Tag Archive for 'come and see'

Epiphany 8 February 27, 2011

Isaiah 49:8-16a                                                                    

Matthew 6:24-34                                                                  

I do the grocery shopping in our household, and that requires me about once a month to go into Petco to buy cat food and litter. The cat food and litter department requires me to walk past the birds and small rodents in their glassed cages: parakeets, canaries, parrots, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets. They’re all there each time I walk past them, doing their caged animal things: eating, sleeping, running on treadmills, hopping about, looking out at me as I look in at them. There’s something very sad about them: all these creatures have been bred and raised in captivity. They’ve never known anything other than the lives they’re living, safe but confined, in those glass cages. And I think what does that say about me? About all of us? Continue reading ‘Epiphany 8 February 27, 2011’

Things We Want to Share about Holy Cross

We’re preparing for a second Come and See invitational evangelism campaign next February and March. Part of this will be a series of little flyers we can hand to friends we want to invite to come with us to Holy Cross. These will contain lots of pictures of Holy Cross people and activities, and short statements describing what we like about our church, what drew us there, what keeps us coming back.

Here are a series of statements from people jotted down as we talked about the project over breakfast November 7. We invite you to add your own words –just a sentence or two. We’d like to have something from everyone in the congregation to share. Use the comment feature on this post.

Holy Cross is a true family – you feel welcome even if you’re not married or don’t have kids. A great mix of young and old.

The Episcopal Church has both the Word and the Sacraments: the best of both worlds.

Our church doesn’t claim to be perfect, and it understands that people aren’t perfect.

Holy Cross is a place where you find love and acceptance just as you are – warts and all.

Holy Cross is a church that is accepting and non-judgmental.

The Episcopal Church is open and transparent. You know where the money comes from and where it goes. You know who makes the decisions (you have a voice!). The Church has rigorous “safe church” practices to protect our children.

This is a place where our children make lifelong friendships.

In a commuter society, it’s hard to make connections where we live. Church is a good base for that.

People helped me feel my way in at Holy Cross – friendly, but never pressuring.

At Holy Cross, you’re free to practice the piety that suits you – kneel, sit or stand, cross yourself or not.

The service is laid out so clearly in the bulletins, it’s easy to follow along and join in.

Beauty is important to me and I find it at Holy Cross. Our lovely new church blends in perfectly with the historic old building.

We’ve found Holy Cross a warm, welcoming, diverse congregation – informal in atmosphere but with a Catholic liturgy celebrated with great reverence.

Our kids today are exposed to drugs, sex, violence, stress, family problems. Why not fill out the play card with peace, love, faith and belonging?

Busy work schedule? Busy kids schedule? Busy social schedule? One hour of peace Sunday at Holy Cross is priceless!

Do you have little church experience? Do your children have no church experience? Give Holy Cross a chance to be your family’s link to spirituality.

At Holy Cross there’s no guilt, only understanding. We come because we want to. In the Episcopal Church you are loved for what you are. Yet we share the traditions that are beautiful in the Roman Catholic Church.

At Holy Cross, you’re a participating member. You can share your talents and really be part of the whole experience.

It’s like your favorite bar – where everyone knows your name!

At Holy Cross the Bible is revered, not worshiped.

Diversity at Holy Cross means you can knell to pray while I stand to pray and our neighbor sits – and we all respect each other.

Our church includes a few “cradle Episcopalians, many former Roman Catholics, many former Protestants, and many people with no former church experience.

Holy Cross is where we make friends. Holy Cross is where people make us their friends.

We moved to New England without any family or relatives, and Holy Cross accepted me as a member of their family. I consider them my extended family.

I wanted to be part of a church where my being divorced wouldn’t inhibit my being my nephew’s godmother.

My 90 or so minutes at Holy Cross are my time, not my work’s, not my family’s, but mine and God’s It’s a meditation for me. Here I find shelter from life’s everyday noises.

I found Holy Cross to be very open and caring, without the hypocrisy I had encountered elsewhere. Here it’s okay to make mistakes and learn to grow as a Christian.

I brought my teenager daughter to Holy Cross when she asked about God. It’s a great place to learn about Christianity and God’s place in our lives.

I have such a diverse set of friends from Holy Cross. I would never have met these people anywhere else.

2010 Ministry Minute #5: Pat Karpen

New parishioner Pat Karpen uses the metaphor of a new car to talk about her experience of becoming part of Holy Cross.

New parishioner Pat Karpen uses the metaphor of a new car to talk about her experience of becoming part of Holy Cross.

Pat Karpen came to Holy Cross through our Come and See invitational evangelism campaign last spring. She came, saw, stayed and became an active member of the congregation. Among her gifts, Pat brings a career as a professional actor in New York City and as a teacher at John Stark High School and, now, at St. John’s School in Concord. Her Ministry Minute reflects Pat’s gifts of imagination and expression.

 

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I wasn’t looking for fellowship.  I wasn’t looking for warmth.  I wasn’t looking for inclusion or welcome.  I wasn’t looking for friendship.  I wasn’t looking for a new path or a new destination.    I was looking for a new car.

I had pretty much been driving my car all my life.  It had always given me some problems.  Quite frankly, there were a few occasions when I parked the car and just walked the path.  Lately, though, it was starting to break down for me an awful lot.  I was having some real difficulty reconciling some of the discrepancies I was finding in the manuals.  I really wasn’t crazy about the mechanics.  It especially bothered me when they would all gather together and tell me that most of my problems with my car were probably due to the fact that I was, well, after all, just a woman driver.

I had become so frustrated that annoyance had started to spill over into anger and downright rage.  So much so, that most of the time I wasn’t focused on the path or the destination at all.  All I could do was scream at my vehicle and weep and rage and mourn.  I had stopped marveling at the scenery along the path.  I could hardly even see the path.

Then Heidi asked me to come and see.  I did.  It was not an easy decision for me.  I’d been in that same car for an awful long time.  But I kept coming back.  I like the feel of this  car.  I like how it takes the corners.  I’m reading some manuals.  I’m kicking the tires.  I like the mechanic.  I like his intelligence and his kindness.  But there’s more.

To end as I began:  I wasn’t looking for fellowship.  I wasn’t looking for warmth.  I wasn’t looking for inclusion or welcome.  I wasn’t looking for friendship.  Then I met you all. For whatever reason the particular tap dance that my DNA has always done has always kept me on the periphery of people.  Most days I’m ok with that.  Most days it doesn’t bother me.  Most days.  Then I met you all.

Your welcome has been palpable.  Some of you have invited me into your homes.  Some of you have even invited me back again.  It’s always extremely difficult for me to show up; to come in from out of the rain, but your warmth has been enticing. Since I met you all, I’ve had the strangest feeling that if ever I were to be faced with an emergency…say Weare has lost power in an ice storm and because my sump pump is inoperative my basement is filling with water…that if I called any of you up in the middle of the night that you would leave your homes and come and try to help me.  I don’t have the words to explain how that feeling has affected me.  It is a strange and overwhelming moment in my life as a periphery person.

I am in awe of this small, beautiful holy place that houses your huge hearts and minds. Since I met you I am so…something…eased, happy, inspired…I don’t know…to be here and I must say thank you.

“Come and See” Survey Results

Twenty people answered the “Come and See” evaluation survey. Two-thirds of them reported inviting at least one family or individual to attend one of the three Come and See Sundays in April and May. This probably means that those who “got with” the project are disproportionately represented in the responses, which could skew the results towards the positive side. In any event, of the respondents, 47% were strongly positive overall to the project, 42% positive, and 10% somewhat negative. The negative responses reflected a feeling on the part of a few people that too much pressure was put on everyone to invite someone.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how many people came,” wrote one respondent. “I thought the concept to be a good fit for Holy Cross,” said another. “It was fun meeting new people and greeting old friends.” “I was thrilled to see the extra people at church.” “Valuable approach to encourage me to reach out.” “When we do good we must tell someone. We do and we did!” “The materials and the diocesan support really helped make this a good program. I think we could do more advertising with more lead time and more planning, but overall it seemed to unite people and bring new life into the parish. I wish we could find more young families interested in church.” “I had a lot of anxiety at first,” said one person, probably speaking for others. “But having the cards and the thank-you cards to follow up helped break the ice with those I invited. I could write to them first and then follow up, which was much more comfortable for me.

Those who explained why they didn’t invite anyone had a variety of reasons, including fear of rejection if someone said no (as many did!), people they know having a negative view of organized religion, living at too great a distance from church, and not being available on the designated Sundays.

There were some helpful suggestions for the program if or when we do it again. A number of people thought that more lead time, more training and more thorough planning would be helpful — reflecting the fact that the timetable for the project was indeed very tight. Some people suggested doing such a program annually; one person suggested a quarterly Come and See Sunday; one person suggested more emphasis on the invitation pledge forms.

One of the respondents was a person who had been invited to “Come and See.” “I was touched by the welcoming nature of the congregation and the priest,” she wrote. “I was compelled by the honesty and intelligence of the sermon. I think I’ve become a regular. I am reading and thinking. Asking. Reading a bit more [about the Anglican approach to Christianity]. Praying.” What a nice response!

Easter 5 May 2, 2010

Revelation 21:1-6                                                                              

John 13:31-35                                                                     

  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

— John 13:34

 “If you love me,” says the teenager in the parked car to his girl friend, “you will do what I want.” “Oh, I just love myself!” gushes the woman on the total make-over show as she admires her new face, new clothes and new hair in a mirror. “Love makes the world go round,” runs an old song. And of course, “Don’t you love those Red Sox?” Love, love, love.

Talk about love puts me in mind of the Supreme Court Justice who wrote in an opinion that he couldn’t define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. I can’t define love, but I know it when I see it. We don’t see it all that often – not real love. But we see it in Jesus. “Just as I have loved you,” he says, “you also should love one another.” Church is not about a bunch of ideas, concepts, rules and regulations, even biblical texts. Church is about a person: Jesus. About learning to see ourselves, to see all life, in terms of the love we see in Jesus. Continue reading ‘Easter 5 May 2, 2010’

Easter 3 April 18, 2010

Acts 9:1-6                                                                            

Revelation 5:11-14                                                            

John 21:1-19

If we were one of those churches that put our sermon title out on its sign board, or even had sermon titles, the title for this morning might be A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Happiness. I don’t mean happiness in some shallow, sugar-high way. What we’re about is way too serious for that. We could say “on the Way to Heaven,” but that sounds too focused on the hereafter. By happiness I mean what we seek most deeply and ultimately in life: fulfillment, salvation, purpose, peace, healing, forgiveness. There are lots of words we use for it, but they all point to the same thing, so let’s call it happiness. Deep happiness. It’s what we all want, in our hearts. What lies behind the struggles of our lives.

“Come and see,” Jesus said to people. The people were those who noticed him, heard about his message, about the mighty acts and signs he was performing. The people who saw in him something different, something that indicated that he might lead them on the way to this deep happiness. “Who are you?” they would ask. “What is your secret? Tell us so we can have it too.” And always Jesus would say to these people, “Come and see.” Continue reading ‘Easter 3 April 18, 2010’