Deep down, I know that separateness is an illusion;
that making “I” my central reference point
leads only to suffering;
that we’re all part of something deeper and more magnificent
than the rational minds can comprehend.
But my ego won’t be convinced.
Like some megalomaniacal talk-show host,
my ego jabbers on hour after hour, day after day.
Once in a while, a miracle occurs;
my ego shuts up and I perceive the truth clearly.
But moments later, as if nothing had happened,
my ego resumes its regular programming.
— Sy Safransky
Today is Welcome Sunday – Part II
Be sure to join us today for Welcome Sunday, Part II. We’ve still got some ice cream left from last Sunday, and the Moon Walk will be her, so it should be a great time for all.
Participate! Sunday next Sunday
Just added! Next Sunday the 23rd will be Participate! Sunday. What this means is that during our church school time we are going to invite children and adults to spend some time exploring ways to participate in our weekly worship. We’ll have brief introductions and training for these liturgical ministries:
- Readers and intercessors (leading the prayers of the people)
- Altar guild
- Gift-bearers (bringing the bread and wine to the altar)
We hope everyone will pick at least one of these ways to become involved. Church works best – and is more fun — when we all help out.
Next month, we’ll have another Participate! Sunday – this one focused on mission and outreach.
St. Nicholas will host an open labyrinth walk on Friday, September 21, from 7 to 9 pm and on Saturday, September 22, from 10 am to noon . The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking a replica of the Chartres Labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral at the beginning of the 13th century, we are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition that is insisting to be reborn. For information on the labyrinth, go to http://www.onebreadonebody.org/labyrinth.htm
This labyrinth has only one path, so there are not tricks to it and no dead ends. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives; it touches our sorrows and releases our joys. So walk it with an open mind and an open heart.
Recovery Sunday is Sunday the 30th
Our first Recovery Sunday – a time to celebrate the women and men who participate in the 12-step groups — and all in recovery – is coming up. Be sure to be there for adult ed as well as worship, as we’ll have special guest speakers. And especially importantly, join us for the picnic after the 11 a.m. liturgy, when we’ll meet and greet and feed the people whose lives we are celebrating.
Blessing of the Animals – and Pet Fair on October 7
Talk to your pet and let him or her know we’ve got a special day coming up. And we are going to break new ground, as the day will be extended to include not only the blessing at both liturgies, but also an Animal Fair from noon-2 pm, featuring adoptables and more.
Opportunity to Serve Soup and the Poor
We have the opportunity to serve dinner to the homeless and poor at the Franciscan Outreach Soup Kitchen, 1645 W. LeMoyne in Chicago. This ministry is run by our own Manny Borg. Two dates have been reserved for a group from St. Nicholas. The next trip has been scheduled for Saturday, October 13, followed by Saturday, November 10. We are planning to car pool from church, leaving around 3:30 p.m. There will be a sign-up sheet at the entrance to the worship space. If you would like to participate or have any questions, please see Manny or Mary Anne O’Rourke.
Food pantry on Wed, Sept 19. Items we now need include…
The food pantry will be held again on Wednesday, September 19, from 6 to 7:30 pm. Help replenish the food pantry by bringing one or more non-perishable items each Sunday and placing them on or beneath the table just inside the worship space. Items that we particularly need for the pantry are juice, sugar, laundry detergent, paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, tissue.
Bishop’s committee report
Minutes of September 12, 2007 meeting
Present: Paul Brouillette, Ethan Jewett, Manny Borg, David Taylor, Pat Kalicki, Steve Martz
Absent: Mary Anne O’Rourke, Karen Martin
Minutes will be available on Sunday.
The Welcome Team will meet today (September 16) at 10 a.m.
The Generosity Team will meet at the same time.
Nurturing Team Summary – Wednesday, September 12, 2007.
Present: Paul Brouillette, Ethan Jewett, Donna Tamaski
Absent: Carla Amato, Ginny Gibbs, Megan Glarner, Val Gruenwald, Mary Anne O’Rourke
Paul Brouillette opened the group in prayer. We discussed a number of pastoral care issues, including visitations for Carmen McCall, who was admitted to Alexian Brothers this week. It was agreed that Steve and the congregation would bless the first two prayer blankets at this week’s 11 am liturgy. One will then be presented. We will resume making blankets on Wednesday, October 10. A working plan for providing laundry service for Carmen has been developed, and will be implemented on Sunday, September 23, once she is out of the hospital. Paul Brouillette agreed to follow up with staff at Asbury Court , where Carmen lives, on the institution of a liturgy there once a month.
Finally, there was a discussion of providing spiritual growth opportunities for teens and young adults through experiential learning outside of the church. The present space limitations of the building prevent our offering quality formation programming for teens on Sunday morning. It was also observed that teens tend to dislike the Sunday morning format. With this in mind, it was suggested that a spiritual growth activity for teens and young adults be offered once every three months. Examples include art museums, a trip to the neonatal unit of a hospital, and visits to a different house of worship, both Christian and non-Christian. Donna Tamaski agreed to poll her children and their friends on possible activities, which we will consider at a future meeting for planning purposes.
Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, September 26 at 6:30 pm .
If you shop at Amazon…
…be sure to visit it through our web site and part of your purchase will go to our church, thanks to the work of Ginny Gibbs. The Amazon search box is located in the left hand column. Thank you!
Magnetic Church Conference
Noted lay evangelist Andrew Weeks will bring his popular Magnetic Church Conference to St. Lawrence, Libertyville on February 8 and 9. This is the second offering of this practical exploration of evangelism and new member ministry sponsored by the diocesan Evangelism Commission. The first conference with Weeks was held last March in Hinsdale.
The one and a half day conference begins Friday evening at 7 pm and concludes Saturday afternoon at 4 pm. Through his PowerPoint presentation, Weeks will challenge participants to explore opportunities for evangelism, and review the pitfalls, frustrations and misdirection he has seen in church attempts to welcome newcomers. His Friday evening session will focus on spiritual issues to help participants overcome negative views of evangelism. On Saturday he will lead participants in interactive sessions addressing communication, signage and facilities, and new member ministry.
Registration is $40 per person; or $35 per person for groups of four or more if pre-registered by Jan. 18, 2008. Registration deadline is Feb. 1, 2008. See Steve, Ethan, or Mary Anne if you are interested
An Evening of Romance?
No, it’s not a new mushy love story from Hollywood. This is an event being planned as part of the new St. Nicholas Marriage Enrichment Ministry. Imagine a sit-down dinner at the church with just you and your special someone. A two-person table, dinner served to you, romantic music in the background, and the type of conversation designed to foster deeper intimacy and connection in your relationship. Here’s where we need your input:
Would this Evening of Romance be of interest to you? Would you attend?
From your perspective, what would make the evening extra special for the two of you?
What dialog questions would you want to be used to help the two of you foster deeper communication?
Please send your thoughts and ideas to Suzie & Frank at:
What’s your story?
One of my projects is to help us tell our story more effectively. We do this in many ways and one way is through some great stories on our web site from members who share what led them to the parish. But we need more. Lots more. Would you consider adding yours? I would be happy to help you write or edit it, or if you don’t want to write it yourself, I will interview you and write it for you. Thanks!
One bread, one body
What a weekend I had last weekend! On Saturday night, I officially graduated from the Analyst Training Program of the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago, and the remarks I made are printed below. I was pleased when a former analyst of mine, one of the most prolific and respected Jungian authors in the world, emailed me to ask if he might use some of my ideas and words in a chapter he is writing for a book on teaching Jung. That made me feel I had arrived in the community of analysts. Indeed, one of the nice parts of this weekend has been the number of people who know me pretty well who have said nice things about me. Given my personality, I tend to be a bit more aware of my flaws, and focused on changing them, so it is nice to be reminded by people I respect that along with the flaws, I’ve got some gifts.
Sunday we got off to a great start. It was so nice to have 60-plus people in church again. And to see we are growing, as new people are coming and liking what they see. There’s a lot to like here, as we saw and heard on Sunday morning. Manny did a great job preaching – as usual. We are so fortunate to have multiple preaching voices. That so enriches our community – and me.
Several people remarked to me how good they felt after worship. The refreshments and conversation were great. Thanks to Paul Swanson for all he does with the coffee – and thanks to all who polished off a couple of gallons of ice cream and a wonderful cake. My favorite personal moment at both liturgies was “The Peace of God,” which both groups sang wonderfully. What a beautiful song that is. And at the later liturgy, I really enjoyed – as I know many others did, too – Mary cranking up the organ for the final stanza of “Lift High the Cross.” I’ve never really liked the lyrics to that hymn, but have always liked the music.
What a delight the organ has proved to be. There are some hymns that don’t work nearly as well with any other instrumentation. Mary told me later that she thought when she played it that loudly that she would drown everyone out, but was surprised and pleased that we all just sang louder. Great work! And a great Sunday. What a fun year we have ahead.
Here’s what I said Saturday night:
Last month I read a superb book — Erotic Mentoring, by the late Janice Hocker Rushing. At one point she wrote of the toll that completing her PhD had taken on her. Despite feeling fine before — and after — her graduation ceremony, when she completed the academic procession and was seated for the outdoor commencement, Rushing, to her surprise — and horror — suddenly began vomiting repeatedly.
I begin with this striking image because it captures my own mixed emotions about these past five years.
I am disappointed that my training coincided with the most difficult years in the life of this Institute. These were hard years for me, as I know they were for many of you, marked by too little laughter, too much scapegoating, not nearly enough spontaneity or joy. I say this to acknowledge, not to scold or complain, for I’m also grateful that training accomplished what I hoped it would – a personal transformation that enables me to work at, and live from, deeper levels of the psyche.
I also begin with Rushing because I find in her a kindred spirit. Her book is about the way the myth of Eros and Psyche is lived out in the lives of women academics. Like her, I’ve wondered a lot about Eros. As a priest, I’ve been especially intrigued by how and where Eros is present in the church. Indeed, my initial idea for a thesis was to write about the erotic in parish life. Maybe I would have called it Erotic Pastoring.
That first idea gave way to a psychological study of the liturgical year, and this in turn yielded to my eventual thesis on The Good Shepherd: Explorations of an Archetypal Image. In all these incarnations, I maintained a keen interest in the place of Eros in the religious sphere.
After reading it this summer, Lee Roloff described my thesis as “graphic, in the sense of being biographical and autobiographical,” and I think that is as accurate as it was inevitable.
The relationship between Eros and Psyche – or in other forms, between masculine and feminine, being and doing, gay and straight, body and soul, immanence and transcendence — has been a place of immense struggle in our culture, and in the church, during my lifetime.
This has meant that I, too, have had to wrestle with Eros, and to seek to hold the tension of the opposites he provokes. That endeavor, and my vocational efforts to assist others in their distinctive, yet sometimes similar struggles, is the imbedded “graph” of this thesis.
The thesis itself is straightforward. As the title indicates, it explores one of the major archetypal images of Christ. In the early church, the image of Christ as good shepherd was by far the dominant one.
Considering a variety of sources, from mythology, the scriptures, and early Christian art, to contemporary cinema, theatre, and some recent Vatican documents, I argue that Christian tradition, to its detriment, has progressively domesticated the shepherd. It has obscured his – or her — wilder, pagan, and more archaic aspects behind a resolutely orthodox presentation of the good shepherd.
I contend our time requires a less domestic understanding of the shepherd – a more Davidic, Orphic, Hermetic shepherd — and recall Bob Dylan’s lines, “Good and bad, I defined these terms, quite clear, no doubt, somehow / But I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”
In the past few years, my own Episcopal Church has grown younger, and has begun to embody an earlier, more expansive understanding of the shepherd image. We’ve elected a woman as the chief shepherd of our church, and an openly gay man as the shepherd of a diocese. And just eleven days ago, the Diocese of Chicago included a partnered lesbian on its slate of nominees to be our next bishop.
Of course, these selections have engendered a backlash. Given that women and gay men are frequently seen in western culture as the carriers of sexuality– which traditional Christianity has opposed to spirituality — this was inevitable.
But good shepherds are individuated shepherds, and the best shepherds are women and men who seek to incarnate the divine in fully human lives, in that way holding together Eros and Psyche. One branch of the church now seems able to affirm this – and who knows where this could lead?
Perhaps next we may even acknowledge that Jung was right: the splitting at the core of the Christian myth – whether this is into Good Shepherd and Bad Shepherd, Christ and Satan, or the Blessed Virgin Mary and the whore Mary Magdalene – this splitting violates the soul and diminishes our experience and awareness of the Incarnation.
I’m just getting warmed up and into preaching mode, but our Mary has set a strict 10 minute time limit, and I have this fantasy that if I exceed it, she’ll come after me with a shepherd’s staff and yank me neck first out the door. So I’m going to end with some thank yous and a remembrance.
- First of all, I thank my patients and analysands — and in my case also my parishioners, who’ve gotten a lot of Jung along with Jesus. I hope that has enriched their relationship with Jesus.
- Next, thank you to my fellow candidates, and to the faculty, committee members, and support staff of the ATP. I hope that mentioning Mary Dougherty and Boris Matthews among analysts and Debbie McGowan among candidates recognizes my particular indebtedness to them at critical junctures without shortchanging the encouragement, support, and friendship of many others.
- I offer special thanks to my supervisors, Sue Rosenthal and Carl Greer, and to my thesis director, Ken James. I feel quite fortunate to have worked with each of you.
- Most of all I thank my analyst Kennon McKee and my previous analysts, Lee Roloff and Murray Stein. What a “Holy Trinity” they’ve been – and continue to be!
- Finally, thank you Carla, David, and Jonathan. You’ve paid the greatest price for my pursuit of this vocation. I hope you also gain the greatest reward.
I’d like to conclude by taking a moment to remember Mike Hudac, who was a gem of a human being. I had especially looked forward to being Mike’s colleague and feel his absence tonight. I am sure by now that he has found himself a hell of a pasture, filled with lots of well-individuated sheep and shepherds. But ours is much less verdant since his death.
Lots of love,
Where we are financially
Attached to this week’s One Bread, One Body is the monthly report we submit to the Diocese. Each time it goes downtown, it also will go into One Bread, One Body. We want everyone to be informed of all aspects of our life together
(printouts will be available at church Sunday)
Our schedule this week
Sunday the 9th
Worship at 9 & 11 a.m.
AA meets at 7:30 p.m.
Monday the 10th
AA meets at noon
AA meets at 7 p.m.
Tuesday the 11th
AA meets at noon
AA meets at 7 p.m.
Wednesday the 12th
Bishop’s committee meets at 11 a.m.
AA meets at noon
Thursday the 13th
AA meets at noon
GA meets at 7 p.m.
Friday the 14th
AA meets at noon
Saturday the 15th
AA meets at 1 p.m.
AA meets at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday the 16th
Worship at 9 & 11