At a time when white supremacists are still assembling to foment hate and division, when terrorists who have perverted the message of Islam are still perpetrating death and destruction, advocating tolerance seems like a necessary starting place for restoring respect and civility to the public square. But how do we, as dreamers of a better world, help to move things beyond tolerance to a place of unconditional love where we are celebrating our diversity? Our Episcopal tradition invites us to not simply tolerate diversity, but to celebrate the great gift of diverse traditions, ethnicities, languages, customs, cultures, sexualities, and creeds.
As we continue to witness horrific acts of hate, our faith challenges us to respond with a love that cultivates healing and hope. Let’s continue to discern how God is calling us to respond, individually and collectively, and let’s continue to pray for the courage to love in God’s name.
Believe it or not, this Monday, our Day School begins its 54th year of providing quality education in a loving, Christian atmosphere! Please pray for Liz Ryan, our Day School director, and our teachers: Grace Aho, Morgan Miller, and Kathy Yates, as we begin the 2017-18 school year. We have 34 children enrolled this year! Please pray for these 34 children and their families, especially on Monday, as the tears will undoubtedly flow...from both the parents and the children! Also, please keep our Day School Board members, who give so much of themselves to help guide and support our Day School, in your prayers.
Another one of our ministries to children and families, Paul's Place After School program, begins its 17th year on Monday. Please pray for Kathy Fazio, Paul's Place director; Taylor Kilpatrick, assistant director; and Miliene Dallegrand, assistant; and our other Paul's Place staff and volunteers as we begin this new school year. We have 29 children participating in our Paul's Place After School program this year. Please remember these children and their families in your prayers.
Our Church School has many exciting, faith-filled Sunday events planned for the beginning of the new school year. Starting today with the blessing of teachers, backpacks, and our Day School playground, and continuing next Sunday with our "Happy New Year" puppet show, and the CROS Ministries food sorting project on August 27, all leading up to Sunday, September 10, when our Church School will begin. This year we are excited about a Church School curriculum that will be lectionary based. That means that our kindergarten through fifth-grade children will be hearing the same bible stories in Church School that will be proclaimed in Sunday worship. This is a wonderful way for our families to share God's Word, starting from the same place and being steeped in God's love! Please pray for Rev. Kathleen, our Children, Youth, and Family Ministry director; Liz Ryan, our children's faith formation coordinator; Erica Ragnott, our Nursery director; our Church School teachers and volunteers; and all of our Church School children and families, that this new school year will be filled with faith, fun and grace.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This special feast day invites us to embrace anew the divine gift of Jesus Christ, revealed to Peter, James, and John as the Son of God, the Chosen Messiah. Jesus, in his transfigured glory, appears with Moses and Elijah. Moses is revered by the Jewish people as the giver of the law and the one chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Elijah is revered by the Jewish people as the greatest of all of the prophets. In Jesus, the law and the prophets find their fulfillment.
The Transfiguration was a mountainside moment of grace for Peter, James, and John. It was an opportunity for them to glimpse the eternal glory of Jesus. As summer vacation season winds down, I hope that you have had a summer filled with moments of grace. These moments can energize and sustain us as we return to our more regular, school-year routines.
Next weekend, August 12 & 13, will be filled with blessings! We will bless teachers at all of our weekend services. At our 10am service, we will bless our children and their school backpacks. After the 10am service, we will celebrate a special blessing of our new Day School playground. Be sure to check out the schedule of upcoming Children, Youth, and Family Ministry events in the Acts of St. Paul section of this bulletin!