Catching Our Breath And Finding Inspiration In Perspiration

My apologies to any readers of Innocents: A Blog who still remain, vainly watching for a posting on the church blog via Bloglines or one of the other many “RSS feed aggregators” used to read blogs. A lot has happened since the last posting on the site, as I have been otherwise occupied (translation: I was just avoiding it, due to a lack of motivation, inspiration, or a wish to avoid perspiration, since my workspace at home was a little warm recently with all the hot.

I posted a few news items from the Episcopal News Service concerning General Convention and have been following events since then – Father Ted traveled to Convention and was out of town, and as it happens so was I: a family emergency prompted a trip to Salt Lake City and I was attempting to stay current while dealing with issues of life and death. During that time Fr. Ted and I tried to connect by cell phone, demonstrating the wonder and frustration of modern technology; cell phones are incredible tools for pastoral care, IF you can get a decent signal.

Since then, things have been moving quickly at Holy Innocents. We had another monthly food distribution and gave a few bags of groceries away to the needy. We had the second “Mass on the Grass” outdoor Eucharist at the corner of Salem Blvd and Schaumburg Road… and we said goodbye to Father Ted, who had an unbelievable opportunity come his way, and so we at Holy Innocents were faced with the prospect of being without clergy once again. However, due to his work over the last 2 years helping us to reach out to other small Episcopalian congregations in the area, Ted felt comfortable in confiding in Fr. Steven Martz, vicar of St Nicholas, and Fr. Steven and our Bishop’s Committee have agreed that he will be coming to Holy Innocents and conducting Sunday services starting next week, after which he will go over to St Nicholas to preside at their Sunday service.

This necessitates a TIME CHANGE for Holy Innocents: Sunday services will be at 9am, starting August 20.

While the early start time will be difficult at first, it will be a lot cooler that much earlier in the morning; this summer’s sweltering weather means that attending services at Holy Innocents involves almost as much perspiration as it does inspiration. In light of this, “Sunday coffee hour” has temporarily become “Sunday iced tea and juice hour,” and we’ve moved the refreshments back to the undercroft (basement), where it’s cooler.

St Nicholas, who are excited as a parish at the prospect of cooperating with Holy Innocents, has a number of interesting and exciting projects in progress – today, for example, they are holding a CAR WASH at the Walmart on Meacham Road in Elk Grove Village, which runs until 5pm today. They also have a community garden and are interested in providing fresh vegetables for our next food distribution on Tuesday, August 15th. One monthly event that they offer is the Labyrinth Walk on the third Friday of the month – the next one is this Friday, August 18th.

Rather than having various “supply clergy” from the Diocese come to us at the time we were used to meeting, the Bishop’s Committee felt that the continuity of sharing Fr.Steven with St Nicholas would be helpful for us in many ways. Although our liturgical styles are very different, he will happily adjust when he is with us. The earlier time will be difficult to get used to for some of us, but we will have some time now to decide our course in the coming year. We have several choices to make, but for now we will be worshiping together with Fr. Steven, and getting to know him and the parishioners at St Nicholas at a number of joint events to be planned.

Father Ted will be starting a pastoral care program at a hospital in the western suburbs of Chicago; this is an amazing and almost miraculous chance for him to help people who are suffering spiritual and physical pain. We know that he will excel and we wish him the very best of luck, and of course we will keep him and Mark in our prayers. Many of us at Holy Innocents have had occasion recently to call on Fr. Ted for pastoral care, so we know that he will bring comfort and peace to patients and family members, and he will help staff members cope with the stresses of their jobs as well.

St Columba, which was our “yoked” or partner parish, has decided to become a satellite of a larger Hispanic parish farther to the west, and they may be doing something very worthwhile and exciting with their property in the near future. We also wish them well and will pray for them.

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