The Walking on Wednesday groups walks from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and enjoy lovely scenery and good conversation. For questions, call Ellen Jackelen, 218.407.0539. New walkers are always welcome. The location and meeting point for the walk can also be found in the weekly bulletin. The bulletin is under the News and Information menu located at the top of the this page.
A reflection by Dea Podhajsky
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr
Poetry brings me peace. It makes me think. It makes me laugh and it makes me righteously angry. Poetry sings to my soul.
Recently Taking Down the Tree by Jane Kenyon was a selection on The Slow Down, a poetry podcast. In introducing the poem, the host, Ada Limon, talked about her feelings while taking down her Christmas tree. She spoke of how taking off the tree’s lights pushed a reset button, “returning the world to good and honest darkness.”
Good and honest are curious adjectives to modify darkness. We have been taught that light is good and darkness is evil. Death and darkness are often intwined images. Darkness is also associated with nothingness and decreased sunlight can cause changes in one’s body chemistry which might lead to depression, weak bones, and heart trouble. None of which denotes either good or honest.
I am a person who loves light. I hated the seemingly endless days of driving to work in the dark and returning home in the dark. When I retired and moved from Washington to Arizona, I reveled in its 290 plus days with sun. This year when I took down my Christmas decorations, I repurposed the lights to make a mediation space in my living room. Truly, good and honest would never have been the modifiers I choose for dark I’d select words like dismal, depressing, bleak, or foreboding.
The Bible is full of images of light and darkness and in them darkness is not characterized as good and honest. Genesis states “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. In John we read, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
The first reading from for the Feast of the Epiphany (the week in which I am writing this) contains images of light and darkness “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
When I taught poetry, we would discuss the use of purposely ambiguous language. Some students thought the whole idea was stupid. “Why not say what you mean?” But the point is that ambiguity forces the reader to think and make decisions on what they believe the author to have meant..
I don’t know what Ada Limon was thinking when she labeled darkness good and honest but I know the questions that choice generated within me when I read them. How can one appreciate light without darkness? How can one understand Jesus’s words in John without a concept of darkness? How can one comprehend the words from Genesis, “And God saw that the light was good.” without having the counterpoint of darkness.?
Recognizing the darkness that surrounds us and is within us forces us to confront injustice, see other’s pains, and strive to act on the power of light and love that is in us all. Yes, our world does contain good and honest darkness.
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen
We acknowledge the living culture of the Salt River Pima and Maricopa people, the traditional custodians of the land we stand on, and pay tribute to the unique role they
play in the life of this region.
COVID Transmission rates in Pinal and Maricopa counties are HIGH. We strongly encourage everyone to follow CDC recommendations and continue wearing a mask
in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. This includes wearing a mask during indoor worship services regardless of vaccination status. Masks are
available at the back of the church.
Suggested donations next week for the Food Bank are canned meat or peanut butter.
Altar Guild - Fresh flowers on the altar come from your donations. You may give any amount though a suggested amount is $25-$35. If you want to designate a
person to honor or have it be for a memorial or special occasion please include that information in writing.
Aluminum cans and clear plastic bottles for recycling may be brought to the Parish House and left in designated bins in the garage. Plastic bags may be left in the Narthex.
Thursday, January 6 at 11:00 a.m. will be a meeting of Daughters of the King.
Saturday, January 8 is ECW at 9:00 a.m. and Altar Guild at 11:00 a.m.
Tuesday, January 11 at 6:00 p.m. Vestry will meet.
Friday, January 21 at 10:00 a.m. will be a meeting of Book Club via Zoom using the January selection: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce with
Lynn Graff as leader.
Saturday, January 22 at 10:00 a.m. will be a memorial service for Lydia Sobiech followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.
Our Annual meeting will be on Sunday, January 30 in the Parish Hall following the 10:00 a.m. service.
The Rt. Rev. Terry White, Bishop of Kentucky, asks all Episcopalians of good will to donate to relief and recovery efforts underway in the areas most damaged by recent
tornados. The best way to assist those in need is through a contribution to the bishop’s Discretionary Fund via the episcopalky.org website.
The Bishop’s Discretionary Fund can get funding to our congregations quickly, and is an easy way to get funds to churches in the path of the tornado that are not currently
able to accept online donations.
Suggested donations next week for the Food Bank are boxed cereals and crackers.
On Eastern Stars and West Side Stories
An advent reflection by Dea Podhajsky
Advent is my favorite liturgical season. The word advent comes from the Latin term adventus meaning "arrival" or "coming.” The word usually is associated with the coming of something of great importance. This year Advent extends from November 28th to December 24th and I am ready.
I love the season for the music, the decorations, the lights, the food, the anticipation, and most of all the Christmas story with its message of hope, peace, goodwill, and love. A controversy in some churches is whether it is okay to play Christmas carols during Advent. Some contend that staying true to the themes of the liturgical calendar requires holding off on Christmas music until Christmas Eve. I am OK with Christmas songs during Advent. In fact, I immerse myself in them. I listen to them in my car, on my computer, and as I bake cookies, write cards, and wrap presents.
Given my music binging during Advent, it isn’t surprising that the foundation for my reflection is two songs. Studies have shown that stress and anxiety during the months of November and December often cause people to become blue. The Christmas story itself has a dark side. Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem to fulfill a government mandate. The stable was not an ideal location for having a baby and after Jesus’s birth the family was forced to flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. As written in Matthew, “When the Magi had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up!’ he said. ‘Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him’."
My first foundational song comes from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It is one of my favorite carols. It does not hide the less than Pollyanna aspects of the world yet still contains a powerfully hopeful message. After the death of his wife and the wounding of his son in the Civil War, Longfellow was inspired to write the poem we now know as the Christmas carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on Earth, good will to men
And the bells are ringing (peace on Earth)
Like a choir they're singing (peace on Earth)
In my heart I hear them (peace on Earth)
Peace on Earth, good will to men
And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on Earth, " I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on Earth, good will to men
But the bells are ringing (peace on Earth)
Like a choir singing (peace on Earth)
Does anybody hear them? (Peace on Earth)
Peace on Earth, good will to men
Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
(Peace on Earth)
(Peace on Earth)
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on Earth, good will to men
The world is not idyllic. Death, war, hatred, poverty, injustice, and despair are with us; but like Longfellow I know that God is not dead, nor is he asleep. Hope, faith and love will see us through and help us survive an imperfect world. Let the bells ring loud and deep.
This year I have something besides the celebration of Jesus’s birth that I’m looking forward to. On December 10th Steven Spielberg’s West Side story is being released in theaters. West Side Story is my favorite Broadway musical. Its themes, as reflected in its songs with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, show vastly different elements of the human experience ranging from the joy of love to the toxicity of racism. America, chronicles negative aspects of life for immigrants. Gee Officer Krupke catalogues the causes of juvenile delinquency. While songs such as One Hand, One Heart, Tonight and Maria emphasize love. A Boy Like That, a duet sung by Maria and Anita after the death of Maria’s brother Bernardo, contains both the tragedy of his death, caused by a world dominated by racial bigotry, and the power of love.
A boy like that who'd kill your brother,
Forget that boy and find another,
One of your own kind,
Stick to your own kind!
Maria counters with
I love him, we're one;
There's nothing to be done,
Not a thing I can do
But hold him, hold him forever,
Be with him now, tomorrow
And all my life!
After Maria’s musical denial of hate, the two join to sing the final lines, “When love comes so strong, there is no right or wrong, your love is your life.”
There is no right or wrong,
Your love is your life
Like the Christmas story, West Side Story and life itself, the world is messy, and people are flawed. The words of Martin Luther King, Jr, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Bishop Michael Curry can be our guiding star.
King wrote, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Desmond Tutu taught us that “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Michael Curry powerfully and prolifically writes of the power of love. “The way of love is the only way to freedom… It is how we stay decent during indecent times.”
Something's Coming from West Side Story is my second selection.
There’s something’ due any day;
I will know right away
Soon as it shows
It may come cannonballin’
Down through the sky
Gleam in its eye
Bright as a rose!
It’s only just out of reach
Down the block, on a beach
Under a tree
I got a feelin’ there’s a miracle due
Gonna come true
Comin’ to me!
Could it be? Yes, it could
Something’s coming, something good
If I can wait!
Something’s comin’, I don’t know what it is
But it is
Gonna be great!
Something’s Coming Music by Leonard Bernstein Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
I’m ready to embrace the hopeful, to celebrate the love, to anticipate the future. It’s “gonna be great” because “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.” Advent, I’m so ready!
A new message will be posted soon.
Episcopal Church of Transfiguration, Mesa, AZ
Vestry Meeting Minutes, October 12, 2021
- Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Senior Warden Lynn Graff. A quorum was present. The meeting was held at the parish hall.
- Roll Call. The following Vestry members were in attendance in person: Heidi Kinney, Barbara Press, Bill Paleck, Peg Wier, Catherine Schuyler, and Ellen Jackelen. Jo Laslo appeared via Zoom. Also present in person were Lynn Graff, Senior Warden, and Diane Klock, Clerk.
- It was moved, seconded and passed that the September minutes be approved, as corrected.
- Financial Report.
- Treasurer’s Report for September 2021 was included in the meeting packet. Bill Paleck presented the Report to the Vestry.
- Bill stated that the Report looks different than usual because it is a complete Treasurer’s Report that includes all categories of income and expenditures. Bill stated that August income was ahead of budget by $19,000 and September income is ahead of budget by $14,000. September income was down $5,993.00, but expenses were $4,500 less than budget in September.
- In response to a question from Heidi, Bill explained that the expense for Rector health insurance for August was billed and paid in September. In response to questions from Catherine, Bill explained the stained glass window income listed and the Visitor income listed. Bill also explained the listings for pledged and non-pledged income and the cleaning service expense. Pat and Pam Mack provide cleaning for the entire church complex, at a much reduced price.
- The Balance Sheet for September 2021 was included in the meeting packet.
- Bill stated that the balance in the checking account has increased.
- There is $2000 set aside to pay Paul Lee, our interim music director. He is establishing an LLC and will be billing us when that is set up.
- It was moved, seconded and passed to approve the Financial Report, subject to audit.
- The Presentation Budget Report was included with the Financial Report and discussed. A completed Budget for 2022 will need Vestry approval and will go to the Congregation at the annual meeting for approval. Bill stated that we need to get income figures from the Stewardship drive prior to completing the budget. Bill stated that the church could suffer a loss of income during this period of transition.
- Heidi Kinney discussed the Stewardship process for this year. A letter has already been provided to the Congregation. A proposed second letter was included in the packet for Vestry review. Heidi stated that the letter talks about a possible drop of $30,000 in income. This is projected because people have moved and died and some Canadians are not coming back. Suggestions for improvements to the letter were discussed.
- Heidi stated that a third letter, regarding the talent piece of Stewardship, will hopefully come from the Interim Rector. Then, pledge cards will be provided.
- Heidi stated that Steven Carroll will be the supply priest next Sunday. He uses a walker, so adjustments will be needed.
- A written Outreach Report was included in the packet. Peg Wier stated that Bill Robinson is a marvel. He prepared a report on the Chile farm for presiding Bishop Curry’s visit. Bill’s report was included in the Vestry packet and will be included in the Stewardship letter. Peg also suggested that it be used in the church’s mission statement for the Rector search. Peg stated that soup is continuing to be made for anyone who needs it.
- Jo Laslo will be the music liaison. She stated that Paul Lee will work for us until Epiphany. He would like a choir person on Vestry. Jo listed members of the Congregation she has talked to about being on a Music Committee. Bill Paleck stated that he would be on the Music Committee. Jo stated that she has found a possible pipe organ for the church. Lynn stated that she needs Vestry approval to continue Paul’s role as interim music director until Epiphany. Jo made a motion to keep Paul on and pay him through the Music Fund. The motion was seconded and approved. Jo stated that Paul would like a riser to have the choir in the front of the church. He would also like a budget. Following a discussion, it was decided that Jo will work with him and the Music Committee. There was a discussion regarding the need to print the music in the bulletin, which required paying for music rights. Lynn stated that the annual amount for music rights was very reasonable and having the music in the bulletin makes it easier for people to find the music and follow it.
- People’s (Junior) Warden Report
- Pat Mack was not present so Lynn Graff presented the report. Lynn stated that the sign has not been installed yet. Pat will be using a metal post and bolt the sign to the post.
- Lynn stated that the church has paid $2,000 for landscaping. An arborist had to be hired to remove a Palo Verde tree and do work on an Ironwood tree, which is a state protected tree. They did a great job. The money came out of the Improvement Fund.
- Lynn stated that Rev. Anne Ellsworth said that the church looks well cared for during her visit regarding the Interim Rector position. Barbara Press noted that Pastor Anne also stated that the church grounds showed love and commitment. Lynn agreed that Pat does a good job with maintenance and upkeep. Walt also comes every Monday to help.
- Rector’s (Senior) Warden Report: Lynn Graff
- A family is working with the live streaming. It might be a good idea to have someone else trained.
- Lynn discussed the status of the process of hiring Pastor Anne as Interim Rector. She said that it was being handled by Canon Anita, who is very busy because there are currently 17 churches in the Diocese going through a transition. Lynn stated that she would be contacting Canon Anita and her assistant to check on progress.
- Lynn included her notes from the Zoom meeting with Canon Anita in the Vestry packet. She also discussed the availability of samples of mission statements and parish profiles. Lynn stated that she wants simple, basic questions to be used in preparing the parish profile. Catherine stated that it should be simple, down to earth, short, sweet and to the point. Peg stated that Joan had put together a history of the church that might help. The mission statement and parish profile may be something that can be done by the search committee. The Vestry discussed names of parishioners who may be good members of the search committee.
- Lynn briefly discussed Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s upcoming visit to the Crazy Chile Farm. She stated that Bishop Curry’s speeches at the Diocesan Convention will be available on YouTube.
- Daughters of the King. A written report by Dana Wittman, President, was included in the packet. The report stated that Janet Zuber’s family was very appreciative of their work in hosting the reception following the memorial service.
- A written report by Jo Laslo, ECW President, was included in the packet. ECW’s monthly meetings are now held at 9:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month. The rummage sale will be held November 19th and 20th. Set up begins on November 15.
- Crazy Chile Farm Update. A written report from the Crazy Chile Farm, A Million Meals for our Neighbors, Council for Native American Ministries, and Council for Creation Care was submitted by Bill Robinson and included in the packet. In his report, Bill stated that he has been asked to serve as liaison between the Council for Native American Ministries and the Council for Creation Care, one of only 3 laypeople in the latter. Bill stated that churches are encouraged to promote Resolution 2019-1-2 regarding recognition of indigenous people. He stated that Resolution 2021-2, which promotes practical water saving practices for parishes, was passed at the Diocesan Convention. Bill also discussed Presiding Bishop Curry’s upcoming tour of the Farm.
- Social Media Report. A Report was submitted by Dea Podhajsky and included in the packet. Dea again noted that Social Media is a vital ministry of the parish and is an important part pf our church. She stated that there should be consideration of Social Media when looking for a new Rector. Barbara Press noticed that Gary Quamme was still listed in the report as someone authorized to post on YouTube. This should be corrected.
- Vestry during Transition. Bill Paleck brought up the possibility of Vestry members staying on after their term expired during the transition. Names of possible Vestry members to fill the current vacancy and any other vacancies was also discussed.
- Scam emails. Jo reported that she received a scam email purported to be from Fr. Bob and Jan. Lynn stated that she would put something in the bulletin to remind parishioners that Fr. Bob and Jan cannot contact them, so to ignore anything that looks like it is from them.
- Ellen Jackelen is the Vestry contact person for the month.
- The meeting was adjourned.
Next meeting November 9, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.