Just a few days ago many of us watched as New Year’s Eve celebrations staggered in around the globe. All of these celebrations had one thing in common; the celebration of the end of one year and the welcoming in of another – A New Year – A new beginning. Throughout our history we have celebrated the New Year as a time that offers new hope that each new year will be better than the last, not just for ourselves but for the entire world.
In this spirit people throughout the world often make resolutions for the coming year. Why? I believe that they reveal something about a longing deep inside of us. They present an invitation to exercise our god given human freedom and to choose a better way. Yet we cannot do it ourselves…we need God.
T.S. Elliot wrote, in Little Gidding, “Both bad and good. Last season’s fruit is eaten and the full fed beast shall kick the empty pail. For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make and end is to make a beginning.”
You see, every end can become a new beginning for all of us who have faith in a living God who invites us to begin again and again. God makes it possible by sharing the Divine Life with us. This is the gift of grace given to us and through receiving it we become what Peter called “partakers of the Divine Nature”. (2 Peter 1:4)
Through Christ we are made capable of beginning to live our lives differently – of choosing differently. Christ can make all things new within us and then continues the work of God by making all things new through us if we but choose the way of love that Christ taught us.
Millions throughout the world will utter sincere resolutions; promises made to oneself, others and even to God. In truth, many will not be kept. Mark Twain is reported to have said, “New Years Day – now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” But it can be different…if we turn to the way of love… if we simply love.
May all of you choose the way of love this year - I think you will find a Spirit willing to guide you and through the grace of God may each of us, living the way of love, help to make this New Year better than the last for ourselves, our community, our nation and the world.
Happy New Year and may the ”love that came down at Christmas”, shine brightly in your hearts.
“Love came down at Christmas. That’s what love is. To give, and not to count the cost. To give, not for what one can get, but for what the other can receive. That what love is. God so loved the world that he gave,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in his Christmas Message.
Indeed Love came down to us on Christmas day – they named him Wonderful-Counselor, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel – God with us! It is the child Jesus, born into human poverty that has come to us to proclaim the Good News of the mercy and the love of God; to proclaim to us our salvation.
As we gather to celebrate the birth of Christ, another year has passed with many events, public and private, that have touched our lives in many ways. There is no doubt that this year has brought joys and sadness in different measures to each person in our community and around the world, coloring our memories of 2018.
One thing I believe we can all say is that the last year has seen a diminishing in the Way of Love that Christ taught throughout the world. The world often seems so polarized that people have forgotten how to love those that are different from them.
Maybe this is the challenge for us this Christmas; A challenge to get more involved in the act of loving. Loving as God loves us…giving more of ourselves to help make our own communities a better place. Maybe we are called to let our souls magnify the glory of the Lord, as Mary’s did.
May each of you receive the gift of love that came down at the first Christmas so long ago into your hearts, enabling you to magnify that love in your own souls, so that the Glory of God may shine bright in the year ahead.
A Blessed Christmas to you all!
St. Anne's continues to help local families through Damascus Help. Besides collecting food and providing other assistance many in our parish have volunteered there throughout the many years we have been involved since we were a founding member.
Damascus Help is continuing to look for additional volunteers. Opportunities include ODs, food drivers, pantry pick up helpers, and volunteers to be part of a furniture delivery team. Furniture delivery teams with their own trucks are in great demand as well as transportation drivers.
For all volunteer opportunities please contact Damascus HELP at 301-253-4100, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or www.damascushelp.org for additional information.
Shopping on Amazon this Holiday Season?
You might not know - or you may have forgotten that if you use the St. Anne's Amazon link, we receive anywhere from 4-6% of the price of each item back as a referral fee. Every little bit adds up and helps our ministry. SO, if you are buying anyway, you may as well help out your faith community when doing so, right? And this is actually a higher percentage than we get through Amazon Smiles etc.
The key is you HAVE to go through our Referral link: Which of course we are including!
Activism...for Social Justice...Save the Date!
This column on Activism for Social Justice began in January 2017 after the Women’s March on Washington which turned out to be World Wide. There were about 3 million women and men on 7 continents marching for Women’s Health and Wealth and Safety that day.
This event, which I have begun to call World Wide Peace I, will happen again in 2019. On January 19, 2019 -a Saturday- women and men will gather again in Washington DC to stand together to show strength in the belief that women have made necessary advances in health care, in the workplace, and in the need for an end to the violence against women.
While there will also be Sister Marches in other cities, which gives the opportunity for more women and men to march, the March in DC is so close for us here at St. Anne’s that we can easily participate.
At this time, I am inviting you to Save the Date of 1.19.19 to march with the women of Saint Anne’s. Men of goodwill at St. Anne’s are welcome to join us and march in support of women marchers and women’s issues.
The March itself begins at 10:00 am, however, one strategy which works quite well is to go later in the day by train or car and join the March for a few hours. When the sun is setting or when your legs give out! return home by the train or car and call it a day. That way you can be there for the support and the history and be able to take care of yourself at the same time.
If crowds make you nervous, think in terms of going to the March and walking or standing around the periphery. Usually, one cannot hear the speakers, even thought they are amplified. So taking a tablet or cell phone and standing outside the crowd will give you the best chance of feeling secure and hearing what is said.
Think in terms of asking a friend or friends to join you. Perhaps we can make a group of St. Anne’s parishioners and go together.
All Things are Possible!
The Social Justice Committee
Our IFND Mission Group at Dayspring has taken on a new commitment, the support/case management of an asylee from the Congo. A 31 year old torture survivor who was granted status as an asylum seeker, Ray is fluent in both English and French and has skills in IT. Our Mission Group was able to find housing for him in Montgomery Village, and to furnish his room. Because he was granted a work permit, he is working for a catering company in DC. He and we are hopeful that a better job in his field and closer to home may soon be found. The major need right now is providing him weekly transportation for grocery shopping and other possible errands. His work schedule is such that this could be done any weekday after 3:00 or on Sundays.
We are covered through October, but beginning in November, I would like to have one person per week Ito fill this need. I will send his contact information to any who are willing to participate in this new venture, and will also let him know of the arrangements. I am also interested in receiving the names and contact information about others whom you know who may be willing to participate. Thank you so much!
I have listed below the weeks in November and December. Please reply to all if/when you can participate.
November 4- 10
November 25 - December 1
December 2 -8
December 9 - 15
December 16 - 22
December 23 - 29
Hoping a few of you amongst this group may be willing, I am A grateful part of this inspiring mission,
Karen Johnson (email@example.com)
Please contact me directly to sign up!
1. THIS Sunday October 28 we will be having a Workcamp interest meeting right after church. All youth and adults who are interested in attending Workcamp next year should be in attendance as we need a good estimate in order to register. Next year's Workcamp will be a Week of Hope: Community Service in Pittsburgh, PA June 23 - June 28.
2. Following the Workcamp interest meeting, we will be heading to Butler's Orchard for some fun festivities (it's the last day of their Fall Festival)!! You don't have to be interested in Workcamp to come pick pumpkins with us! :) Estimated time frame would be 12pm-2pm. Please let us know if you can make it so we aren't lonesome picking pumpkins. EMAIL ME HERE!
3. We (SAY) will be adopting one the families for the Thanksgiving dinner donations during the month of November. So we will each take part in contributing items to the family's Thanksgiving meal.
4. SAY Christmas party Friday December 7 (tentatively - depending on availability). Join us for cookie baking, gift exchange, games, and Christmas movies! More details to come... so also let us know if this would be a good date for you.
5. Last thing! We are hoping to find a couple weekends to do some community service projects before the end of the year. We'll let you know what we come up with, but are more than open to your ideas!!
Thanks for staying tuned if you made it this far. :)
Have a wonderful week!
Bailey & Bailey
Time for extra treats prior to Trick or Treating! Young and Young at heart are encouraged to wear their costumes and get some extra treats at fellowship hour after our 10am worship.
Announcing The Arrival of Deacon Eugene Wright
by Fr. Lee+
On September 22, 2018, Eugene Wright will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. Our Bishop has assigned the future Deacon Wright to serve at both St. Anne's and Church of the Ascension. He will begin his service to our congregation beginning October 1. He will spend the month of October at St. Anne's getting to know us then he will do the same at Ascension in November before he starts a biweekly schedule serving each parish. You will see him in our liturgy performing the liturgical functions of a deacon, but that is not the main function of a deacon. The diaconate is a "servant" ministry of the church meant to form a bridge between the church and the world. They are called to minister to the local community, empower the laity to serve the local community, and bring the needs of the community to the church. As Deacon Wright gets to know us, you will see him get involved in our ministries as well as encourage new ministry to the local area, by helping all of you to learn how to better serve in Christ's name. Deacon Wright will serve under my supervision (and the rector of Ascension for work there) but ultimately, is under the direct authority of the Bishop. I am very excited about St. Anne's receiving a deacon, as I was part of the commission to reestablish the diaconate in our dioceses and create the discernment and formation process (which takes anywhere from 3-5 years) for ordination.
From the Episcopal Church Website
"Deacons are members of one of three distinct orders of ordained ministry (with bishops and presbyters). In the Episcopal Church a deacon exercises "a special ministry of servanthood" directly under the deacon's bishop, serving all people and especially those in need (BCP, p. 543). This definition reflects the practice of the early church, in which deacons were ordained "not to the priesthood but to the servanthood [diakonia, "ministry"] of the bishop" (Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition). In the ancient Greek-speaking world the term diakonos meant an intermediary who acted or spoke for a superior. Christian deacons were agents of the bishop, often with oversight of charity. Since ancient times the liturgical functions of deacons have suggested the activity of angels. As they proclaim the gospel, lead intercessions, wait at the eucharistic table, and direct the order of the assembly, deacons act as sacred messengers, agents, and attendants. The revival of the order of deacons in the twentieth century has emphasized social care and service."
A little more about Deacons from our Diocesan Website.
Deacons work as a link between the Church and the world. They discern people's needs, hopes, and concerns and empower faith communities to respond. They regularly move between the church and the communities they serve, speaking the truth in love, and encouraging the sacred and broken to enter into relationship with each other.
Bishop Mariann has made the work of deacons a priority in the diocese. Deacons are deployed from the bishop's office to develop collaborative ministries at the parishes they serve. They are network builders--linking neighborhoods to local parishes in order to grow faith communities. At services, deacons assist bishops and priests in the liturgy by reading the gospel, inviting the confession, setting the altar for Eucharist and offering the dismissal. Deacons in the diocese are led by Archdeacon Sue von Rautenkranz.
From the Ordination Rite of a Deacon
God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood directly under your bishop. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely. As a deacon in the Church, you are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model your life upon them. You are to make Christ and his redemptive love known, by word and example, to those among whom you live, and work, and worship. You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. You are to assist the bishop and priests in public worship and in the ministration of God’s Word and Sacraments, and you are to carry out other duties assigned to you from time to time. At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself. (BCP, p. 543)
WOMEN OF SAINT ANNES MINI RETREAT
Sat. Oct. 13th:
Gather at 9:00 for coffee, donuts and introductions in the parish hall. Retreat starts at 9:30.
Lunch from 1:00 to 2:00 followed by outreach craft. Fee 10:00
Playing with Scripture. Led by Mother Vikki Clayton
The Women of St. Anne’s invite all ladies of the parish to join us as we bring scripture to life through words, art, and really hammy acting. All levels of mobility will be able to participate. Wear comfortable clothing and be willing to bring out your inner child as we explore new ways to experience the Good News through imaginative play.
PLEASE SIGN UP IN THE PARISH HALL OR EMAIL KAREN MULLEN firstname.lastname@example.org
The SAM Study Group is a group men at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
who meet weekly to study a book related to our life as Episcopalians.
We meet on Friday evenings from 7:00 pm to about 9:00 pm from early September through June. We normally do not meet during Christmas week, Holy Week, or when there are other conflicts with the parish calendar. Meetings may be cancelled due to bad weather conditions or when the likely member turnout will be too small (e.g., only 3 or 4 men).
We meet at Reed Owen’s business office in downtown Damascus atUxstorm, 9701 New Church Road, Unit A (in front). There is ample parking.
Our first meeting this season will be on September 7, the first Friday after Labor Day. We will skip September 14 this year due to the parish organ concert, which meets at the same time. We will resume on September 21.
For this coming year, we will be using The Story of Christianity, Volume 2 – The Reformation to the Present Day. This is available through Amazon and there is a choice of electronic or paperback versions.
We plan to spend the first two sessions on chapters 34 and 34 from last year’s book, so that the group can transition from last year’s book to the book noted above. A new comer will not need to have last year’s book, since we will put the relevant paragraphs up on the screen.
Since some of us are coming directly from work, some bring a sandwich or put in an order online with Steve Mullen via Evite for a slice or two from a local pizzeria. Those wish to have a beer or a glass of wine bring their own.
We usually devote from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm for studying from the book and from 8:00 pm to about 9:00 pm for socializing and discussing other topics of interest.
We operate as an informal group having a discussion of several specific questions, rather than as a formal class. Most of us will have read the chapter assigned. However, those who don’t should still come, as we will provide via email the set of questions, each preceded by a few sentences from the text pertinent to that question.
When a question has been read and projected on a large screen, anyone who wants to share can state his belief or opinion on the question. Others follow by sharing their belief or opinion. We learn by hearing and pondering what others share.
There is respect for everyone’s belief or opinion, and there is no attempt to prove someone else wrong. We are pilgrims in a church that respects people regardless of where they are on their journey with God.
We show respect for others by listening to what they say and not having any side conversations. You are encouraged to share you thoughts, but no one has to speak. Usually, most of us have something to say.
Invite Welcome Connect is a transformational ministry that equips and empowers people to cultivate intentional practices of evangelism, hospitality, and connectedness rooted in the Gospel imperative to "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). It is a ministry of relational evangelism and congregational empowerment allowing churches to become places of genuine connection for inviting the faith journeys and stories of everyone, enabling deeper journeys of Christian discipleship, and enabling the Spirit of Christ to be at the heart of each church's hospitable mission of spreading the Good News. Invite Welcome Connect has circulated throughout the Episcopal Church and, to date, has been presented in conference formats in 47 dioceses, three Episcopal seminaries, and in three universities. Invite Welcome Connect has also been presented among the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and to the Anglican Church in Canada.
In the last five years, clergy and lay leaders from congregations and dioceses across the country have attended this dynamic training and report measurable results after using the materials. This transformational relational evangelism method has brought new energy and spirit to congregations and sustained, real growth where the essentials of Invite Welcome Connect are followed.
OCTOBER 27, 2018
9am until 4pm
Cost $10 to cover lunch/snacks
Individuals can register online on our website:
On the evening of Saturday, September 1st, our faith community received a threatening call from an anonymous person - their message was one filled with hate, using the Bible to claim that God demands racial segregation and calling out St. Anne’s because we proclaim the love of God which encompasses ALL people and the dignity of every human being;striving, as a community, to seek justice for all people.
There is no place in our local community for this type of bigotry and hatred. We will not be intimidated, and will continue to be a prophetic voice, living out our mission to help create a world where Love is the way- not hatred- not bigotry.
We felt it important that we share this information not only with the police but with the community. We are humbled and honored by the messages of support from people throughout Northern Montgomery County. One of the other local Damascus churches shared that members of their church, living within a couple miles of the church had found Klan recruitment fliers in the driveways of their neighborhood, just a few weeks ago. They also reported that incident to the local authorities. It is difficult to believe that there is an underbelly of such vile hatred attempting to stir up issues in our community, but standing together, with the grace of God, we can be a witness for Love.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has asked all members of the Episcopal Church, all of us who belong, as he says so often, to the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, to commit ourselves to The Way of Love -- seven spiritual practices for a Jesus-centered life. This is not a new program, but rather an ancient way of life, drawn from the deepest wells of the Christian faith.
The seven spiritual practices of the Way of Love are:
Turn: every day, to intentionally turn toward Jesus, committing ourselves to follow him.
Learn: every day, to read passages from Scripture and other spiritual texts, with particular focus on Jesus’ teachings and the stories of his life.
Pray: every day, to set aside time--it needn’t be long--for intentional prayer, allowing God to speak in our heart.
Worship: to gather, once a week, around Jesus’ table in Christian community.
Bless: to choose, every day, to offer blessing, to be a blessing to those we meet, consciously loving as Jesus loves, forgiving as Jesus forgives.
Go: to venture out, stretching ourselves to be present in places where there is great need, or where others see the world differently. This is the call to justice and mercy, with a heart willing to be sent where God’s love is needed most or where we have something important to learn.
Rest: to remember that our souls and bodies need rest, that as God rested on the 7th day of creation, so we are to rest, in order to be strengthened and renewed.
This summer, I’m setting aside time to plan for a year’s worth of preaching, teaching and writing on the Way of Love and related spiritual themes. So that I might better align my preaching and writing to the spiritual questions of greatest importance to you, I ask for your feedback. Would you please take a few minutes to answer the following questions?
Which of these 7 practices come easily to you? What resources have you found to help you in your practice?
Which of the 7 practices do you most struggle with? What questions and concerns would you like me, as your bishop, to address?
On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your ease with reading the Bible? What questions do you have about our biblical texts? What would help you go deeper with Scripture?
What societal issues are of greatest concern for you? How would like to see us, as a Church, respond?
Thinking about members of your family or circle of friends, what spiritual or life topics might I address that could be of value for them?
You may email your responses directly to me. If there’s anything else you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.
May God bless us as we strive to walk in the ways of Jesus, which is the way of love.
Author: The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Volunteers Needed - DAMASCUS HELP
Damascus HELP had a table at Damascus Days but wasn’t able to sign up any volunteers. They are continuing to look for additional volunteers. Please consider volunteering or ask your friends and neighbors. Opportunities include ODs, food drivers, pantry pick up helpers, and volunteers to be part of a furniture delivery team. Furniture delivery teams with their own trucks are in great demand as well as transportation drivers. Another financial caseworker is needed to work with the clients and their utility bills. Special project volunteers are also needed. For all volunteer opportunities please contact Damascus HELP at 301-253-4100, or email email@example.com www.damascushelp.orgfor additional information.
Back Packs and School Supplies
We are now collecting backpacks and school supplies to go to area children in need. This is a partnership with other Damascus Congregations through Faith Connections. There is a blue bin in the Narthex where supplies can be dropped off.
New Neighbors Refugee Food Drive
St. Anne's partnered with Damascus Y-Women to collect food and household supplies for the Islamic Center of Maryland's food bank, which serves refugee families in our area. We collected enough for 8 families with leftovers to stock the food pantry! Thank you to everyone who donated!