I would like to take the time for this weeks update to reflect some on the life of our small congregation. As a church we are not a program centered church but a church centered on our worship in the liturgy of the Word and Table every Sunday. In our three years it is out of our worship of God together that community has been formed and out of which we have acted in the world. It is my firm belief that gathering as the people of God each Sunday to praise God, hear God's word and receive Christ in bread and wine are foundational to the community we create as a congregation and the things we do in the world both individual and as a congregation.
I mention this (some of you have heard me say this before) again now because we are in transition in a number of areas:1) the most obvious is that we are in the process of saying goodbye to Tripp and will be looking for a new American Baptist pastor for our pastoral team. 2) in the past two months we have had a number of visitors some of whom are making Reconciler (or thinking about it) their church home. 3) We are working towards being hospitable to families with young children both by moving our worship time to 5PM but also by creating childcare during the service. 4) We have added to our pastoral team for a few months an Episcopal deacon. All of these are signs of our growth.
As we grow I hope we can keep our focus on why we come together and why we act in the world. Church is not simply another community, nor simply another organization to accomplish this or that. We come together to remember and to proclaim. We remember that God has acted in history to bring about the transformation of the world, ultimately through sending Jesus Christ to humanity. We proclaim that God is bringing about the transformation of the world through Jesus Christ and we share in that best by being joined with Christ.
Thus we are not focused on programs or what we do, we are focused on what God is doing both in our midst and in the world. We find that vision for what God is doing through worship that renews our minds and joins us with Christ. Community can be created anywhere around anything, organizations to help the poor or work for this or that cause can be created for multiple reasons and from a myriad of philosophical foundations. Church is about being united with what God is doing through the work of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we come to know this and are given eyes to see the kingdom through our worship.
May God continue to bind us together and strengthen us for the work set before us, in Jesus Christ and by the power of the Spirit.
We have an Episcopal deacon for several Months, Rev. Beth Scriven, but many of you may be unaware of all a deacon may do in the Episcopal church. A deacon is an ordained clergy, some will remain deacons others are what are called transitional deacons, on the way to being ordained a priest. Priests were first ordained deacons before being ordained priests. Beth is a transitional deacon. What is a deacon? A deacon assists the priest and in line with the Greek meaning of deacon, "servant", is there to help direct a congregation/parish's ministry to the world. Part of the ministry of a deacon is to preach as well as assist the priest in the liturgy and at table. As for what this means for Reconciler Beth is a member of the pastoral team as ordained clergy person, she assists in the liturgy and will preach on occasion (her first time preaching with us will be October 14th), she also will serve as with the Social Action committee. If you would like to know more or have any questions about deacons or what Beth's presence with us the next several months means for Reconciler feel free to talk with Beth or Tripp Laura and Larry.
Saturday October 27th, 9 AM to Noon, there is a meeting with Eileen Crowley to begin planning elements of the Holy Week and Easter services. Immanuel is asking for our involvement in the planning of these services with Eileen Crowley the artist-in-residence this year with Immanuel. If you are interested please let one of the pastoral team know ASAP so we can let Immanuel know who is interested in being involved.
Sunday November 4th is All Saints Sunday. We will be worshiping with Immanuel and St Elias. Laura will be presiding and pastor Monte of Immanuel will be preaching. The service will be at 10:30 AM and we will not be worshiping at our regular time of 5:00 PM.
Our Bible Study series on Sabbath economics and money will begin October 17th. We are beginning with reading and discussing the book The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics, by Ched Myers. If plan to take part in the Bible Study and do not already have this book talk with Jeremy John.
Our all church leadership retreat is Friday November 30th and Saturday December 1st, at the Cenacle retreat center here in Chicago.
December 23rd we will be having a joint worship service with st Elias and Immanuel, at 1:30 PM, we will not be worshiping at our usual time of 5 PM.