Yesterday morning, at 2am, I awoke to the sound of a text from Littleton Public Schools notifying parents that the school system, along with many others throughout the Denver metro area, would be closed due to safety concerns caused by one person infatuated with a shooting that happened 20 years ago in our community. This moment has played out thousands of times for families across our metro area—and likely happened to you.
On Sunday we begin Holy Week. This is the holiest of times for us during the church year, as we remember the final days of the Jesus’ life, his teachings, and our call to follow him. All of this culminates on Easter Sunday as we celebrate the promises of the resurrection. Often overlooked, Holy Saturday is a day that we, as Christians, contemplate the silence of the tomb as we await the promise of the resurrection.
A few weeks ago, the marquis here at St Tim’s displayed Micah 6:8 “to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” As I read that passage every day on my drive home, I was struck by “walk humbly.”
Today I would like talk to you about commitment. The definition of commitment is devotion, faithfulness, allegiance. Commitment shows up in a church in many ways. Devotion and faithfulness are hopefully part of every member of a church. But this is not always the case.
Several years ago I found myself working in a parish in which the season of Lent had not, historically, been observed with any serious intentionality. In fact, there were individuals who simply disappeared after Shrove Tuesday and reappeared on Easter because Lent was “so sad” that they couldn’t tolerate it. As we approached Holy Week I even recall one person asking me, in what I believe was true sincerity, “How could they do all that to Jesus?” Granted, I am no theologian and would never presume to answer such a question but it did seem to me that we had lost something important by focusing only on sadness and misery and by painting the season as a great tragedy.
Next week, I take a journey I have long dreamed about. By this time next week I will be arriving into Delhi, India for a two week trip with my brother. I don’t like talking about myself or having people focus on me—maybe it’s part of being the youngest child who got used to getting the thrice hand-me-down bike or the freedom that came with often being overlooked amidst the siblings. Yet, I want to share with you all a bit about this trip because I’ve noticed in myself some changes in preparing for this long-hoped-for trip.
Lent. Not growing up in the Episcopal church, I knew very little about the season of Lent, other than giving up or sacrificing something for six weeks prior to Easter, and that I saw more advertisements for fish at fast food restaurants. Throughout the years, I have grown in my own understanding of what this special and sacred time of the year means and how each of us reflect and respond.
This week I write to you not about this upcoming Sunday (although it will be great—and I’ll see you there); rather, I want to be in touch with you all about what is upcoming in the life of St. Tim’s and the diocese. First, we will approach the Lenten season together with a Mardi Gras party on Tuesday, March 5th in the Parish Hall. Jambalaya, salad, bread pudding, and great fellowship begins at 5:30pm.
This Sunday, February 24th, we welcome Joe Hattick, Director of Christian Formation at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Colorado Springs. Joe is a friend of St. Timothy's as he and his youth have joined along with our youth on several mission trips and youth offerings. This Sunday, Joe will be leading a conversation at our Adult Forum located downstairs, where we will discuss and learn about teen suicide prevention.
There was shock (and a little awe) when I told the kids on the way to the sled hill that I had never once been sledding. It made it all the more special as they gave me pointers to go faster and casually told me, “you’ll be fine” when I looked at them in horror after being told to just bail out at the bottom (for the record, it was more than fine).
In January a number of us from St. Tim’s joined a trip to Haiti organized by the Colorado Haiti Project (CHP) https://www.coloradohaitiproject.org/ to visit the programs sponsored at Petit Trou de Nippes and St Paul’s School. Over the next few weeks there will be additional information and reflections about that trip and the work of CHP. This week we start with some thoughts from Linda Davidson. Linda had been involved in the very earliest trips as a nurse. She returned in January to participate in celebrating 30 years of this ministry,
I treasure the time of engaging with the students and teachers at St. Paul's last week. Previously I had been involved in medical clinics when I visited, so this was a new opportunity for me.
As we went to each class in small groups and interacted with singing, asking and answering questions in English and Creole, I rejoiced in the school's presence and ministry. Our group's offering of Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hokey Pokey, and Jesus Loves Me were met with applause and laughter. The students outdid us in spirit and gusto. In response to a question "what do you like to do for fun after school?" one girl's response shyly offered was "take a bath."
I assure you her school uniform down to her impossibly white frilly socks gave no indication that she need a bath for reasons of cleanliness. I have had her sweet face in my mind and heart since returning. In that moment I was struck with my need for washing, for cleansing, for sending down the drain my entitlement, lack of thankfulness, deep seated prejudices and lack of vision. I am desperate for hope and renewal and my brothers and sisters at St Paul's offered it to me with open hands and hearts.
Thanks be to God for St Paul's, Colorado Haiti Project and the shared humanity that binds us together in the love of Jesus.
Every year we gather, as a community, to focus our attention on the life of St. Tim’s. This coming Sunday, February 3rd, we have one service at 9am where we will have our Annual Meeting.
On February 3rd, the community of St. Tim’s will have the opportunity to approve the financial budget for 2019. This budget represents the generous surrender of resources by this community. After many months of listening to the Spirit, hard work and conversation by the Finance committee, this budget reflects the financial representation of the values of St. Tim’s for the coming year.
I have been looking forward to this upcoming Sunday for some time. Ever since I first visited St. Tim’s—before I was called here—my imagination was sparked by the possibilities of building relationships and partnerships with Arapahoe High School and our surrounding neighbors. When I first arrived in late 2016, I reached out to Arapahoe High School to see how we could be good neighbors.
Liturgy is the sacramental rites and texts used in our worship services. It expresses the church’s identity and mission, and calls others to serve with concern for the needs of the world.
Epiphany is a time, for me, of change in the liturgy and the music. Music can be as diverse as its worship services, and so it is with the season of Epiphany. When we speak of the music within the service, I am speaking of hymns and service music. We will be changing all the service music for Epiphany as is our usual practice. Sometimes the music chosen is familiar but many times we introduce new service music as well as hymns. It is our practice to teach the new selections before or during the service. New music of the Word must be taught prior to the beginning of the service, whereas Music of the Table can be taught at announcement time. Usually when a new service piece or hymn is taught, it is used for several weeks or even a whole liturgical season. The choir usually is the teacher for this process, but several times this past year the children have taught us new music which we used within the service.
Each person has their preference when it comes to the style of music they like in their church service. The two most often chosen are traditional and contemporary music. This provides a great challenge to worship leaders and volunteers as they attempt to blend both styles into one worship setting. Here at St. Tim’s, you might find Anglican chant, African spiritual, and Hispanic songs within the same service. The anthems sung by the children, youth and adult choirs cover the gamut… classical, traditional and contemporary.
The point is that our liturgy and music here at St. Tim’s are always growing and changing as our community is growing and changing. Change is not always easy. But we hope that you all will participate in the hymns and service music. The music of the Word and Table are most important and it is my hope that it will include all the congregation ‘s participation. So, be on the lookout for new service music and hymns and join us as our liturgy and music adapt to our busy lives.
Patricia Ann Lewis
Two days ago was the first day of 2019. It’s hard to believe. All around us there were celebrations for the arrival of this New Year. We love new things in our society—the newer the better. In the new we sense hope, the future, that all will be well. I can’t help but wonder if this, too, is part of our consuming culture—to seek the new not only to hide from “what has been” but also to give us the assurance that we are here now and up-to-date.
I must admit to some amount of trepidation at authoring a message for our community newsletter, if for no other reason than I personally do not care much for digital reading. The more I considered the task, however, the more I came to see it as an opportunity to offer a challenge you may just find bracing.
This Sunday we celebrate the final Sunday in Advent with one service at 9am. Our combined worship is followed by the Greening of the Church as we prepare for Christmas Eve services on Monday at 4pm (Family Service and Children’s Pageant) and 8pm (Lessons and Carols), please note that both of these services have Communion.
What is it about this time of year that brings about such a wide array of emotions? I truly believe that this season of Advent, this season of preparation, allows us to reflect on the past year, not only the times of joy but also the hardship and sorrow. As we move through the weeks leading up to ‘that blessed morn’, we all move through a vast array of these emotions.
This Sunday, you might notice something a bit different. Nearly every Sunday we pray together a psalm as part of our worship service. This Second Sunday of Advent, we will not be praying a psalm together, but reciting a passage from Luke's gospel (Lk. 1:68-79), often called the Benedictus, meaning "Blessed"