As we close out Lent and Holy Week and everyone has their eye on the "prize" (Easter) I sympathize with those who are so very busy during this week. My own tiredness is partly due to a lack of discipline regarding my sleep schedule, but it also is a reflection of the fact that I am trying to do more in the day, and finding it difficult.
For our clergy here at Grace, and most definitely all over Christendom, Holy Week is a frantic chase to make sure everything gets done, on time. On top of a work week thrown into overdrive, is the other work that goes on in the week, daily services.
Spring is here, and as we know here in Wisconsin that means, there's a mess outside. The youth group noticed this problem and a couple of weeks ago, we grabbed some gloves and garbage bags and we picked up litter all the way around the church building, and the surrounding block or two.
I didn't put it in the newsletter before because I was struggling with whether or not I should tell everybody, or keep it quiet. In the bible Jesus tells a parable about a Pharisee who prays loudly about how well he follows the Law, so that others to notice that he is being devout. While another person who is struggling in mind and body prays silently and earnestly for forgiveness for his sins.
This past weekend I participated in the Happening weekend as a staff member. We had a fantastic time, and My official role was "Dad", but I actually acted more like "Roadie/Musician". All I had to do, was to make sure none of the kids did anything that would cause them harm or get them in trouble, and make sure the musician knew where to be, when, and what to do when she was there. No problem.
This weekend our own Dee C. will be a candidate at Happening, and Nick W. will be on staff. Please lift up these two, and the rest of the staff and candidates as they enter a time of prayer, questions, talks, community building, and fun. Happening is a youth lead youth organized retreat for youth, and has been a staple of Christian Development in our diocese for many years. Please pray for us. Our time begins Friday evening, and ends with Eucharist on Sunday.
All are welcome to the closing Eucharist, All Saints Church, Appleton, 2pm.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
As Lent continues and we focus on our faith with inward reflection, we can't lose sight of each other. This is at the heart of the last week and next couple of weeks within the youth ministries of the Diocese. As part of the plan to have a Diocesan wide youth event every month.
In February we had an event called "30 Hour Famine" in which youth and adults in attendance deliberately fast for approximately 30 hours, in order to raise awareness in ourselves about what it means to be hungry, and to raise money and awareness in the community about world hunger. There were around 40 people in attendance, and everyone had a lot of fun together, even if they were hungry.
Simultaneously, the staff for Happening #69, met for training. Happening is a high school lock-in/retreat that focuses on faith, Jesus, and refection. On March 13-15 they will be meeting, and sharing, and there is an outpouring of love that goes into a Happening. Caritas, is one way for us as a community to share the love with those participating. If you are a Happener (have participated in Happening) or if you are part of the Cursillo community you have experienced this kind of love.
As our Lent continues, perhaps you would like to take a couple of moments and share the love with each other. If you would like to learn how to participate with Happening in this way, please contact Nick or the Office, and they can give you more details.
This month there is a diocesan event being held at St. Anne's in De Pere on February 27-28. The event is called 30 Hour Famine and is a lock-in that brings awareness about world hunger. Those who attend will be volunteering to fast as a group for approximately 30 hours. There will be more information soon, but I strongly encourage all youth to sign up for this unique experience.
Also Happening #69 will be held March 13-15 at All Saints in Appleton. Any high school youth who have not been a part of Happening are encouraged to participate. Happening is an experience that changes lives, and is one of the best things we do in the diocese! If you have questions please contact me or the office for information.
Grace and peace to you! I thought I would share some research I thought was interesting especially in light of our annual meeting and all the talk about being the church "out there" beyond our walls. This research comes from Barna Group, a research firm that is "widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture." This article showcases the top 10 findings of their research throughout 2014, complete with helpful info-graphics.
Just to highlight a couple that I found interesting: First is about world poverty, and the huge amount that it has decreased in the last 30 year, and yet American's don't believe that is the case. Why is that? Lastly the research that looks at what Millenials want in a church. (you can find more about their generational distinctions here: Barna Glossary of Terms).
Barna Group -Year in Review Top 10 Findings from 2014
This semester in film school we are digging into relationships. All types of relationships, romantic, friendly, unfriendly, the relationships we have with our parents, God, ourselves. The list can go on.
Our first film is Enchanted (2007) starring Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey. This is a story of Giselle a fairytale princess who is waiting for true-love's kiss. Robert, on the other hand, is a divorce lawyer and much more rational; he is planning proposing to his girlfriend after careful scrutiny of each others strengths and weaknesses; he just needs to break the news to his six year old daughter.
At our Family Movie Night we watched The Santa Clause. We had a small but energetic crowd which made the whole event very fun. One of the major themes of the movie is faith. At one point during the movie one of Santa's elves is trying to help the new Santa cope, while at the North Pole for the first time he says, "This is a dream. I see it, but I don't believe it." The elf responds with, "You're missing the point. Seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing".