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Grace Notes

VOLUME 2, NUMBER 40, AUGUST 28, 2011

The Simple Way
While walking on Westwood Avenue this week I saw posters for both The Palisades Opera's performance of La Boheme to be offered at Grace Church on Sunday, September 25th at 2pm (Admission $20-Adults, $15-Seniors and students under 12), and for the Pawsfest event that will surround the Blessing of the Animals this year (October 2nd) and include activities for pets and people and the opportunity for pet adoptions. It was great to see these posters (and fun to see a photo of me blessing a dog in the center of the Pawsfest poster). They're all over the place. We're beginning to getting our name out on the street again—beginning to engage the community again. That's a great thing.

Next week Mother Shane Phelan from Saint Luke's Episcopal/Our Savior Lutheran Church in Haworth and I will drive down to Philadelphia to spend a few days sharing the life of the New Monastic community called The Simple Way. I've been trying to arrange a visit there for a while and was finally invited last month. I want to spend time with that community because they, too, are engaging their community, though in a very different way than we are. I want to learn from them.

The members of The Simple Way describe themselves as "a web of subversive friends, conspiring to spread the vision of 'Loving God, Loving People, and Following Jesus' in our neighborhoods and in our world." They are a group of twenty or so Christians sharing life together, clustered in two houses on Potter Street in Philadelphia. They worship together each morning, meet as a community once a week and share meals together on a regular basis. They are committed to Jesus Christ and take his life and teaching seriously. They are also committed to (among other things)

  • practicing resurrection in the abandoned places of Empire,
  • non-violence in imitation of their Lord,
  • simplicity of life so as not to be enslaved to the material lures of the fallen world (which includes a 'common purse' in imitation of the Christian practice as found in Acts 2),
  • the cultivation of a deepened (shared and personal) spiritual life,
  • jobs that allow for a balance of work, family and community life,
  • accountability within the community, and
  • participation in the life of the local churches rather than the planting of new churches.

They do not do ministry for anyone. They do ministry with the people who live around them and are fully engaged with their neighbors. They are also exploring options for sustainable living and the respect of and care of God's creation.

A number of things about The Simple Way excite me. First, they are trying to re-imagine what it means to be Church in the 21st century, and their re-imagining looks a lot like the Church of the first few centuries. It's not a novelty, but rather a return to roots. Second, they aren't interested in starting a new church (Protestants have been trying that for a few centuries with decidedly mixed results), nor on experimenting with Sunday morning worship in established churches (while they come from a variety of Christian denominations/churches, they are required to be faithful worshippers at already established local congregations), but instead are more interested in learning to live faithfully as Christians Monday through Saturday. Third, unlike the Amish (for instance, with whom they share some things in common), they engage their neighbors, coming to know and love and work with the people who live around them. Also, they are not alone. New Monasticism is a movement (though they would reject that term) that is finding expression in many places across the country and around the world, much like the original monasticism which arose at a time of decadence in Empire and in the Church.

I look forward to this trip and I look forward to sharing what I learn with you. While I'm gone, please pray for renewal for me, for The Simple Way and for Grace Church.

--Father Rhodes

SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL MASS... Sunday, September 11 this year is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the downing of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Grace Church will offer a Mass for the Dead for all of those killed on 9/11, remembering especially by name those who were killed and were from or had ties to Westwood and the immediate area. We will remember by name and pray for all of those listed on the local memorial, but also invite the names of any friends, family members and loved ones who may have been killed in the attacks to offer prayer for them as well. Please submit names to the church office.

"LA BOHEME" TO BE PERFORMED AT GRACE CHURCH... On September 25 at 2pm Palisades Opera will present a concert version of "La Boheme" by Giacomo Puccini at Grace Church. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students under 12. For more information, see www.palisadesopera.org, the Facebook Page for "Palisades Opera," email info@palisadesopera.org or call 203 915-2478.

FOOD FOR FRIENDS... Summer means that school is out. The kids may like this but parentswho cannot make ends meet and who must depend on school breakfasts and lunchesfor their children's nutrition are pinched harder than ever. We may expect thenan increase in the number of parents who must turn to places like St. Paul's CommunityDevelopment Corporation Food Pantry, which receives our Food for Friends donations. St. Paul's especially welcomes high protein items, such as beans and canned meats. Otherwise, their wish list asks specifically for tuna, cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may be drawn in favor of St. Paul's Community Development Corporation and marked Food Pantry. Please send checks directly to St. Paul'sat 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501. Thank you.

EUCHARISTIC VISITOR TRAINING... Today after the 10AM Mass, the Rector will offer a training/re-training for those who want to learn how totake the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and homebound and a refresher to those who have been trained, but would like to participate in a renewal of that ministry at Grace Church. If you have any questions, please ask the Rector.

WANTED... Large wooden table that will seat 12 to 14 people comfortably for a newly planned conference room. Please speak with Chris Scott for more information confirming your donation.

Ministers of the Assembly

August 28September 4
MP Officiant and LEM (8 am)Charles KeilL/M Sunden
Lay EucharisticTheresa PeterLarry Toppin
Ministers (10 am)Jim FreemanLarry Sunden
LectorKaren KennedyBill Hafemann
Intercessor (Prayers)Aki OkunlolaTheresa Peter
Chief ServerEvans RoacheDebbi Geller
AcolytesDebbi GellerRebecca Bisdale
Emily ThomasBunmi Okunlola
Thurifer
UshersMickey HafemannJim Davidson
Bill HafemannPat Landi
CountersKatie RandallJanet Delaney
Jim MillerLarry Sunden
Altar GuildBilly EvansLeslie Bisdale
Daisy ToppinDolores Kusel
Coffee HourChris ScottPat Landi
Randy ScottKate Landi