember exactly what we were doing when we first heard the news.  I was in music class at Bowdoin College and the professor announced, “The President has just been shot in Dallas!”  September 11, 2001, was the day terrorist planes flew into the World Trade Center.   I arrived home after getting physical therapy for an arthritic hip, and my mother had the television on, and we watched in dismay as the first tower collapsed.  Do you remember what you were doing?

The prophet Isaiah remembers exactly what he was doing at his time of national calamity.  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple.Seraphim_angel

Uzziah and Isaiah – two different people with similar-sounding names. Read more…

Here’s a great mystery: WE are already with the Father. WE are loved by God from the beginning. “They were yours from the beginning,” Jesus says.  You may remember in Genesis after each day of Creation, God says it is good, it is good, it is very good – the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and every creepy crawly thing, it is good. And on the sixth day… read on

by Mary Lou Rider
Robert MacDonald, a very good friend of several of St. Michael parishioners was welcomed to St. Michael’s this past Tuesday. Mr. MacDonald gave an excellent presentation on his latest trip to Cambodia. The group of parishioners who attended came into the Washburn room hearing Cambodian music and all the woman that attended were all given a Cambodian scarf made by woman of that country. Mr. MacDonald showed slides of Cambodian children, places of worship, and the sights of the country. He had been visiting friends of his that are missionaries. Not only were pictures presented but there were other materials for parishioners to look at. Mr. MacDonald had wedding invitations, menus, water cups, slingshots, postcards, money and many other materials. Cambodian coffee was served along with some treats from Ellie Wheeler and Marge Hansen. Great fun was had by all.

Last night the church was dark and bare, like the empty tomb. We heard the story of creation, breath moving over the waters, escape from oppression through the desert wilderness, dry bones wanting to turn back, and manna drawing us on to a land of promise. Then the lights came on, bells rung, altar linens and silver vessels re-appeared. Banners are on the walls.  We have spring flowers (Yes, they will even come outside). 

The resurrection reminds us we come through a history.  We are about more than happy, clappy.  Mary, Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came grieving to do the rites of burial.  They fretted walking down the road, ‘Who will roll away the rock?.”  Read more

St. Michael’s watercolor by Rev. Gary Price

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St. Michael's Episcopal Church
78 Pleasant Street
Auburn, Maine 04210

207.782.1346
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The Rev. Dan Warren,
Priest-in-Charge

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