Christ Episcopal Church is an affirming and inclusive Christian community. Our members and leaders strive through love, worship and service to welcome all people just as God created them. No matter where you are on your journey of faith, our welcome knows no boundaries of age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, or economic condition. We believe that God delights in the diversity of creation and so do we.
HOPE STANDS WAITING
Safe to say, most of us will not be sorry to see the end of 2020! A year that has been marked by illness, isolation, and heightened political division has left many of us (even as people of faith) grappling for a way forward. We grieve for lives lost and for families who suffer those losses. We lament the many individuals and families suffering from loss of income which has led to food and housing insecurities, and we fear for our own health even in day-to-day errands or encounters with our neighbors. It has been one heck of a year – and not in any good way.
God’s love for us is fully present even and especially in the dark times.
For many of us, the hardest part of the last year has been the isolation, the separation from one another, from family and friends who love and support us and whom we love and support. Enduring these mental and physical hardships without our precious people has definitely been a challenge. But, my sisters and brothers, we know that there is hope – and hope even in these difficult times.
Last week I listened to a broadcast in which the commentator, while fully recognizing the hardships of the last year, asked the question, “So what have you gained in all of this? What newness has entered your life as a result of CoViD and its effect on you?
What gifts, what newness has entered your life during the pandemic?
What has sprung up in you that wouldn’t have happened in ordinary times? One woman, now working from home, spoke of how she reconnected, by way of Zoom, with writing partners around the world, and, because of that reconnection, she went back to a lost passion of writing poetry. A man said he quit smoking when, struggling to breathe with his mask on, he went to purchase a pack of cigarettes and, in that act, fully grasped the folly in it and quit smoking that day. And a woman who lost her job because of the pandemic, spoke about finding her life work as a chaplain even in the midst of her loss. Interestingly, she labels herself an atheist, but knows now that she has found her life’s calling as a chaplain for the elderly in a nursing home. Each of these individuals recognizes that even in the midst of extreme life-altering changes over which they have no control, something new and positive was born.
I too have experienced this gift. With a dear friend from my childhood, Leslie, who now lives in Illinois, I am part of a small group of family and friends who record our voices in song, send our recordings to her and she mixes them, producing what is a virtual small-group ensemble. Then, every month or so, we meet by Zoom with Leslie’s aging mother, now well into dementia, and we play the music for her. As with many elderly, music has extraordinary power, and it is so with Leslie’s mother. Her face lights up as she listens and we know that even though we are all separated by miles, we are together and united by music and its effect on all of us. Without CoViD, this would not have happened.
Gifts and hope await us in the new year.
And now we enter into a new year and perceive the gifts and hope that wait for us there. A vaccine is coming (and so is your new vicar!) Hope stands waiting. God’s love for us is fully present even and especially in the dark times. What gifts have you been aware of, what newness has sprung at the edges of your life that might not have been there in “normal” times? I invite you to consider what has been born in you because of the many changes caused by CoViD and then offer it in thanks.
MARK YOUR 2021 CALENDARS - VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETING
Christ Episcopal Church Bishop's Committee has set the Annual Meeting date and time for Sunday, February 7th, 2021 at 11:30am. The entire congregation is encouraged to attend.
The Annual Meeting will be held virtually, via Zoom. If you are a ministry leader, start preparing your annual reports. More details to follow in the new year.
OPEN POSITIONS - VOLUNTEER NOW! Bishop's Committee and Convention Delegates/Alternates
We have open positions on the Bishop's Committee (3 year terms, with the Committee meeting once per month) and also need folks to serve as Delegates and Alternates to Diocesan Convention (2 year commitment, one weekend per year) next year. If you have an interest in serving as a leader of our parish or attending Diocesan Convention, or you would like to nominate someone for these roles, please let any member of the Bishop's Committee know. Terms start after the annual meeting in February 2021.
FOOD BANK DONATIONS NEEDED
Please keep up your generous donations whether food or financial support. As has been reported, we are the only ones who give diapers, baby food, and formula so that type of contribution is always needed. Food donations as well as hygiene items and pet food are always in demand. If you leave donations on the back porch, that works well. Please let Mary Rebman know (360-319-8495). This is what we can do to help and heal our community.
In November, Christ Church Blaine donated 242 pounds of food to the Blaine Food Bank! Thank you to all who remember those in need in our community each month, and to Bruce Smith for delivering food donations each week and collecting our poundage receipts!
Health care providers
Jim & Jean
Peter & Christen
St. Stephen's, Oak Harbor
For the repose of the soul of The Rev. David Appavoo, and comfort for his family.
Please send your prayer requests to Jodith Allen, prayer list steward, at email@example.com. Jodith updates our list and shares it with the prayer team for daily prayers by the prayer team.
ABOUT FAITH @ HOME
Our faith is not just something we check in with on Sundays; our faith is how we live lives of meaning and purpose every day of the week, if we will learn to notice and respond to how God is moving.
But this awareness, like anything worthwhile, takes practice. Which is why a weekly discipleship practice of Reading, Reflecting, and Responding to scripture in the context of community is so important.
The devotions on the Faith@Home website have been written with this practice in mind. Use them with friends or family to help you deepen your experience of faith experience from Monday-Saturday.
If you normally place your pledge in the offering plate on Sundays, please consider mailing it while worship services are cancelled to 382 Boblett St., Blaine, WA 98230. You may also click on the "Donate Now" button or this link to be connected to the secure giving page on our website. Thank you!
Please note that pledges may be modified or changed, especially if you are experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic. Email Susan Thomson, our pledge secretary, if you need to make any changes.
IMAGE CREDITS: Lifehouse Church, Memorial Episcopal Church, Faith@Home, Pinterest, crosscards.com, nhcclga.com, Altitude Community Law, The Rev. Rilla Barrett, Myra Ryneheart Corcorran
Doug Dahl, Senior Warden; Mary Rebman, People's Warden; Jodith Allen, Gary Little, Sexton Pro Tem; Eileen Richardson, Secretary; Myra Ryneheart Corcorran; Jim Savidge, Sexton Emeritus; Bruce Smith, Peter Smith,April Thomson STAFF
Carl Bradley, Organist
Mary Rebman, Housekeeping
Eileen Richardson, Treasurer
Susan Thomson, Bookkeeper and Guitarist/Choir Leader
Altar Guild: Mary Rebman
Children’s Giving Garden: Wendy Kunst-Massey
Choir/Music Committee: Susan Thomson
Crafters: Eileen Richardson, Caroline Hodgins
Garden Team: Brooke Finley
Hospitality: Jeane Austin, Leslie Mason
Outreach: Susan Thomson
Prayer Team: Myra Ryneheart Corcorran
Ushers: Jeanne Austin
Want to get more involved?See our list of contacts/ministry leaders if you feel called to help in a particular area of worship or parish life. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, and we welcome your help.