|Doing the will of God||March 8, 2014|
|Transfiguration, March 2, 2014||March 1, 2014|
|Love thy Neighbor – No exceptions||February 23, 2014|
|“I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses” – Feb 16, 2014||February 15, 2014|
|Salt and Light – Feb. 9, 2014||February 9, 2014|
|Candlemas! – Feb. 2, 2014||February 2, 2014|
|Calling Disciples and taking risks Jan 26, 2014||January 26, 2014|
|Past is Prologue- Congregational Meeting, Jan. 19, 2014||January 19, 2014|
|Baptism – January 12, 2014||January 13, 2014|
|Epiphany, Jan 6, 2014||January 7, 2014|
Title:“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation” – June 17, 2012
A very impressive and moving service at St. Peter’s Oak Grove today, not only because we baptized Ken and Andrea Pogue and welcomed them as members as well as Tom Guthrie. Not only because Tucker Fisher was confirmed.
It was impressive because so many of you were there for support – 31 from the St. Peter’s family. Father Shawn from Oak Grove was impressed by the numbers as well as his wife Kerry.
A very impressive Bishop Ted Gulick made it so. Despite the fact he has been a bishop for 20 years in the Episcopal Church, it was as fresh as if he was baptizing, receiving and confirming for the first time. Here is a slideshow from the day as well as the bulletin and readings.
Bishop Gulick spent time before the service answering questions. He feels more and more are being baptized Episcopalian. It was not they didn’t get it "right" the first time. He felt it was a glorious day for those being baptized and found it a privilege to perform them though he admitted he gets tearful at baptisms. He related the use of his hands over the week to ordain new clergy and that this baptism was as important since God has a desperate need for "your life" and talent to extend the work of the Holy Spirit.
He grew up in a small church and believes God transforms lives in small churches. He was asked what advice do you give small churches 1. Believe in self and unique role in Christ Celebrated small churches that do much with few reouces. He related a story of Grace Church which had a chile cookoff that raised $6,000 to purchase food for the homeless 2. Know your mission in community, what can change lives and do it 3. Wear name tags. He was emphatic about small churches working hard to invited newcomers. He related a story forgetting a name at a small church since there were no name tags.
He was asked about the cross he was wearing. There is shephard image in it with gold from two rings. One from widow who had lost her spouse and another who gave up the ring after a divorce.
On a current note he was asked about the issues facing General Convention. There were two. Liturgies for same sex blessings. There is no mandate for a church to participate in these. The second issue is to rethink how the convention is organized. It was organized in the 18th century with two houses like in our federal government. The mission is to streamline, possibly into a unicameral body that would cost less and get more done.
The Bishop preached on the Samuel and Corinthinians passage. The Samuel passage was the annointing of David, the least likely to become king. The essential lesson is that David learned as with those being baptized today is "whose he was" as opposed to the opinion of the whole world telling us who we are or should be. He became the 1st son of God, the 1st Messiah, a model for Jesus. He then moved to Corinthians. Paul uses "In Christ" to mean baptism. For Paul we had already died and moving to eternal life with Christ saying it is not who you are but "whose you are." Gulick closed with a story about Fr. Michael Lapsley SSM, South African Anglican priest and social justice activist. As an activist he had his arms mutiliated in Zimbabwe after a car bomb. How would he react ? Despite the temptation of revenge, he chose Christ and Christ’s transformative power working with other victims. Gulick threw out the challenge to those being baptized, confirmed and received to make such a difference to transform the world around them
The baptisms, confirmations and receptions passages were next and not just read – Gulick knew most by memory. He emphasized certain responses that were extremely important and injected meaning as he went. There were some small touches Catherine had all of St. Peter’s stand to present Ken and Andrea Pogus. We renewed our baptism covenents at the same time.
The Bishop was kind in participating in an number of photos after the service. The people at Oak Grove prepared a wonderful lunch of Roast beef, ham, vegetables and we provided the cookies.
We are considering inviting Oak Grove to St. Peter’s next year at the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul on June 29th. We feel there is good work that can be done learning from each other. We may be taking up the Bishop’s advice on the work of small churches.