This year Reformation Sunday is on October 27. If you do not have a tartan to use at the Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans and would like one, please order one yard of tartan fabric, light or medium weight, in the pattern of your clan, from any one of the supply houses online. We will need the fabric in hand by October 3 in order to complete them on time. Kathryn Sellers will help prepare the fabric and arrange the mounting.
See below for a few good supply houses.
Chalking the Doors
I had never heard of this tradition before, but I stumbled across an old Epiphany custom in the Book of Common Worship (BCW) called, “Chalking the Doors.” Epiphany, you’ll remember, is the end of the Christmas season when we mark the time the wise men came to visit the child Jesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (It’s on January 6, this year a Sunday.)
If you have any Epiphany traditions at your house, I’d be interested in hearing them. The holiday seems to get lost as we cut off Christmastide at the New Year. Now is the season for getting your life in order, setting goals, making resolutions.
Epiphany invites us to stay in the Christmas story a little longer, recognizing that the events of Christmas and the presence of God-with-us matter throughout the year.
What does this have to do with chalking the doors? This tradition is a kind of house blessing. You go outside to your front door and write the year and the letters C, M, and B divide by crosses. It looks like this: 20 + C + M + B + 19. C, M, and B represent Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, the names tradition gives to the wise men who visited Jesus. It also abbreviates the phrase Christus mansionem benedictat or “Christ bless this house.”
I’m not sure this is very Reformed (I’m pretty positive it isn’t). But maybe it can remind us all that God-with-us is with us throughout 2019. So rather than “Happy New Year” I say, “Happy Epiphany.”
The following is a prayer from the BCW that accompanies the practice:
God of doors and homes,
bless this home this year and every year.
Bless all how come and go through this door,
both those who live here and those who visit.
May all who enter through this door
come in peace and bring joy.
May all who come to this door
find welcome and love.
May the love and joy of this home overflow
and spread into the community and the world.
And may Jesus the Christ watch over us all. Amen.
Are you travelling for Christmas this year? Or did you just get home from a Thanksgiving trip? Maybe it’s appropriate that we travel so much this time of year remembering, as we do, Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem, racing against time to find a safe place to welcome baby Jesus.
In the coming season of Advent we are waiting for Jesus, too. Each day of the calendar is like another step towards the manger: another step towards feasts with family; another step towards gifts of love; another step towards the announcement of angels: “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” The season has its share of detours—a monthlong cavalcade of parties and obligations, office functions and community events. But, in the end, all roads lead to Bethlehem.
The journey is not unlike a labyrinth. It’s like a maze with twists and turns, but always returning to the right way, and always ending up in the center. In Christian history, the labyrinth was a way that cathedrals could offer pilgrimages for people—journeys with God—even though many could not travel far away. The labyrinth symbolizes that we are all on such a pilgrimage.
This is how we would like to represent our Advent journey this year. Our liturgical arts team has created a labyrinth to help guide our prayers and preparations for Christmas. We hope you will join us on Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 PM in the fellowship hall. There we’ll enjoy food and fellowship, and then an opportunity to explore the labyrinth, led by the Rev. Julie Johnson, a spiritual director with extensive training in the spirituality of labyrinths. The labyrinth will be available for use in the sanctuary during the week; but with special resources available on Tuesday evenings in December. Come find the center of our journey as we prepare for God’s gift to us in Jesus.
The Family Support Council and Camp AIM are based on the belief that all children … all children … have the right to be valued, and the right to live in a safe, healthy environment where they can grow into their human potential.
For us, and probably almost all the people that we know, that doesn’t sound like that big of an ASK. We take it for granted that we will keep our children safe … that we will protect them from … in the words of our sacrament of baptism … “the perils of childhood”.
When these childhood perils tragically include sexual abuse, that victimized child will most certainly carry that experience for life. The way that burden is carried can make the difference toward a successful life.
So, that’s where the FSC and Camp AIM come in, and it’s why this church is such an ardent supporter.
Camp AIM stands for Adventures in ME. It’s a 2-week therapeutic day camp where kids from kindergarten age through high school come together and interact with peer victims and trained counselors and teachers. Each day, in their group sessions these kids work on self-esteem, strategies for keeping themselves safe, and … for me, this is the most heart-wrenching … learning to trust again, and finding the courage to believe that it was not their fault.
The FSC was formed in 1980. Over the years, various programs under the FSC umbrella have grown to the point where now each year it serves over 16,000 individuals. Camp AIM was started in 1992, and now serves about 40 kids each summer, plus or minus. Peggy started our family’s support over 20 years ago. About 6 years ago, when I heard about the poor quality of the food provided to the Camp, the decision was easy. I knew I couldn’t fix the kids, but I could fix food for them.
So, our participation as a church has grown to the point where we now prepare and serve both breakfast and lunch for both weeks. In total, we contribute well over 100 hours of service each year. The Mission Committee now provides the money to buy the food, and about 25 of you, my dear friends, give of your time and talent to pick up, prepare and serve healthy meals to these beautiful kids.
The Camp is always the first 2 full weeks in June. Some time in late April or early May, I’ll begin communicating with everyone who is on my volunteer roster. Huge thanks and gratitude to everyone that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the past few years, and a big invitation to any of you who can help during next year’s Camp. I don’t ever want to NOT do Camp AIM. There’s a bit of work to it. But, it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do. Mark your calendars, and consider joining us this year.