What do these three things have in common? I’ll admit, not much. But they are all practical issues we are dealing with All Saints. So rather than inundating you with countless emails, I thought I would just post it all to my blog so that everyone is aware of what is going on.
Praying for our Children
When a child is baptized in the Anglican Church, his or her parents and godparents make certain promises on the child’s behalf. However, they are not the only ones assuming a responsibility. At one point, the celebrant asks the congregation, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” Our response is a resounding, “We will.”
It is a wonderful liturgical expression of how the church is a community of people who live out their Christian faith together. But as with everything in the liturgy, it needs to have an expression outside of the liturgy as well. We must ask ourselves, how can we support these children as they grow and mature in their Christian faith?
Of course, we are always looking for help in our nursery and Sunday school program, and we would love to talk to anyone who feels called to that particular ministry. But even if you are not, there is still something we can all do. We can pray. I know it sounds simple, but it is one of the most important things we can do as Christians.
As a way to make our prayer more intentional and directed, starting this fall we will be assigning prayer partners to each of the children in our Sunday school and nursery programs. Prayer partners can be individuals or couples and will be assigned a child to pray for on a daily basis. There are no curriculums to learn or crafts to make. Commitments will be for one year intervals.
If you would like to serve as a child’s prayer partner or have any questions, please contact Kim Little at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ruth Benedett at email@example.com.
Many of you likely saw an email I sent out recently looking for volunteers to wash dishes on Sunday mornings as we seek to move away from using disposable coffee cups. Some have wondered why this change is necessary. After all, isn’t it so much easier to use disposable cups? It certainly is easier, but convenience always comes at a cost.
For starters, there is the cost of the cups. By my estimates we are spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year on coffee cups. Sure, that might not be a huge number when compared to the overall budget, but it is still money that ultimately cannot be spent on ministry. Since we already have a full supply of restaurant quality coffee cups and a high speed, commercial dishwasher in our kitchen, it simply makes no sense to continue spending our money on disposable cups.
There is also the cost to the environment to consider. In Genesis 2, we are told, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” If we take Scripture seriously (and I certainly hope that we do), then we know that one of our primary roles as God’s image bearers is to be stewards of his creation. The phrase “to keep” literally means to guard and care for something. Consequently, care for the planet is a theological issue as much as it is an environmental one.
Starting in June we will be putting reusable coffee mugs out on Sunday mornings. After you are finished enjoying your coffee, simply return the cup to one of the dish tubs by the kitchen. If you are interested in helping to wash coffee cups on Sunday mornings just let me know. We can use all the help we can get!
Time and Space for Fellowship
Sunday mornings at All Saints are very full and it can feel at times that we are running at break neck speed from one thing to the next. One of the comments I’ve been hearing lately is that we simply don’t have enough time or space for fellowship, to simply stand around and chat with people over a cup of coffee (in a reusable cup, of course).
Starting in June we will be moving the Sunday morning adult education class into the Education Wing so that we can use McGlynn Hall for Sunday morning fellowship. When adult education resumes after our July/August break, our plan is to continue having one adult class meet in the education wing while offering additional adult classes at Galloway House. This way we can continue using McGlynn Hall for fellowship.
I want to encourage everyone to take Christian fellowship seriously. Be intentional about spending time with others and getting to know people in our church community. Instead of just saying, “Wow, there are a lot of new people I don’t know here,” go and meet them! Introduce yourself and find out who they are. Members of the clergy will also be available in McGlynn Hall between services to check in with you, answer your questions, and even talk privately if you wish.
Fellowship is not simply something that we do when nothing else is going on. It is one of the main reasons of why the Church exists (Acts 2:42). Our hope and prayer is that intentionally setting aside a time and place for fellowship every Sunday morning will help us to build a stronger community as we get to know each other better.
The Rev. Eric Zolner
Father Eric is a 3rd generation Anglican and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO.