I begin with a hearty apology for the lateness of this newsletter. Between the holidays, illness and a general plethora of circumstances, we have been delayed, but not defeated. This past year was full of changes and opportunities, departures and arrivals; and this new year promises to be filled with new and exciting experiences. I would like to begin this year by considering a few of the things that we share together as believers in the Risen Christ.
Worship: As Anglicans, we place a great value on our shared worship of God, specifically in our liturgy and our traditions. Our liturgy has developed from centuries of study and practice that finds it roots as far back as Moses and preserved by the Early Church in their worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We gather on Sunday to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the Communion which Christ gave to his Apostles on the evening of his arrest, and we do so out of obligation to his words to his people, for as Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor 11: 26)
We also gather together in prayer in a uniquely Anglican fashion every morning in St. Anne’s Chapel. In the Daily Office of Morning Prayer, we participate with Anglicans all around the world and throughout history in praising God and asking him for all the things that we need to be faithful followers of his Son Jesus Christ. This service, which dates to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer written by Thomas Cranmer, provides us with a daily remembrance of Christ’s love and mercy. Additionally, we celebrate the Mass on Wednesday nights and at other special times throughout the year so that we may remain fed by “…his most precious body and blood…”
Study: We are also fed by the Father’s everliving Word as delivered to us in Holy Scripture. In addition to our own studies, it is certainly beneficial to come together read and study and inwardly digest that which is given to us for our learning and benefit. At Christ Memorial, we offer several opportunities to study and discuss the Bible. Brother Ken has been leading a spirited Study of Scripture (the Epistle of James, a Christian perspective on Islam, and currently Paul’s Epistle to the Romans) in the Adult Sunday School offering every Sunday morning at 9:05 AM. Martha Yarbrough, Kimberly Harris and Tabitha Sparks have been doing a fantastic job of providing Biblical education for our young people on Sunday mornings as well. On Wednesday nights, I lead an Adult Bible Study that has covered such topics as Celtic Spirituality, the Book of Judges and currently the Book of Acts.
Fellowship: We do fellowship very well here at Christ Memorial. We are a tightly knit and loving community who, I think, genuinely enjoys being together. The Bazaar, the Hallowe’en Party, and the Christmas Party are
just a few examples of what my family and I have experienced in just the past few months and are proof of the dynamic nature and vibrant condition of this parish. Wednesday night dinners are always festive and tasty because of the cooperation and dedication of those who cook and provide a fabulous meal for all who attend.
Outreach: In the coming year, I expect that we will be hearing more and more about this important part of our Christian lives. This parish has a long history of generous giving and support of each other and of the community as a whole. At Christ Memorial, we provide food for the hungry and monetary assistance to those who have trouble paying utility bills throughout the year. At Thanksgiving and at Christmas this year, we provided meals to those who were in need and at Christmas supported several families who were in real need for help with necessities as well as the things that make the holiday fun. I hope that our outreach to the community will continue to grow and provide folks with something even more important: the sure and certain knowledge of their salvation in Jesus Christ. I also hope that we can expand our outreach and mission to the world by going into the world to see, learn and live what it means to be a Christian today.
The new year is upon us, and it is my hope and prayer that each and every one of us shall know the blessings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, this year. I for one, am looking forward in great anticipation.