GIFTS OF THE SEASON

Dear Church, 

Everything we have been given in this life is a gift from God: our time, our resources, and our very lives. And as Christians we get to live out our lives in response to God’s many gifts. Despite the challenges of this season, our invitation is no different. The question remains the same– “how will you personally and we as a church respond to God’s gifts of this season?” If everything God has given us is a gift, then everything we have–our very lives–are not ours. They have been given to us. Therefore how will you use that gift? And respond likewise by giving your life away for the sake of your neighbor. 

Below we will collect during our campaign season the various gifts each of our ministries have received. They will address the gifts they are grateful for, and in light of that what they need help with going forward. And finally they will invite you to join them in prayer and partnership in this season, as we all seek to live out our lives in response to God’s gifts. 

We hope you will join us in celebrating the gifts we have been given and prayerfully considering how to respond to them. 

In Christ,

John 

Dear Church, 

Everything we have been given in this life is a gift from God: our time, our resources, and our very lives. And as Christians we get to live out our lives in response to God’s many gifts. Despite the challenges of this season, our invitation is no different. The question remains the same– “how will you personally and we as a church respond to God’s gifts of this season?” If everything God has given us is a gift, then everything we have–our very lives–are not ours. They have been given to us. Therefore how will you use that gift? And respond likewise by giving your life away for the sake of your neighbor. 

Below we will collect during our campaign season the various gifts each of our ministries have received. They will address the gifts they are grateful for, and in light of that what they need help with going forward. And finally they will invite you to join them in prayer and partnership in this season, as we all seek to live out our lives in response to God’s gifts. 

We hope you will join us in celebrating the gifts we have been given and prayerfully considering how to respond to them. 

In Christ,

John 

Gifts of the Season – Ministry Updates

Music & Arts Ministries Update – 11/21

On Sunday I spoke about the “gifts of this season” from an arts ministry perspective, and I shared a word that keeps coming to mind for this time: enlarge. I’ve come to think that the essential purpose of the arts is to enlarge people and our capacities for living and doing in the world. Of course, this isn’t the exclusive domain of the arts, but they seem to have a special potency. Our worship services include poetry and music as fundamental parts of the liturgy for this reason. How else could we hope to engage the Divine? We need an enlarged imagination and language to draw near to Almighty God, so we turn to the arts to help us.

We’ve been enlarged as a parish of late, too. Our understandings of community, of being together, and of worship have all been necessarily enlarged to make room for this “virtual” category, at least. I also think we’ve gained an enlarged capacity for humility, friendship, hospitality, and shared ministry through this pandemic. Perhaps our faith has been enlarged, too, as the Lord continues to sustain us.

It may seem glib to speak of enlargement in such a tough time. While I don’t mean to diminish the real difficulties of the pandemic and other challenges facing us, I remember that, as people of Jesus, we affirm certain paradoxical truths: to be great is to be least; to lead is to serve; to live is to die. Perhaps it makes sense, then, that our God wouldn’t settle for mere maintenance among us in this season. Perhaps God is committed to enlarging us even now.

May the God who is always larger and more generous than we expect continue to enlarge us. And may we be grateful when we recognize it.
-Seth Little, Director of Music & Arts

Here’s what we’re grateful for:
  • The way our parishioners have come together to creatively sustain our community’s worship through the pandemic. Last year, we rallied to remotely record music and readings when we couldn’t be together physically. This year, we’ve made the most of a transitional time by relaunching both Sunday services in-person, maintaining a livestream, and relying deeply on parishioners for all of it.
  • Arts projects and events that gave life and hope to our parish in a difficult season. We’re thinking of February’s online Arts Journal featuring parishioner art, the Art & Faith reading group in Eastertide and Mako Fujimura’s visit, the kintsugi workshop with Vesper Stamper, Sam Wedelich’s red pinwheel installation at Pentecost, and the photography show with Community Ministries that’s about to launch. These and more have helped to refresh our vision and nurture our connection with God and each other.
  • Seth Trouwborst, arts ministry intern-Seth T. has been a gift to Seth L. and to this ministry, and we’re grateful for his investment with All Angels’.
Here’s what we need help with going forward:
  • Worship volunteers – we have special need right now for additional help with AV (sound and livestream) on Sundays, especially in 10am worship.
Finally, here’s what we need prayer for:
  • Please pray for our church, that we will truly be enlarged by God to experience the abundant life Jesus promised
  • Pray for our worship arts team, that they’ll grow in faith, skill, and creative leadership for the sake of the church
  • Pray for vocational artists in All Angels’, that the Lord will guide and support them in their enlarging work for the sake of the world

Children & Youth Ministries Update – 11/14

Children have acquired Mary Ellen’s pandemic hobby of succulent propagation! On Sundays, we care for dozens of baby succulents, many with a parishioner’s name tag affixed. We water plants and pray for everyone as our community rebuilds after a long period of isolation. The slow, steady, glacial pace of plant-growing is teaching us a lot about ministry.

Here’s what we’re grateful for:

  • Nearly 90% of children, youth, and families are returning to in-person church.
  • Pre-pandemic investment in children & youth ministries meant that we had full gas tanks set to sustain us during 18 months of virtual meeting.
  • Youth are stepping into all sorts of leadership roles like staffing Sunday PM nursery, leading Children’s Worship.

Here’s what we need help with going forward:

  • Giving generously to church finances so we can build the church children are returning to.
  • Growing each youth’s sense of belonging in our parish so much so that it becomes a blueprint for their ongoing yearning to belong to the people of God.
  • Going deep in our own faith walks; kids smell hypocrisy a mile away.

Here’s what we need prayer for:

  • Wisdom as we navigate covid safety while planning familiar and treasured events like Sunday School, youth retreats, pageant rehearsals!
  • Senior and junior high youth groups led by dynamic interim leaders.
  • Tapping stamina for this distinct phase of an “interim” season: more than halfway done but still can’t see the finish line!
  • Putting skin and muscle on the Summer 2022 Rose Castle Emerging Peacemakers’ Program.

Community Ministries Update – 11/7

Here’s what we’re grateful for:

  • Our People–while the number of participants has been more limited during the pandemic, we have been able to be much more intentional about the depth of service we have been able to provide. 
  • Our CM team–including the Operations team (Joey, Alfonso, Rodney) Isizah, Akira rejoining in Hospitality, and our new intern, Olivia. They have been working very hard to keep everyone safe and cared for.
  • Our volunteers— we absolutely could not do this without our group of committed volunteers, including our chefs, Pathways advocates, and Sunday to-go Community Meal helpers!

Here’s what we need help with going forward:

We invite you to join with us as we head into the coldest months of the year through direct needs and volunteer opportunities:

  • Cold Weather Clothing Drive: We have great need for new or gently used winter coats and cold weather gear donated via our amazon wish list (linked) (hoping to collect the majority of items by Friday, 11/19)
  • Thanksgiving Volunteer opportunities + Pie Donations (if interested please email cm@allangelschurch.com)
  • Ongoing opportunities at Pathways Tuesdays/Thursday and/or Sunday Community Meals (if interested please email cm@allangelschurch.com)

Finally, here’s what we need prayer for: 

  • for our participants, especially as the weather gets colder. 
  • for our team as Rebecca heads out on maternity leave in a few weeks. 
  • for what service might look like for you, your generosity can have a great impact on our program and the work God is doing among us.

Gratefully,

The Community Ministries Team

(Rebecca, Akira, Olivia, Isizah, Joey, Alfonso and Rodney)