Aug
01
2015

August 2015

Dear Parishioners,

While August is usually a time when preparation for mission and ministry is going on behind the scenes, this year there are some superb opportunities for us to participate in those preparations. I would first like all members of St. Alban’s, families, friends and neighbors to join us where we should always start—the study of Scripture. We have a great opportunity on Wednesdays, August 12th and 19th at 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm. The study will be on Joseph from the Book of Genesis. Bishop Fanel Magangani is the Bishop of our Companion Diocese, The Diocese of Northern Malawi. This is the Diocese of which our Centurion, Fr. Binga is a part of our Outreach and Mission. I hope you will make every effort to be present. If you need childcare please let the Parish Office know as soon as possible so we can make arrangements. I would love to see us have to move from the Parish Hall to the Church because of your presence. I know you will receive many blessings from participating in this opportunity to study God’s Word together.

One thing I know that Bishop Fanuel always states is: Come and see. His has an open invitation to come to our Companion Diocese and be in relationship with them. On Friday, August 14th at St. Andrew ‘s Church downtown Fort Worth is a evening with Bishop Fanuel as he shares with us what is happening in the Diocese of Northern Malawi and ways to be in relationship with them. It is another way for us to join in the mission and outreach of our Diocese and Parish.

Have you noticed? Bet you haven’t. Saint Alban’s has a new Mission Statement. I haven’t seen it you say! Oh yes you have if you have looked at a bulletin the past month. It is short enough to memorize which all of us should do. What is it? St. Alban’s Parish is dedicated to the mission of Jesus Christ, through the sacraments, sharing the gospel and service to others. I was reading a book about stewardship a few days ago. In it the author pointed out the Mission in the Army is everything. Everyone is dedicated to the mission they have been given and at meetings, if the question involves matters that don’t pertain to the mission, then it has no relevance to the meeting. An example of this might be a question is raised about the softness of the cots. It will be asked: What does that have to do with the mission of fighting the battle. If none then the focus is turned back to questions about the mission. In other words we as individuals and children of God should focus all we do at St. Alban’s on our Mission.

One way to do this is to take advantages of the various ministries we offer to God, our community, and our Parish. Rally Day is coming up on Sunday, August 30th. After each Eucharist, we ask you to join us in the Parish Hall to sign up to participate in the ministry and mission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Each table has a ministry leader there to answer questions about the ministry and the responsibility of their part in the mission of Jesus Christ. Can you teach our young ones? We need Christian Education leaders. Can you call and organize rides for some of our parishioners that need help? Then a new ministry can be started to help those in need. Can you organize groups for food and fellowship? Then the dinner club is right for you. Can you sing, serve, read, or polish? Then the Lector’s, the Choir, the Acolytes, the Altar or Flower Guild is right for you. Do you love to serve food? Then the Arlington Life Shelter ministry is right for you. I could go on and on about the various ways we have available to serve God and the Mission of St. Alban’s. Are you dedicated to the Mission? What way are you helping in that mission?

As the world is becoming more and more a hostile place for Christianity, we must re-dedicate ourselves to the Mission of Jesus Christ. We must not only help in that mission but prepare ourselves to be able to answer at any time and in any circumstances about the joy that is ours in Jesus Christ. Let’s make St. Alban’s that place where we dedicate ourselves to the Mission of Jesus Christ, through the Sacraments, through the sharing of the Gospel and in service to others.

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2015/08/01/august-2015/

Jul
01
2015

July 2015

Dear Parishioners:

July is one of my favorite months—that is after December. It is a month when we celebrate the birth of our country and remember the principle of freedom on which this country was founded. There are few countries in the world that gives its people a Bill of Rights as well as a Constitution that guarantees those principles. We need to set this day apart not just for parties, parades and libation. We should remember all those who fought for those principles and be thankful. They are easily given up when a good person does nothing to keep them. Freedom is a basic fundamental principle in our Christian thought. God never forces us to accept him nor do anything for him. Our relationship with God can slip through our fingers as well as our freedom to choose as we become more and more enslaved by sin.

We lose sight of him rather than choose the true freedom to love him and do as he wills—living an abundant life in him. There will be a Eucharist on July 4th at 10 am. It would be a great way to start this important day in the life of our country. The Parish Office will be closed on Friday in honor of this holiday.

On Sunday, July 5th, we will again welcome The Rev. Brandon Walsh. Fr. Walsh is not only Paul and Debbie Nelson’s nephew, but is Ambassador to Archbishop Rwaje of the Anglican Church in Rwanda. Fr. Walsh will be preaching at the 8 and 10:30 am Eucharist. In addition, he will give a presentation in the Parish Hall at 9:15 am. Please put this on your calendars and join us. Don’t forget to invite others to join us to learn more about the Church in Rwanda. It will indeed be a blessing. Coffee and snacks will be available.

Another blessing we have is an addition to the staff of St. Alban’s. Courtney Patten will be joining us as Director of our youth and children’s choirs. Courtney is a Middle School music teacher and has the experience of working with youth. Courtney will be teaching a whole program to our youth to include not only basics of music but how music fits into our liturgy. In addition to her position, Courtney is also planning to sing in our Chamber Choir. She will be attending the all-day Staff meeting on July 8th and her duties begin in September.

I would like to thank Mandy McFarland and Samantha Childers for organizing and their leadership for Vacation Bible School. Our gratitude also to all our donors and volunteers who did such a superb ministry teaching our VBS participants. They did a fantastic job! We had 42 participants, 10 youth leaders, three in the nursery and a host of volunteers decorating, working in the kitchen preparing snacks, teaching and clean up. Thank you for all your hard work and for being a blessing.

I would once again encourage you to attend the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans. It is being held July 13th through 17th. It is being held at the Hilton, downtown Fort Worth and St. Andrew’s, downtown. In this Legate you will find the information on some of the workshops. Go to fifna.org to register. You don’t want to miss this. There will be no weekday Eucharist this week as I will be attending.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for August 12th and 19th for an exceptional Bible Study. Bishop Fanuel Magangani will be at St. Alban’s for these two Wednesday evenings. Make sure to invite family, friends and neighbors to join us for this rare opportunity.
I will be on vacation beginning July 26th. On this Sunday we will have the privilege of having The Very Rev. Crary as celebrant and preaching at the 8 and 10:30 Eucharist. Please give him a warm St. Alban’s welcome. On August 2nd Fr. Maneikis will be our celebrant and preaching at both Eucharists. I thank them for allowing me to take a rest and vacation.

I hope everyone will have a blessed summer and exercise every opportunity that God places in front of us to choose in our freedom God and his abundant life he offers.

In Christ,
Fr. Kresowaty+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2015/07/01/july-2015/

Jun
19
2015

(No title)

God Always Prepares and Provides For Us!

Charles Patton of Arlington Texas writes of God preparing him for mission in unexpected ways and shares the blessings of SOMA mission.

soma1

In April, I traveled to Kenya to be a part of a SOMA Mission to the clergy of the newly formed Diocese of Makueni under Bishop Joseph Kanuku. It was a significant time to be with the ninety clergy in attendance, as many had experienced great trauma and had recently buried church members as a result of the Garissa University massacre. Yet, they were attentive, joyous, and very encouraged by what we had to share with them. We felt God began to work powerfully during our time together to bring about deep healing.

soma2

Our team led discussions on several topics. I was a part of a team who spoke about evangelism in a changing world. As it happened, the week prior to going to Kenya I had attended TELET, an evangelism workshop. I was able to share that teaching and illustration at the conference, which was well received. God had prepared me for the mission in advance of my going!

I am changed forever by the experience and was blessed to be with our African brothers and sisters to worship the Lord. Thank you, Lord, for this great honor to be a part of this – I will never forget it!

Retired Bishop Ogori has been working with Bishop Kanuku since he fled his own diocese under threats to his life and family. His testimony is an example of God’s grace and healing through the Holy Spirit.

Sending and Receiving Missions

A word from SOMA USA, National Director, Dr. Glen Petta

soma3

The mission to the Diocese of Makueni was a blessing to both the team sent and to the clergy who received them. And we believe God has great plans for this new diocese!

With the summer months before us, SOMA is preparing to send and receive mission teams. In July, a SOMA team will be sent to the Diocese of Fianarantsoa and the Diocese of Toliara in Madagascar. SOMA is also sponsoring a clergy retreat as a Mission to the USA receiving Archbishop Ben Kwashi and Bishop Rennis Ponniah as retreat leaders.

Thank you for your partnership with SOMA in mission abroad and to our own country!

Taken from the SOMA USA newsletter, June 2015.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2015/06/19/3118/

Jun
01
2015

June 2015

Dear Parishioners:

The month of May brought many changes, not only in the weather but around St. Alban’s. As I said in one of my sermons lately: When you’re down, God is up to something. Yes it will be difficult operating without an assistant. But it is an opportunity for us to bloom also. God always gives us an opportunity to respond to what happens to and around us. How we respond depends on our maturity and the depth of our faith. We can bury our heads and deny what has or is happening; we can get angry and quit; we can take our anger out on others; or we can find a golden nugget in the call that God has given us to do. If there was any message that kept coming from my assistant, Fr. Scalisi, it was a call to action. Do what God has commanded and expects of a Christian: repent, pray, read your scriptures, participate in his Body, the Church, and most important bring others to Christ. That not only leaves us with a challenge it leaves us with an opportunity to go forward in Christ.

Remember we are ambassadors of Christ. We are his body and the body needs exercise to be strong and healthy. We are not just called to pray but be also prayer in action. So what has happened so far?

As announced, we brought on Amy Wagoner as our Youth Group Director. The continuity of having Amy is beneficial to our Youth as they know and have had experience with her previously. Amy’s ministry will be to build up the youth group again but that will depend upon your help. We ask for your commitment and help ministering to our youth as we also reach out to other youth. We also are praying for God to send us another college age male student that would like to work with youth. Matthew Roger’s who has been assisting, is moving up to Denton for college this August. The youth have requested another if possible and it will help in activities.

We have found and hope soon to be on board a Music Director for our young ones. Thomas Rinn has interviewed with her and we will be making a decision soon. Please keep in your prayers as we fill this staff position left by the retirement of Vicki Keller. Music is very much part of our being here at St. Alban’s. We continue to offer not only excellent music in our worship but concerts throughout the year. It is a great way to invite someone to St. Alban’s.

There has also been a committee formed to prepare a five year plan for St. Alban’s. This requires your prayers as we look to the future. The plan is in its infant form but is being worked on to have realistic goals for us as a parish to reach. These will cover items such as: finances; growth; parish ministries; infrastructure; and church identity. As I stated, this is still in its infancy stage but is being worked on by a great team of people. Look for updates as things progress.

Vacation Bible School is almost here. Many and great thanks to Mandy McFarland who has been doing a fantastic ministry. Also we thank Samantha Childers who has been faithfully helping. It is a big job and these two have worked very hard to get all the details lined up and moving. I also want to thank in advance all who have donated and will be the teachers, assistants, workers and helpers. They could still use many hands in setting up and cleaning up. Join in and let’s do this together.

Many thanks to Heather Horn for her wonderful ministry in getting our new Pictorial Directory organized and ready to go to print. This also is a very large undertaking and we greatly appreciate all she and her volunteers have done. As of this writing I know we are just finishing up picture taking, but I already know it will be a great directory for all who had their pictures taken.

Finally, I would be remiss to say that summer is about here. Vacations are just around the corner. Remember God nor His Church go on vacation. Wherever you go, seek out an Anglican Church to worship. If you are going for an extended period, please call the Church Office and let us put you on the prayer list. And yes, don’t forget your offering to God. Remember those who are still here as St. Alban’s is open and ready for prayer and worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Have a most Blessed Summer.

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2015/06/01/june-2015/

May
01
2015

May 2015

Dear Parishioners:

May brings not only changes in our weather and May Flowers but some transformations in Staff and ministry to St. Alban’s. Vicki Keller who has been a faithful teacher of music to our young ones will be retiring from this Ministry this month. The last Sunday our St. Alban’s Singers will sing this spring will be on Mother’s Day, May 10th. I hope you will join with me in thanking Vicki for all her devotion, dedication and love she has shown to our youth as she has developed and taught our young ones in the ministry of Music to the glory of God and our Lord, Jesus Christ!

I have spoken to Thomas Rinn, our Music Director and he is already on board for searching for a new Children’s Choir Director. This ministry of Music for our youth is important to all and I hope we will see a renewed dedication when our new person comes aboard. This ministry as usual, will take a break during the summer months but will resume in the fall. I ask your prayers as we move forward with a new director. Again, my thanks and gratitude to Vicki for all she has done for us and our youth. If you wish to send a card and/or a gift, please bring and place it in the basket provided in the entrance.

May 31st will be Fr. Scalisi’s last Sunday with us. I thank Father, Erin, Katie and Andrew for being part of the St. Alban’s family. God gives us people and gifts for a time and we were blessed by their presence and ministry. We will say our farewells on Sunday, May 31st following both the 8 am and 10:30 am Eucharists. At the writing of this Newsletter Article, Father Scalisi has not revealed any future plans except that they will be staying in the Diocese. We wish him and his family many blessings and God’s Grace as they move forward in their ministries and future. There will be a basket in the entrance to place cards and/or gifts you may want to give. Again my gratitude and appreciation for all Fr. Scalisi has done and for his ministry here at St. Alban’s.

With Father leaving us at the end of the month, I have already filled in the position of Youth Group Director. We have added someone who is already familiar with the youth and the program as she was a great influence in organizing and helping getting it off the ground and revitalized. Amy Wagoner will be joining the staff to take over our Youth Group Ministry. She will be on board as of May 1st as Father Scalisi decreases his involvement and Amy increases her ministry.

There are other ministries that still need to be looked at and leadership positions filled. As most of these ministries vacation during the summer months, we will be working to reorganize and do the best we can in fulfilling these needs.

Please join us in two very big activities for our Parish during the month of May. First we have the all Parish Picnic in the park just north of the Church. The picnic is a great way to meet people you have not met before and have fun. It is a relaxing time so come to church May 3rd in your casual wear. Why not wear your red St. Alban’s shirt?

The second is a very important tool for the Parish. We will be making a new pictorial directory. Many thanks to Heather Horn and volunteers for making this happen. But it will only be successful if everyone participates. You can sign up for the selected dates in May three different ways. First is to go online to St. Alban’s Web-page. There is a selection for you to make your appointment to have your picture taken online. Second, we have sign up lists on Sundays in the entrance. You can sign up at a convenient time. The third way is to call Heather Horn and she will be glad to make your appointment. After your information is verified and picture taken, Life touch will show you the pictures and you may choose to purchase or not. By having your picture taken however, you will receive a new free directory when it is published. Heather and Steve Altman will be organizing times and dates for the various ministries to have their pictures taken. Be watching for this information.

May is also a time to enrich your spiritual life. Ascension Day is Thursday, May 14th. We will celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, when he was taken back into heaven, at the 6:30 am Eucharist in the Chapel. Pentecost Sunday is May 24th. We celebrate the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. It is a great day to wear red again as we pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And don’t forget about Trinity Sunday on May 31st. This is when we celebrate the one and equal glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May is indeed a time of change and transformation. And yes, last but not least I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. We have a special little something for the women of the parish as we say thanks for all you are and do.

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2015/05/01/may-2015/

Mar
01
2015

March 2015

Dear Parishioners:

Here we are in the second full week of Lent. How is it going? Many of us try to give up something that our appetites desire. Some take on an additional discipline. The Church asks us to take up the disciplines of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Lent is a time to deepen our relationship with our Lord. It is not a feeling but an act of the will. In many ways it is like a marriage relationship. In a relationship with our spouse, it is only the will to love them that makes a difference what course of action is going to help both of you make it through rough times.

Often we don’t do anything because we are afraid, worried or have anxiety about doing something. The message of the Gospel over and over is “Do not be afraid!” I recently read on an email about marriage that fear is an emotion that paralyses us into doing nothing. Anxiety is being nervous about something that is not in our control. Worry is dwelling on something chronically, yet no action is taken.

We often, just like with our spouse, get angry over situations. God is not being fair. God is giving me a bum hand. Why did God let this happen? Often the question needs to be answered with a question: Did He? So often we find ourselves in the middle of something we have participated in creating. It may be an argument; it may be poor economic conditions choices to spend when there was nothing to spend. It can also be things that are out of our control and we don’t like what that means—the world economy-the breaking down of the physical body-a tragic event that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. These out of our control situations are most convenient to blame God.

Isn’t that what Lent is about? To help us learn and understand there is no “I” but a “we” in our relationship with God. Just like in a marriage, the question is not what I want out of this relationship but what do we want; what is best for us and the family; what is God calling us to do or be? On a radio station the other day I heard a pastor say: If God is your co-pilot, who is flying the plane? God should be the pilot in our lives and not the other way around. Lent is a time for us to examine ourselves and check our egos at the door.

Are we addicted to satisfying the appetites of the body? Too much food? Not the right kind of nutrition- sex, drugs, sugar, drinks are some examples? Are we filling our minds with Godly things rather than things of the world—too much TV, pornography, fantasies? Are we listening to what God is telling us or are we distracted by worry, anxiety, fear, business, and distractions? You see that the only time the word “I” should be used in Lent is when we take a hard look at our lives and accuse ourselves of the things we have done and left undone that have broken our marriage and relationship with God. He is faithful but we tend to go astray.

So Lent is actually a love journey. It is not a time to blame the other in the relationship. It is time we are to see how short we have come up, not the other way around. God is God and we are his creatures and the sheep of his hand. God is always living up and fulfilling his side of the promise and covenant he has made. The question is are we? Are we loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength or are we just giving him a bit here and there? This is a commandment for Christians, not a choice or option although God will always respect what choice we have made. May this Lent be a time to help us love God more and deepen our relationship with Him.

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2015/03/01/march-2015/

Jan
01
2015

January 2015

Dear Parishioners:

January is here and so is the New Year. As we put away our Christmas decorations and say goodbye to 2014 we also have to welcome the New Year! It is a beginning again and although it may have some familiarity about it, things that were old are being made new once again in our Lord Jesus Christ. Is it not time for you to be new again? To be raised up from sin and death to new life everlasting. You see each and every day of the New Year is an opportunity to hope and renew ourselves in Christ Jesus. It is a time to thank God for the blessings He has given to us. There is a practice that seems to be fairly popular on Facebook. It is a seven day practice to name something each day of what you are thankful for. While this is a great beginning, we need to practice this 365 days of the year. Each day no matter what it brings is an opportunity to grow, learn, help, and enrich our lives. Even when the day doesn’t start out the best, can we see the goodness of the Lord?

The New Year is also a time of hope. Not a hope that is naïve that wishes all things were better but a hope that has its deep roots in our Lord. Hope that we can be changed into his likeness. Hope that we may grow deeper in love and service to Him. Hope that we can know that the kingdom of God is near. Hope that we can share the Good News with those we love, those we know, those who we do not know. In the New Year, God is calling all of use to use the gifts he has given us to great good to his glory. We are asked to be his servants not his volunteers. Do you remember the difference between a volunteer and a servant? A volunteer does what he/she wants when he/she wants. The decision is ours how much we are involved or not. A servant is open to serving all the time—when God calls, what he calls you to do and when He calls you to do it. It is not on our time schedule or how convenient it is for us. It is being open to the Spirit that blows where it wills.

What we are talking about is a transformation of our lives in Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is seven days a week and 24 hours a day. It is not just coming to church on Sunday but an active part of Christ’s Body each day of the week. Do we realize that as we are interacting with others each day, God is calling us to show forth his Kingdom. It may be in an act of kindness. It may be in the words we say. It may being inconvenienced and our attitude towards the interruption. It may even be speaking up against an untruth or injustice we see. But we are each called to have our goal to be Christ-like.

As we begin this New Year we can expect challenges in our lives. As we look to the future, we can expect that we will have successes and failures. But what we must remember is that God is opening up opportunities and challenges to allow us to grow more mature and faithfully in Him.

On Sunday, January 25th we will have one Eucharist in the morning at 9 am. There will be a 5:30 pm Eucharist also that day. Following the 9 am Eucharist we will have our Annual Parish Meeting in the Parish Hall. There are many important items to report on and I hope all our members will join us for this meeting. Activities will be available for the youth while we are in our meeting. Please plan to join us.

May God bless and keep you in this New Year no matter what it may bring. May hope and faithfulness abound and may we grow in the love of our Lord.

Faithfully in Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2015/01/01/january-2015/

Dec
01
2014

December 2014

Dear Parishioners:

The great themes of Advent have been traditionally “Heaven, Hell, Death, and Judgment”. While they don’t seem to fit with the modern mind as we prepare for Christmas, they are subjects we need to consider very seriously. With Christmas preparation beginning commercially sometime after Halloween or sooner, the whole meaning of Advent has been obscured. The ancient tradition of the church was that Advent was a time of preparation for the second coming of Christ. Christmas was not to be celebrated until December 25th that would conclude with the great Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.

I remember that when I was a young priest I use to rant and rail against making Advent a season just for the commercial side of Christmas. Well, we all know what a losing battle feels like to try and keep that tradition in our secular world. However, those four themes must be faced in the church which has often diluted this message to the extent that these themes have been neglected.

There is a heresy or wrong teach among many Christians today called “Universalism,” which denies the reality of Hell. What Universalism states in effect is that God is simply too loving and good to allow judgment that would result in Hell. But, from the lips of the one who in His Incarnation revealed total love and goodness, has also come some of the strongest words of warning about the consequences of sin and the rejection of God. Jesus minced no words, while at the same time telling us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Scripture tells us that “God desires not the death of a sinner, but rather that he repent and live.” Jesus tells us that there are those who would rather go to Hell than to repent and live. Without the possibility of judgment and Hell, the Cross is robbed of its meaning and power. This is because in effect the Incarnation and the Cross were not really necessary if the message is we are all going to Heaven.

God emptied Himself in Jesus’ Incarnation, but in the end He will respect our choices and allow our hearts to be hardened, if that is the way we choose to go. He persistently offers us the opportunity to choose Him rather than hardening of our hearts.

Persistent sin on our part can harden our hearts; just look at the parable of the rich man who refused to help the poor man at his gate. He went to Hell, while the poor man was to be found in the bosom of Abraham. It was the persistent refusal to see Christ in that poor man that in the end condemned the rich man. Judgment is the natural consequence of our choices, whether in this life or the life to come. God has provided a means of redemption through Christ to all who reach out to Him in faith.

Time and time again the Church briefly touches on these major issues which the tradition of the church hold up as the themes of Advent against the current sentimentalized holiday mood. We state in the Creed, and affirm from the Scripture, that Jesus will return in power and great glory to judge the living and the dead. Our preparation for that is not a fascination with the details of prophecy, but rather we live a holy life given up to God in service to Him and our fellow brothers and sisters.

May God bless each one of us as we prepare for Christmas by dwelling on the great themes of Advent, and realizing that our life here on this earth counts in crucial ways.

And I cannot resist the temptation: Have a Merry Christmas—see you at the Altar—and a Blessed New Year.

In Christ,
Fr. Kresowaty+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/12/01/december-2014/

Nov
01
2014

November 2014

Dear Parishioners:

As we anticipate making out our regular giving to God in November, too often there is an air of hurried, guilty distaste surrounding the task. “Here are those cards once again!” We don’t mind giving, but must it be so often? We almost begrudge the church its need. But in doing so we are liable to overlook our own need.

In the heart of us all there is a stubborn kernel of covetousness. The whole point of giving to God is that our giving itself becomes a sacramental path for grace to enter our hearts, softening and finally consuming that kernel. Joy Davidman, in “Smoke of the Mountain”, beautifully describes the process.

“Not until Christ came were we shown the real alternative to covetousness, in that charity which not only loves to give but also takes with love. And not until Paul taught us did we understand how a man may appeal to the Grace for help against the covetousness in his own heart.

Christianity is everywhere paradoxical, everywhere too difficult for simple black-and-white thinking; but nowhere more so that in its doctrine of worldly goods. For they are good things—and yet we must not long for them. They are to be enjoyed—and yet we must not make that enjoyment our goal.

They are God’s plenty; in the form of bread and wine, they are the very symbols of that act of God which makes and keeps us man; they devote our lives to getting them. If we have them, the best possible thing we can do is to give them away; if we don’t have them, we may expect to get them, but we mustn’t worry about it! The Savior who bestows miraculous loaves and fishes upon the multitude is the same who proclaims that man does not live by bread alone, and he who teach us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” also warns us, “Take no thought, saying, “What shall we eat?” It seems almost that we are told not to desire what, by our very natures, we cannot live without.

The paradox is easier once we remember that the text runs, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”—once we remember the distinction between the ends and the means. Seeing God face to face is our goal; the pleasures of life, and even life itself, are the means to it. Therefore the milk and honey and corn and wine and soft chairs and fine houses and swift automobiles—all those pleasant things—exist primarily as a kind of currency of love; a means whereby we can exchange love with one another and thus become capable of the love of God.

In Charity, we value such things not only for their pleasantness, but also because we can give them away and give our love with them; or else because, in receiving them we receive other’s love for us as a baby at the breast sucks his mother’s love with her milk.

Nowadays we usually praise the power to give, which implies worldly success, far beyond the power to take, and we are sometime ashamed of “receiving charity.” Yet Christ and the apostles were not. Though it be more blessed to give than to receive, to be fully Christian one must know how to do both with the same humility and the same joy.”

After all, God’s love has given us this creation and the freedom of choice. The Father’s love has given his only Son to die for us and our salvation. The Son’s love has given us the way of life, forgiveness of sin and the promise to be with him forever. The Holy Spirit’s love gives us strength and wisdom. Are we willing to accept these gifts of love in humility? Are we willing to give back in joy and love?

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/11/01/november-2014/

Sep
01
2014

September 2014

Dear Parishioners:

September brings us the opportunity to renew our desire, our hope, our commitment to our Lord and Savior. Why do I say that September brings this? Doesn’t every day? The answer is of course each day should be desiring to serve our Lord with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Each day we should place our hope in our Lord and Savior. And each day we should be renewing our commitment to the Lord. But September brings us the end of summer relaxation and rest but also the opportunity to become engaged in the ministry of our Lord at St. Alban’s. Bible Study resumes on Wednesday; Choir resumes on Wednesday evenings; Christian Education resumes on Sundays at 9:15 am; the Life Shelter continues to serve those in need; the Age to Perfection group continues to meet for lunch; the Greeters and Newcomers continue to welcome those known and unknown into our community of faith; the Ushers, Acolytes, Altar and Flower Guild continue to serve the Lord for worship; the nurses continue to provide blood pressure checks for the parish; the St. Alban’s Singers begin their rehearsals; the Youth Group continues to meet; Inquirer’s Class begins –and the list goes on and on. This September brings us the opportunity to work—yes I said work—for our Lord. The Letter to St. Timothy states very clearly that faith without work is dead.

Although our Rally Day has come and passed, September still offers us the opportunity to work and live out our faith. I was at a conference in August focusing on the revitalization of the church. The speaker quoted an author. I don’t remember the author’s name who coined the question but I thought I would at least share a paraphrased version with you: Are you a person who waits for the golden opportunity or are you one who looks for the gold in every opportunity?

God asks each one of us to step out in faith and trust in him. Are you up to taking an opportunity to look for the gold that He has placed in the various ministries he has given St. Alban’s? In a very secular way perhaps we have heard it before: you only get out of something how much you are willing to invest in it. If we are looking for the Church to provide us with a cafeteria of delights and looking for just the right opportunity, we will be greatly disappointed. If we are looking to deepen our faith and love of the Lord, then we must look for the gold in every opportunity that God has put before us. Putting our desire for God, living and working for God, and committing our whole self to God is living our life searching for the gold in the opportunity. After all, does not Jesus say that the kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price and the merchant sells everything to purchase it? Or the kingdom of Heaven is like a hidden treasure of great price and the man sells all that he has to purchase the field? The gold is in every opportunity that God puts before us—are we willing to give ourselves up to finding it?

We have been given Good News. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to us and is with us always. He died on the cross for our sins and the sin of the world. Are we willing to take every opportunity to share the Good News with others? Are we willing to change our routines we have made for ourselves and accept the routine of God? September provides this opportunity as each and every day does.

I thank you for such a generous response to our appeal for Ellis Elementary School and to Carole Shunk for organizing the drive for school supplies. Your giving to help those students in need was overwhelming and I know it will be appreciated by both the students and teachers. There may be other opportunities come available through the school year but please keep the principle, teachers and students in your daily prayers.

Fr. Binga, our centurion has received the first of our giving towards his new “priest’s house.” He asked that I express his deep gratitude for the gift. If it pleases the Diocese of Northern Malawi and us, he stated the name of the house would be St. Alban’s. It will cost $25,000 to completely build the house so if you wish to commit to an ongoing gift, please mark in the memo that it is for the “priest’s house.” He is most grateful for your generous support.

September is a great time for us to turn our attention to supporting the USO. With our world in turmoil and tensions, our military service men and women need to know we support them and appreciate them for putting their lives on the line for us and others. I hope we will be as generous as possible to help stock the shelves with the items that are needed. They may be small tokens but meaningful for our military people as they travel to the torn places as well as come home. It is another opportunity for us to find gold in.

Finally, I pray and give thanks that as I write this article many of the Christians have been rescued from the plight and horrible persecution of ISIS. There are still 8000 still needing help. The stories told about the suffering and persecution of Christians by ISIS is horrifying. It is overwhelming the faith and courage they have shown in the face of torture, rape, beheading, dehydration and starvation they are enduring. As I have stated, I admonish you to pray for them daily. As refugees they still have more than a tough time to face. If you wish to do something, please go to the Anglican Relief and Development web-site to give a donation to help the refugees. Archbishop Anis, the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East are overseeing direct relief efforts.

Yes September offers many opportunities. Seek and you will find them. Knock and the door will be open. What a wonderful and glorious God we have.

Faithfully in Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/09/01/september-2014/

Older posts «