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Inside The Harvest From the presiding bishop Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in her Christmas message calls us to discover the love of God. Page 2

Hurricane Sandy response Kansas Episcopalians can provide help to those hit hard by the fall hurricane, and a Wamego priest worked in New York as a Red Cross chaplain. Page 2

E-readers for Kenya Kansas to Kenya has helped provide a library with e-readers that give 1,200 students in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, access to thousands of books electronically. Page 3

Food ministry St. Aidan’s, Olathe, has created an extensive ministry of feeding people that includes nearly 75 percent of the congregation in its work. Page 4

ADVENTure

New youth missioner is named Karen Schlabach will begin work in mid-January

our program’s success will do everything they can to support her in this crucial ministry.” Bishop Wolfe said of her, “She is a lifelong Episcopalian and a woman of deep faith. She has been a volunteer in our program for many years, and the fact that she is known so well by so many By Melodie Woerman of our youth, parents and youth leaders Editor, The Harvest will make her transition into this position much easier.” Bishop Dean Wolfe has named Karen The Youth Missioner position became Schlabach as the new Youth Missioner open last December with the resignafor the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, tion of Chad Senuta, who moved to the beginning in mid-January. She will have Diocese of Chicago. Since February responsibility for the diocesan youth Michael Funston has served as Interim program, which provides a variety of Youth Missioner. Funston said that she events for youth in grades 6 through 12 had discerned a call to a new direction in in all 46 congregations of the diocese. her ministry at this time. Bishop Wolfe said he believes SchlaKaren Schlabach is the new Youth Missioner In announcing Schlabach’s selection, bach “will make a substantial contribufor the diocese, beginning in mid-January. Bishop Wolfe thanked Funston and Senuta, tion to this storied program.” along with the Rev. Gar Demo and the Rev. He noted in announcing her selection that she had been the unanimous choice of a search committee he had formed for this Kelly Demo, all previous holders of this position, who he said had been “a witness for Christ to the youth of this diocese.” position, which solicited nominations nationwide. He said, “I expect great things from Karen, and I know the many youth, parents, volunteers and interns who contribute to (Please see Missioner, page 3)

A new youth event brought teens from across the diocese together for fun, fellowship and lessons on the history and customs of Advent. Page 5

EWARM welcomes refugees, faces money challenges

Food pantry needs grow Demands are rising on food pantries across the diocese, with increasing numbers of people seeking help, many of them children and elderly. Page 6

By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest Shannon Mahan is thrilled that the fledgling Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry is seen as such a success. Just since July, seven refugee families from Burma have been sent to Wichita to establish new lives and new homes in Kansas, with help provided by Mahan (she’s the agency’s executive director) and the volunteers who sponsor the families. She’s just learned another four families are set to arrive in January. There’s just one problem — she doesn’t have volunteer financial sponsors to help all of them, and the agency itself needs long-term funding if it’s to continue. EWARM is the newest affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries, an official Episcopal agency that partners with the U.S. government to provide homes for refugees, people who had to flee their native country because of political or religious persecution.

Around the diocese Members of St. Matthew’s, Newton, are walking from “Nazareth to Bethlehem” during Advent, Daughters of the King in Haiti have crosses thanks to a Kansas parish, and lots more news. Page 8

Loya named to task force Canon to the Ordinary the Rev. Craig Loya is one of 24 people named to a select task force charged with examining all aspects of the Episcopal Church’s structures, governance and administration. Page 9

Greenwell on bishop list The Rev. Gail Greenwell, rector of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission, is one of four nominees to be the next bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. Page 9

Sandy Hook victims As Trinity Church, Newtown, Conn., buried one of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Episcopal and Anglican leaders offered support and prayer, and called for an end to gun violence. Page 11

Photo by Richard Klein

The Rev. Dixie Junk places a rose in front of an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a special service Dec. 12 at St. Paul’s, Kansas City. The parish is responding to the needs of its community by offering services and events geared to Latinos.

KC church works to bridges cultures By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest The Rev. Dixie Junk has worked hard to ensure that efforts to reach out to Latinos in the neighborhood around St. Paul’s, Kansas City, have included the parish’s existing members. Those efforts are paying off, as all members of the parish entered with gusto into recent celebrations of

the Day of the Dead on Nov. 4 and a service in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. The two events have special meaning in Latino cultures, but Junk said those of other heritages embraced them, too. In fact, she said, several longtime members said the Guadalupe remembrance “was one of the most (Please see Cultures, page 7)

Matching grant offered Mahan said the initial start-up grant that helped get EWARM off the ground has ended, leaving a hole of about $46,000 to be filled by fundraising between now and the end of September 2013. That’s hard to do, she said, when most of her time as the sole EWARM employee is spent working directly with the families. But one bright light arrived in mid-December, she said, in the form of a $7,500 grant from a private foundation that asked to remain anonymous. It also pledged another $7,500 if EWARM could match it with $7,500 of its own, raised just for this purpose. Mahan said she’d welcome donations from (Please see EWARM, page 3)


2 • The Harvest • November/December 2012

Discover the love of God

A Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop

Publisher: The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop Editor: Melodie Woerman A member of Episcopal News Service and Episcopal Communicators, The Harvest is published six times a year by the Office of Communications of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas: February, April, June, August, October and December. Stories, letters and photos are welcome. They will be used on a space-available basis and are subject to editing. Send all material (preferably in electronic format or by email) to: Melodie Woerman, editor The Harvest 835 SW Polk St. Topeka, KS 66612-1688 phone: (800) 473-3563 fax: (785) 235-2449 mwoerman@episcopal-ks.org Send address changes to: Receptionist 835 SW Polk St., Topeka, KS 66612-1688 receptionist@episcopal-ks.org Upcoming deadlines: January-February 2013 issue: Jan. 15 March-April 2013 issue: March 15 Subscription rate: $1.50 annually Third class mailing Permit No. 601, Topeka, Kansas POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Episcopal Diocese of Kansas 835 SW Polk St. Topeka, KS 66612-1688

The Anglican Communion A global community of 70 million Anglicans in 38 member churches/provinces in more than 160 countries. Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Rowan Williams Lambeth Palace, London WE1 7JU, United Kingdom www.anglicancommunion.org Episcopal seat: Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England

The Episcopal Church A community of 2 million members in 110 dioceses in 16 countries in the Americas and abroad. Presiding Bishop The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017 (800) 334-7626 www.episcopalchurch.org Episcopal seat: Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas A community of more than 11,000 members in 46 congregations, two diocesan institutions and one school in eastern Kansas. Bishop The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe 835 SW Polk Street, Topeka, KS 66612-1688 (785) 235-9255 (800) 473-3563 www.episcopal-ks.org Episcopal seat: Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2 These words were spoken long ago to people living in anxiety, fear and despair, people feeling bereft of security, safety and any sense of God’s presence. We hear them early on Christmas, forgetting that they were first spoken hundreds of years before the birth we celebrate. Human beings across this planet still yearn to know that a more gracious and divine reality is active and evident in our lives. The birth we celebrate is meant for this world mired in darkness and fear, yet it also becomes easier to discover in a tiny voice crying in protest over being cold and wet and hungry. We hear that cry in the midst of war’s ravages in Congo and

Afghanistan, in the rubble of hurricane and earthquake, in the demeaning of chronic poverty, behind prison bars. That flickering of hope surges as the world turns to investigate this surprising new life, one heart at a time. The light grows as hearts catch fire with the same light that illumines the stars, pulsing

hope and new life, even out of black holes. Those who search in dark and despair, in dank dungeon and deep devastation, will find divine light given for the world. Light that will not be put out, so long as any creature remains to receive it, until and beyond the end of time. The darkness will never put it out. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5 Go and look — and discover the love of God poured into our world in human form. Hope reigns abroad, in the cosmos and in human hearts. And rejoice, for a child of the light is born in our midst! The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church 

Diocese responds to Hurricane Sandy By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest The Rev. Jan Chubb, vicar of St. Timothy’s, Iola, at the request of Bishop Dean Wolfe, is spearheading a diocesan response to people hurt by Hurricane Sandy. She has been in touch with officials from the Diocese of New Jersey, and together they have formulated some immediate things people can do to make a difference on an individual level. Kansas’s efforts, Chubb said, will center on providing more personal, comforting items that official agencies can’t. Initially that will be in the form of 60 teddy bears, wearing sunflower bandanas, accompanied by $50 gift cards. St. Timothy’s is paying for the bears, a parishioner is making the bandanas and the cost of shipping is being donated. The point of these efforts, Chubb said, “is to help people feel that somebody cares.” In addition, Chubb is working with officials in the dioceses of New Jersey and Long Island to see if partnerships can be set up between churches that suffered damage and Kansas congregations. St. Timothy’s already has started working with St. Elisabeth’s in Ortley Beach, N.J., which was a total loss. (Editor’s note: St. Elisabeth’s is profiled in a story on page 10 of this issue.) She hopes that additional Sandy-affected churches will be identified soon so partnership can be established quickly. Specific way that Kansas Episcopalians can help are detailed in the box at right.

Wamego rector serves as chaplain The Rev. Matthew Cobb, rector of St. Luke’s, Wamego, spent a week in the New York area as a Disaster Spiritual Care Leader with the American Red Cross. He was sent by his employer, Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community in Manhattan, who encouraged his involvement “from the Little Apple to the Big Apple,” using the nicknames of both Manhattan, Kan., and New York City. He worked primarily on Coney Island and Staten Island, two areas that saw massive devastation from Hurricane Sandy. In an entry to a journal he kept of his activities, Cobb said, “It is apparent to me now that this is by far the largest natural disaster to ever affect the United States of America...it impacted the most densely populated 50 square miles in the nation.” His first assignment was as part of a condolence team, assigned to provide comfort to people who had lost loved ones to the hurricane’s wrath.

How to help  Purchase $50 gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s or Home Depot. Include a generic note, offering words of comfort and support. Send them to the Rev. Jan Chubb, 1329 Grand Ave., Parsons, KS 67357-4256  Bake cookies and pack them for shipping. Contact Chubb for details on where they can be sent: janchubb@sbcglobal.net  Begin to collect loose change, which will be collected and donated to people working in tourist areas that won’t be able to open in the spring

He then spent time on Staten Island to assist residents who were experiencing “various forms of mental, emotional and spiritual distress and despair,” he wrote. He was assigned condolence duty there, too, following the deaths of 30 people. The Rev. Some of the stories he Matthew Cobb heard were excruciating. He wrote of one woman who spent 12 hours in flood waters, holding her mother up. “When the mother said that she could do this no more, she died in her arms of hypothermia,” he wrote. He and fellow Red Cross volunteers spent time walking slowly through neighborhoods, sending the nonverbal message that they were available to talk. A man approached them to describe his losses. Cobb wrote that this man and his neighbors “are displaced from their own homes and community without knowing who may cover what losses and how they will rebuild or if they will rebuild.” Residents were coping with having their insurance claims denied because of the nature of the storm. Many coastal residents had flood insurance, he said, but damage was ruled the result of a hurricane and not a flood, making them ineligible to collect. He also saw examples of outreach and help from people within their communities, including an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner that served 800 meals and a local relief effort that is helping residents plan for long-term recovery. Even with all he had seen, Cobb said these effort led him to believe that the people he had served “will not just survive but thrive,” the result of “hardworking people coming together for a purpose.” 


November/December 2012 • The Harvest • 3

EWARM: Sponsors needed to help new families thrive (Continued from page 1)

How to help

people across the diocese as well as anyone with a heart to help these refugees find a better life in America. Donations, marked “Matching grant” in the memo line, may be made out to Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry and sent to EWARM’s office, 401 N. Emporia St., Wichita, KS 67202.

EWARM will receive a $7,500 grant from a private foundation if it raises another $7,500 in matching funds. To contribute, make a check payable to Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry with “matching grant” in the memo line. Send to: EWARM 401 N. Emporia St. Wichita, KS 67202

Additional sponsors needed Mahan said EWARM receives federal funds to help with some of the costs associated with this work, but it’s far less than one might think — just $1,850 per person, meant to cover the first three months of their life in the United States. Of that amount, EWARM gets $925 to pay for things like rent and food, $725 to help with English education and job-search assistance, and $200 for a fund for refugees with high expenses. The first five families also have a sponsoring organization, which donates $3,000 to cover the second three months of a family’s expenses. Sponsors also provide volunteers to help the new arrivals learn basics of American life (how to use the post office, how to access health care) and practice their English skills. Two of the newest families don’t have sponsors, and Mahan said she isn’t sure how the agency will be able to cover the additional expenses for them for months four through six. The four families arriving in January also lack sponsors, she said. Two Wichita Episcopal churches are sponsoring EWARM families: St. John’s (third family) and St. James’ (fifth family).

Does your church want to help sponsor a refugee family, in whole ($3,000) or in part? Contact Shannon Mahan at shannon. mahan@ewarm.org or (316) 977-9276.

Photo by Tim Flynn

Burmese families recently resettled to Wichita, along with friends, gather at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport Nov. 17 for the arrival of the Yang family, the latest of seven refugee families brought from Burmese camps to Wichita to start a new life through the Episcopal Wichita Area Refugee Ministry

Mahan said if churches can’t commit to the entire sponsorship process — $3,000 plus volunteers — they could contribute part of the cost. She said she has people willing to take on the volunteer roles if a group is able to cover all or part of the financial commitment.

Employment challenges Mahan said all of the 22 refugees who have arrived so far — 14 adults and eight children — are adjusting very well to their new life far from their native Burma, also known as Myanmar, in southeast Asia.

They provide amazing support for one another, she said, with “an immense sense of community.” Five of the families live near each other in the same apartment complex, and the other two live near each other in a different part of town. They all get together several times a week for English language classes. Employment remains the vexing challenge, she said. The goal is for refugees to have a job and be self-sustaining within six months, but so far none of the Wichitans is employed. It’s not because of a lack of motivation

K2K opens e-reader library in Kenya

Above: Students display the e-readers that store textbooks and other materials in the Osborne Library in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. Right: Ronald Odongo shows students how to use the new devices in a training session for students and parents.

Kansas to Kenya, or K2K, has worked with other partners to help open a library for 1,200 students in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, on Nov. 28. But this library isn’t filled with books — it offers 37 e-readers, electronic devices that store thousands of books each. Funds to build the Osborne Library were given in memory of his parents by John and Renee Osborne, formerly of St. James’, Wichita, who now live in Florida. The land was donated by the Anglican Church of Kenya, and K2K purchased the reading devices and library furniture with money from an April fundraiser. K2K obtained the readers with the help of Worldreader International, a non-profit whose mission is, according to its website, to make digital books available to children in the developing world, so millions of people can improve their lives. Since launching their first project in Ghana in 2010, the agency already has helped put more than 245,000 e-readers into the hands of children in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Kenya. The e-readers in the Osborne Library will be loaded with textbooks, storybooks, religious books and reference materials. E-readers rather than paper books were provided because they allow cheaper and easier distribution of greater numbers of books. Among those participating in the opening were Diocese of Kenya Bishop Joseph Muchai and the Rev. Antony Ngugi, priest at Maai Mahiu’s All Saints Anglican Church, and computer science student Ronald Odongo. — Melodie Woerman 

on their part, Mahan said. “All of them are willing to do jobs beneath their education level.” Their limited ability to speak English certainly is a problem, but she said the lack of public transportation is proving a real barrier. Several employers have talked to her about second and third shifts jobs they think the refugees can do in spite of language gaps. But since public buses stop running at 6 p.m., the refugees have no way to get to or from those jobs other than paying for taxis — and that’s money the agency just doesn’t have, she said. Mahan said she’d welcome leads on jobs that might be suitable for the refugees, especially if it involves daytime hours, as well as any questions about being a sponsor or learning more about EWARM. She can be reached at shannon.mahan@ ewarm.org or (316) 977-9276. 

Missioner: Schlabach has been longtime youth volunteer (Continued from page 1) He added, “We have been exceptionally blessed to have had so many capable people who have given so much to the youth of our diocese.”

Long-time active volunteer Schlabach has served as part-time youth minister at St. Michael and All Angels in Mission since June 2008 and became the parish’s part-time communications director in September 2010. She grew up at St. Matthew’s, Newton, and has been deeply involved with the youth program of the Diocese of Kansas since 2005, serving in a variety of volunteer leadership capacities with summer camp, Happening, Miqra, MissionPalooza, the Youth Commission and peer minister retreats. In reflecting on her new position Schlabach said, “I am really excited about the opportunity to work with the youth of the diocese. As the youth minister at St. Michael’s I’ve been an active participant in diocesan youth events, and in accepting this position I hope to continue providing excellent programs where our youth can learn and grow in their faith. “I am also excited about the new challenge of helping parishes with resources for youth ministry. I hope to visit many parishes in the coming months, meet new people and find out what I can do to assist people in supporting our youth.” Schlabach holds two degrees from Kansas State University — a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communications (1999) and a Master of Science in Student Counseling and Personnel Services (2001). She worked for nine years for universities as an academic advisor and as associate registrar before joining the staff of St. Michael and All Angels. Schlabach will work from her home in Overland Park. 


4 • The Harvest • November/December 2012

Olathe church makes a difference by feeding people By Dave Seifert When someone walks through the door of St. Aidan’s in Olathe, parishioners try to make sure that person knows “there’s a place for you at the table.” And when those same parishioners go out from the church, they’re doing the same thing with neighbors in Olathe and beyond — so that all may be fed. This historic (1859) congregation of nearly 180 members is making a difference that goes far beyond its size. The Rev. Julianne Sifers, rector, estimates that 70 to 75 percent of the parish is active in the congregation’s feeding programs. Here’s a look at what they’re doing:  Harvesters BackSnack program — volunteers pack and deliver backpacks filled with food provided by Harvesters to Olathe schools. About 30 to 35 St. Aidan’s volunteers pack snacks for 260 students at five schools each week.  Johnson County Food Ministry — once a month, more than 20 parishioners plan, purchase, prepare and serve dinner to more than 350 hungry people at Center of Grace in Olathe. Many of the same volunteers (and others) participate in preparing and serving Thanksgiving dinner at the center each year.  St. Paul’s Food Pantry — volunteers stock shelves and distribute food at the pantry in Kansas City, Kan., each Wednesday and Saturday. Many parishioners donate canned food or bulk items weekly to be transported to the pantry.  Adopt a School program — as needs arise throughout the year, parishioners donate healthy snacks to provide additional nourishment and energy during the school day to students at Mission Trail Middle School in Olathe.  Bread ministry — two parishioners pick up bread each week donated by a local grocer and deliver it to Catholic Charities in Olathe to supply 50 families.  Kansas City Community Kitchen — the parish collects recycled plastic containers for this Episcopal Community Services (ECS) program in Kansas City, Mo., for re-use by the kitchen.  Military support — as needed, St. Aidan’s collects food and DVDs to send to local troops deployed overseas. And in a different form of feeding, an exceptionally active Eucharistic Visitor program takes Holy Communion every Sunday to nearly 50 residents of five area

BackSnack program serves ... are suffering from abject poverty and seem to experience crisis after crisis ... Words and notes cannot express what a positive impact this program has on the children and our community.”

Ministry brings surprises Making this kind of commitment inevitably leads to surprises. “I don’t like to cook — I don’t really even know how to cook — but I felt called to something outside my ‘box,’ so I started organizing these programs,” Wheeler said. “It’s a whole different experience when you’re with people who have a need and others who like to do this.” She’s also been pleasantly surprised when the congregation has gone beyond what she thought was possible. “I’m consistently surprised by how fast people respond to the needs,” she said. When she put out a call for people to cook turkeys for this year’s Thanksgiving meal, 15 of the 16 turkeys were picked up within eight hours. Sifers emphasizes that in addition to The Harvest file photo knowing your congregation’s gifts, it’s important to identify where to get resources. Nearly 75 percent of the members of St. Aidan’s, Olathe, are involved in the parish’s “If you keep looking at your limitations, extensive ministry committed to feeding people in their community. Some of them are shown here in a 2009 photo placing food into BackSnacks packs, for distribution to school you’ll never do this kind of thing,” she said. “Know where to find resources — we did children in danger of going hunger over the weekend. that by approaching ECS in 2010 to help ning to build faith and discipleship. But it’s fund the monthly dinners.” nursing homes. also important to respond to what’s needed ECS agreed to provide funding and proin your community, and the need for food motional help, and St. Aidan’s committed A history of feeding people to handling one dinner a quarter at Center This feeding focus dates to 2005, when was becoming more obvious in Olathe.” of Grace. the vestry was taking a new look at parish “But after the first dinner, the volunteers direction with Sifers’ leadership, but feed- Helping their neighbors Deacon Fran Wheeler, who guides said they could do this once a month,” ing goes further back at St. Aidan’s. “When I came here as rector, I studied many of the initiatives, emphasizes that St. Wheeler recalled. “ECS said ‘yes’ to the the history of the parish,” Sifers said. Aidan’s considers all the people reached money, and we agreed to work on vol“When they were in the original location to be neighbors, not clients or program unteers. We’re still doing dinners each month — and have invited other parishes on the west side, they did a lunch at the participants. “They are not our next-door neighbors to join us.” fire station and held an annual community but are our neighbors in community,” she Sifers sees these outreach efforts as ways meal. Parishioners also cooked and sold cheesesteak sandwiches at ‘Old Settlers’ said. “We consider them members of St. to grow personal discipleship as well as Aidan’s even though they may never attend feeding hungry people. Days’ each fall as a fundraiser.” “It’s different from when civic organizaHer work with the vestry revealed that a service here — we have built relationships when they talked about other kinds of out- with them, and they see the benefits of what tions do this kind of work because of how it translates into our faith,” she said. reach — such as after-school care — the they’re getting.” St. Aidan’s volunteers know that from “When it’s combined with our teaching, discussions produced little energy. But when food-related programs came up, the the hugs and messages they receive. A letter liturgy, hymns, etc., everything melds into from a BackSnack neighbor said, “Thank what we do out in the community. Charienergy emerged. “It’s important to recognize the gifts you! Because we are broke. So thank you table organizations do a lot of good things, present in your community as well as the very much.” Another said, “Oh St. Aidan’s but it’s not a changing experience for the Church and Harvesters. Thank you for the people in the same way.” particular needs,” she said. Dave Seifert attends St. Aidan’s, where “These kinds of programs are important wonderful foods! Amen.” The school nurse at a participating his wife, Lavonne, is an intern as a student because they help people realize they’re doing ministry, and that’s the basis for begin- school wrote, “Most of the families the at the Kansas School for Ministry. 

Topekan seeks help to provide Women’s summit planned warm coats for area children for April 19-20 in Wichita Topekan Jim Brewer is seeking help from Episcopalians around the diocese to help provide warm coats for children in need in his community. Twelve years ago Brewer, a member of Grace Cathedral, started what he calls the “Warm Little Ones Coat Fund,” which so far has provided more than 11,000 coats to Topeka-area children who otherwise wouldn’t have one. He initially collected gently used coats to distribute, but he learned how much it meant to children to have a brand new coat, all their own. He now works to raise money to purchase new coats, which are distributed by agencies to children in four counties surrounding Topeka. This year the Topeka Public Schools have asked for coats for their clothing bank for students in need, doubling the number Brewer said he served in 2011.

How to help To help Jim Brewer provide coats for Topeka-area children, send contributions to: Warm Little Ones Coat Fund Topeka Community Foundation 5431 SW 129th St. Topeka, KS 66614

This is in addition to the fund’s usual work supplying coats through the Salvation Army and the Topeka Rescue Mission. Brewer said, “I hope Episcopalians will open their heart to the fund. This year we really need help.” Contributions can be made to the Fund through the Topeka Community Foundation, which administers it. — Melodie Woerman 

The first-ever diocesan Women’s Summit will take place April 19-20 at St. James’ in Wichita with the theme “Women and Girls: Made in the Image of God.” It is designed for Episcopal women of all ages from high school and older. It is being planned by a group of women from the diocese that includes Ellen Wolfe, wife of Bishop Dean Wolfe; Ginger Shields, a member of the Episcopal Church Women board; and Deacon Fran Wheeler of St. Aidan’s, Olathe. The summit, which will run from Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, will address three questions through speakers and small group discussions:  What does the Bible say to us about who we are as women?  What does contemporary society and

the media say to us about who we are as women?  What do we say to each other about who we are as women? Overnight accommodations in private homes can be arranged for participants wishing them; group hotel plans will be announced soon. The cost to attend hasn’t been finalized, but scholarship assistance will be available. Questions about the event, or offers to assist with its planning, may be directed to Ellen Wolfe at deanandellenwolfe@ sbcglobal.net or (785) 393-1327; or to Fran Wheeler at frances.wheeler11@ gmail.com or (913) 226-0540. Additional information and registrations will be available in future issues of this publication and on the diocesan website, www.episcopal-ks.org. 


November/December 2012 • The Harvest • 5

Bishop Wolfe outlines policy for same-sex blessings Bishop Dean Wolfe has issued a policy, which took effect on Dec. 2, that permits clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas to bless same-sex unions, using liturgies approved by General Convention. That body authorized the blessing of same-sex unions on a trial basis by vote of the elected deputies and bishops during their meetings in Indianapolis in July. Bishop Wolfe’s policy, which has been distributed to all priests and which was discussed at recent clergy meetings called the Gathering of Presbyters, permits clergy to take this action but does not require anyone to do so. It also states that “the diversity of theological positions on this subject” within the diocese will be respected. The bishop also encourages clergy to make use of several educational and preparatory materials to engage in discussion within parishes. The policy, listed below, also is posted on the diocesan website at http://www.episcopal-ks.org/bishop/same-sex-blessings.php

Policy for Provisional Use of Same-Sex Blessings The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas Effective Advent I, 2012

During the ADVENTure youth event, Kitty Fapp (right) places candy on the roof of a graham cracker house while Maddie Matthew (far left) and Helena Howell look on. Fapp and Howell are members of Grace Cathedral, Topeka; Matthew attends St. Michael and All Angels, Mission.

New youth event centered on the season of Advent

Youth made proposal Funston said she talked to the youth leaders in the students’ parishes, and then she asked Shipman and Schmidt to present their idea to a meeting of the Youth Commission on Nov. 3. They proposed a schedule and activities that could take place and even suggested it be held at the cathedral. The group liked the idea but feared there wasn’t enough time to plan and advertise it. Together they all decided that it would take place Dec. 8-9 if 20 people signed up by Nov. 26. Shipman and Schmidt then got to work, recruiting their friends from across the diocese and promoting the event on their own Facebook pages. They met the minimum needed for the event

2. No priest will be required to offer these blessings, and we will continue to respect the diversity of theological positions on this subject represented in this diocese. 3. A period of discussion and education regarding these new rites is emphatically recommended for every parish in the diocese. No priest should make use of these rites without properly educating and discerning with his or her congregation. 4. Same-sex unions must adhere to comparable standards and processes that are commonly practiced in the blessing of heterosexual couples. For example, normatively, all couples to be blessed will have an affiliation with the parish, pre-blessing counseling, make promises of monogamy and fidelity, and will be subject to appropriate inquiry and the recording of previous legal unions.

By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest The desire of three teens to see their friends merged with the chance to learn more about the season of Advent to create ADVENTure, a new event offered by the youth program of the diocese for young people in grades 6 through 12. Michael Funston, interim Youth Missioner, said three teens — Jeremiah Shipman of Grace Cathedral, Topeka, and Jocilyn Schmidt and Cheyenne Sida of St. Thomas, Overland Park — didn’t like the gap in youth activities between September’s Fall Fun Fest and Miqra in January. They suggested something with a Christmas theme and then settled on Advent, since, as Shipman said, it is “a season I didn’t know all that much about.”

1. Any priest may use the liturgy authorized by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church for the blessing of same-sex unions. In addition to the liturgical resources, the additional educational and preparation resources found in “I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing: Resources for the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant in a Same-Sex Relationship” are commended to the clergy and people of the diocese.

5. Any further questions with regard to these provisional rites should be addressed to the Office of the Bishop. 

Diocese receives three Jubilee ministry grants

Julia Howell from Grace Cathedral, Topeka (left) and Elizabeth Parker of St. Thomas, Overland Park enact a skit about St. Nicholas, whose feast day fell just before the start of the event. They used information boards the cathedral had on display.

to go forward, and eventually 37 young people and 11 adult sponsors signed up. Funston said speakers talked about the history and symbolism of the season of Advent, as well as explored the concept of waiting as it appears in the Bible. There also was time for worship, including Compline and Sunday morning Eucharist with the cathedral congregation. Activities included learning about St. Nicholas (whose feast day had just occurred), games, a dance party, and making a variation of gingerbread houses, using graham crackers, with frosting and candies for decorations. Funston said as part of that activity youth talked about Bible passages that centered on build-

ing a house for the coming of the Lord. Funston said that when quizzed, participants were eager to tell her what they had learned, including, Shipman said, that “St. Nicholas punched an Egyptian bishop for saying that Jesus Christ was not God.” Funston said that as with all youth events, “we try to guide kids, to talk about Jesus and sharing God’s love. They got those things but also learned about the season of Advent and why we observe it in the Episcopal Church, and why it’s important.” The reason behind the event’s creation wasn’t lost, either. “They also loved time with their friends from around the diocese,” Funston said. 

The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas has been awarded three Jubilee ministry grants totaling $2,500. They are among 67 grants awarded in 35 dioceses, amounting to more than $55,000. These awards were made to existing programs classified as Jubilee ministries, a designation made by the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council to recognize work among the poor and oppressed. Jubilee ministry centers provide direct services, such as food, shelter, and health care, and also advocate for human rights. Grants of $750 were given to Episcopal Social Services/ Venture House in Wichita, and to St. Paul’s, Kansas City. This money is designed to respond to the nutritional needs of people living in “food deserts,” communities in which residents do not have easy access to fresh produce and must rely on convenience stores or fast-food restaurants.

In its grant application, ESS said it plans to use the money to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to distribute through its emergency food sacks. In 2011 it handed out 500 bags of groceries to homeless men and women and to low-income families. The agency said it expects that number to grow to 1,000 by the end of 2012. St. Paul’s will use its award on food for its existing Saturday morning breakfast program and its twice-a-week food pantry, which together serve about 3,000 people every week. Another $1,000 award was given to the diocese itself to support Jubilee ministry development plans of the bishop and the appointed diocesan Jubilee officer. There currently are 10 official Jubilee ministry centers throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. The Rev. Dixie Junk, priest in charge of St. Paul’s, Kansas City, is the diocese’s Jubilee officer. 


6 • The Harvest • November/December 2012

More people seeking help from food pantries By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest Volunteers (in aprons)

The shelves were so bare at the food pantry at St. Paul’s, Kansas City, the week before Thanksgiving that one volunteer left early, unable to bear not having more to offer those who came seeking help. An influx of donations from churches across the area restocked the supply, but it points to a reality that food pantries across the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas are seeing this year — more people are coming more often, all needing food that they otherwise just can’t afford.

help “neighbors” shop for food at the food pantry at St. Paul’s, Kansas City, the largest food pantry in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. Growing numbers of people are coming to food pantries across the diocese for help. Submitted photos

Report from four pantries St. Paul’s Food Pantry is the largest in the diocese and in the greater Kansas City area; it is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Volunteer pantry manger Ross Warnell said they now see 50 to 60 people each day, up from the 35 to 40 he helped when he first started volunteering 18 months ago. On Dec. 15 this year, he said, they served 82 people. “We’re bracing ourselves for the rest of the month,” he said. Barry Molineux, who helps with the Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry operated by Trinity, Lawrence, and other area churches, said they had seen as many people in the first 10 months of this year as they did in all of 2011. Each month brings, he said, “a significant and steady stream of Volunteers at St. Paul’s Food Pantry repackage bulk items into smaller containers so it can serve more people. new patrons.” Episcopal Social Services/ Venture House in Wichita, which need the help the most. where Wise said in spite of inhands out emergency food sacks creasing numbers of children, the twice a week as part of its pro- Who comes for help? largest group of people it serves grams to serve the city’s poor, While the reason people seek remains middle-aged men, many has seen a 10 percent increase help from food pantries is obvious of them unemployed or homethis year, according to Jennifer — they need food they otherwise less. That population has been a Wise, director of public relations can’t obtain — the factors behind target of many of ESS’s programs and events. it vary from place to place. through the years. Clients now Warnell said Hubbard didn’t have a breakinclude a growthat most of those down of those St. Clare’s has ing number of who come to St. served, but he said they represent a Anyone can do families who Paul’s (whom hidden need in the community that receive food charity. What I see they call neigh- straddles the line between Miami stamps but who b o r s a n d n o t and Johnson counties. need food help in the pantry and clients) are dis“There’s so much need, but because their abled, elderly or in Spring Hill it’s pretty hidden,” other places is the benefits have run chronically un- he said. “There’s a big income short, she said. employed. disparity in town, with many areas kingdom of God All three pan“ T h e y j u s t of great wealth and others of more tries are seeing breaking through in have an unlivable hidden need.” an increase in the wage,” he said, He said their pantry is designed that place. number of people noting the pantry as an emergency location for those who come for — Ross Warnell serves one of the who have exhausted other avenues assistance at the poorest areas in of help. Food pantry manager end of the month, the entire state of But, he asked, “what’s not an St. Paul’s, Kansas City Kansas. when money has emergency with a food pantry?” become tight “We’re in the and people have inner city,” he Worries about supplies nowhere else to said. “It’s part of Warnell said St. Paul’s offers turn. life here.” two kinds of help to its neighbors: The pantry at the newest They’re also seeing lots of commodities, which come from congregation in the diocese, St. children coming in with adults, the US Department of AgriculClare’s in Spring Hill, has been something Molineux said is also ture through the Harvesters Food open one evening a month since true of Trinity’s pantry. Bank; and what they call grocerJune, so it has only a few months Children made up more than a ies, non-perishable items donated of statistics. third of its pantry clients through by groups and individuals, as well But according to its priest, the November of this year, he said, as items the pantry buys from Rev. Philip Hubbard, numbers with the elderly accounting for Harvesters for pennies per pound. jumped from 13 people served in another 12 percent. All residents of the county August to 39 in October. It’s open Together they total nearly half can pick up commodities once near the end of the month because the people served so far this year. a month; grocery distribution is they know that’s when people The story is different at ESS, restricted to those who live in a

How to help  Donate food: canned fruits and vegetables; bulk staples like coffee, flour, sugar and cooking oil; boxed suppers; protein items like peanut butter and canned tuna; personal care items like soap, dishwashing liquid, toilet paper and shampoo; baby items like diapers and wipes  Donate money so the pantry can buy bulk items from its regional food bank  Collect plastic water bottles (with caps) for pantries that repackage bulk items  Donate plastic or paper grocery bags so pantry patrons have a way to carry their items home  Volunteer

smaller area nearest the pantry, and these are available once every two months. The quantity and quality of commodity items has Warnell worried. The December shipment, he said, provided only canned peaches and pears, canned vegetable soup and dry noodles. There was no protein of any kind. The November shipment provided canned beef stew and canned chicken, so the lack of meat surprised and worries him. They do use donated funds to purchase meat — they’re handing out chickens to folks this Christmas — but the thin quality of these commodities means less to offer neighbors who qualify for that level of assistance. Molineux said he worries that the drought that gripped much of the nation’s midsection this year will result in higher food prices, which will hurt the buying power of their clients and, potentially, the amount that people can donate to help. Warnell said he also fears the loss of a supply of about-to-expire bread his pantry receives twice a week from a local Hy-Vee store. It and another store are being closed and operations consolidated in a new one. Warnell has asked the new store’s manager to continue to donate to St. Paul’s, but he doesn’t know how many others might be making the same request. But, he said, “I have faith that

we will have bread. One way or another we will take care of our neighbors.”

Offers spiritual growth Warnell, a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Liberty, Mo., in the Diocese of West Missouri, said his pantry offers elements of evangelism as well as service. Their volunteers include parents that bring their children, as well as youth groups from area churches. “We ask, ‘How can we pass our faith along to our children?’ This is the way to pass it on. Let your kids see you do it.” He also said opportunities for Episcopalians to serve others, through food pantries and other ministries that help people, makes the church stronger. “The mainline churches are going through a time of testing right now,” he said. “A fresh wind is blowing through the church, especially the Episcopal Church. We are beginning to realize that we don’t have a whole lot of reasons to exist other than ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ “Anyone can do charity. What I see in the pantry and other places is the kingdom of God breaking through in that place.” Warnell calls the pantry “God’s little outpost in KCK,” saying that through it all, “We’re making it happen, one loaf of bread at a time.” 


November/December 2012 • The Harvest • 7

Cultures: Events aim to bring members together (Continued from page 1) beautiful services we’ve ever had.” Non-Spanish speakers also joined in the parish’s first Spanish language Eucharist at the main Sunday service on Nov. 11. Junk said she hopes all these efforts soon will lead to a Saturday morning rosary prayer group for women and, by spring, to a weekly Spanish service on Sunday afternoons. Outreach efforts to the increasingly Latino neighborhood around St. Paul’s started last summer, and Spanish speakers began showing up at Sunday services before Junk even had anything in place to assist them. She quickly started producing Spanishlanguage bulletins, even though all services were in English, along with welcome signs and devotional materials. She also has used Sunday morning Christian education classes to have a conversation with the parish about how their existing traditions overlap and can blend with those of the newcomers.

Day of the Dead Junk said this was beautifully seen in the first-ever Day of the Day, or Los Dias de los Muertos, observance. She said she and members talked about how the Mexicaninspired traditions of this observance were designed to honor and celebrate the memory of loved ones. Since St. Paul’s “for years has loved All Saints Day,” she said, they were eager to try these new-found aspects. Together they painted the smiling skulls that grace Los Dias de los Muertos altars and gathered personal items, like photos and small mementos, of loved ones being remembered. When members came on a Saturday to place the items on the altar in the side chapel, Junk said it had a “very incarnational” feel to it, with so many personal items on display. “It was a different, fleshy way to remember people.” She said the Anglo members of the congregation found the altar so meaningful that they sought permission from Latino members to leave it up beyond the usual one Sunday observance. When asked why this new event was such a success for everyone involved, Junk credited the parish’s long-standing emphasis on hospitality and entertaining. “Latinos describe worship on Sunday as a party with Jesus, so there’s lots of overlap,” she said. “The intersection of hospitality and culture is important to both groups.”

The Virgin of Guadalupe is a symbol of divine, radically inclusive love. The presence of her icon at St. Paul’s demonstrates the community’s resolve to be a place where all are welcome, all are of equal worth. — Dr. Don Compier

and didn’t hear their own language.” With the help of two priests with a working knowledge of liturgical Spanish — diocesan Canon to the Ordinary the Rev. Craig Loya, and the Rev. Patrick Funston, chaplain at Lawrence’s Bishop Seabury Academy — the main service that day The icon was placed in front of the was conducted in Spanish. Josefina Diaz altar during a reenactment of the legend preached and sang several special anthems. of the giving of this image of the Virgin Even though it wasn’t perfect — Junk Mary to Juan Diego, wasn’t able to locate a and roses were distribmusician with experiuted to congregation ence in Latino liturmembers, who in turn gies — it was a start. placed them in front “We decided to just try of the icon. Junk said it,” Junk said. Doing plans call for the icon to it on a Sunday mornbe placed permanently ing meant “everyone in the chapel. could experience this The service was a and support the faithblend of Spanish and fulness of the Spanish English. Dr. Don Comspeakers.” pier, a member of St. After that service, Michael and All Angels the parish hall was in Mission, alternated filled with the sounds English and Spanof mariachi-style muish during his sermon sic accompanying the about the importance Rose Marie Mendez of the tradition of the Fiesta Mexicana dancVirgin of Guadalupe, ers, a children’s dance and readings were in troupe. Junk said both languages. The about 60 of the dancprayer responses and ers’ family members The icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe the Lord’s Prayer were and friends attended that St. Paul’s members created said in the respondent’s and stayed for lunch for use with their special service on preferred language, afterward. She hopes Dec. 12. Junk said. Photo by Deacon Gail Reynolds they will be interested Compier called the in coming back, since service “deeply moving,” noting that ev- by the end of March she expects to offer an eryone was “glad to read and pray in both English service on Sunday mornings and a Spanish and English.” Spanish service in the afternoon. He said one aspect of his sermon emphasized how the Virgin of Guadalupe is “a Visit by ‘Father Oprah’ symbol of divine, radically inclusive love.” Junk said the next big event is a visit to The presence of her icon at St. Paul’s, he Kansas City by the Rev. Alberto Cutié of said, “demonstrates the community’s re- Miami. When he was a Roman Catholic solve to be a place where all are welcome, priest he was known as “Father Oprah” all are of equal worth.” because of his extensive Spanish language Junk said the service drew several com- television ministry. He now is an Episcopal munity members who never had attended priest and is scheduled to visit the parish before. One woman, who came with her Feb. 23 and 24. three children, would like to start a chilJunk said that with the Latino population dren’s choir, she said. in Kansas City growing, the church has an Diaz is interested in starting a Saturday obligation not to ignore an entire group of morning rosary prayer group for women, to people. Junk said that Spanish speakers meet in the chapel under the watchful pres- who have begun attending, like Diaz and ence of the Virgin’s icon. She’ll be aided by her family, have shown “so much heart” Bianca Elliott, a Spanish interpreter sent by in being part of the St. Paul’s community Trinity, Lawrence, to assist with St. Paul’s that the parish now “has to deliver on the Latino ministry. promise.” Compier, the preacher at the Guadalupe Plans for Spanish services remembrance, said the parish is poised to Junk said that she and parish members do just that. “The people of St. Paul’s make planned the church’s first Spanish service it very clear that everyone is genuinely for Nov. 11 to honor the faithfulness of the welcome,” he said. “They are so happy Spanish speakers “who came all summer to welcome new people to the church.”  Photos by Melodie Woerman

The altar at St. Paul’s, Kansas City, for Los Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, features personal remembrances of loved ones, along with decorations typical of observances in Latin America. This was the first year the parish observed this tradition, which falls on Nov. 2, the day after All Saints Day.

This event, she said, “felt organic to St. Paul’s.”

100 percent are Guadalupes The same feeling applied to the Virgin of Guadalupe celebration, she said.. This image of the Virgin Mary imprinted on the cloak of a peasant boy, Juan Diego, in 16th century Mexico, has made her an important saint within Mexican and Latino cultures and led her to be named the Patroness of the Americas by Pope John Paul II. Junk said that Josefina Diaz, a new Spanish-speaking member of the congregation, noted, “If 75 percent of Latinos are Roman Catholic, 100 percent are Guadalupes. She’s the mother of everyone.” Rather than purchase a copy of the traditional icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe — a blue-cloaked Mary surrounded by an aura of light while supported by an angel — Junk suggested the parish create its own. Parishioners and artists Barb Van Middlesworth and Marilyn Locke sketched an outline of their version of the traditional image, and members took turns filling it in with paint. “Everyone felt they were part of this,” Junk said. “And now it’s ours, something we all did together.”

Young dancers from the Rose Marie Mendez Fiesta Mexicana children’s dance troupe perform at the lunch after the first Spanish service at St. Paul’s on Nov. 11.


8 • The Harvest • November/December 2012

Around the diocese  St. John’s, Abilene has shifted the emphasis from money to buy quantities of poinsettias, to memorial and thanksgiving contributions that support the parish’s pastoral ministry at Christmas. Altar flowers still are purchased, and members can “loan” their own poinsettias for use around the altar.  Trinity, Atchison sought additional people to support its longtime ministry of providing a monthly birthday cake for the residents of Senior Village.  St. Mark’s, Blue Rapids hosted its annual lasagna dinner Nov. 17, with all proceeds earmarked for scholarships to help young people attend church camp next June.  St. Paul’s, Clay Center again collected gifts for its annual “Random Acts of Kindness” ministry. Members donated small, wrapped gifts that were randomly distributed to people in town on Dec. 16.  St. Andrew’s, Derby used elements of Taizé worship during Advent. It centered on a slow, prayerful approach, featuring simple, repetitive melodies and lyrics taken from Scripture, along with periods of silence. The ecumenical monastery at Taizé, France, popularized these worship elements.  St. Martin’s, Edwardsville observed the 60th anniversary of the parish’s founding on Nov. 18 with a special service. They also had a surprise visit that week from Jocie Rhode of Colorado, part of the founding family.  Trinity, El Dorado has begun offering Evening Prayer Mondays through Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in the church. Members were encouraged to volunteer to take turns officiating at this daily office.  St. Andrew’s, Emporia

purchased a grand piano, which is designed as a cornerstone of a public music ministry, as well as an extended ministry with Pittsburg State University. The cost was provided by donations to the music memorial fund, as well as parish funds authorized by the Vestry.

observed its patronal feast on Nov. 30 with a special supper afterward. In honor of St. Andrew, who among other things is the patron saint of Scotland, members were encouraged to wear plaid.  Epiphany, Independence now offers a celebration of Holy Eucharist every Wednesday at 5:15 p.m., led by Mother Kathi Babcock. It takes place in the church’s Drohen Chapel.

 St. Francis, Stilwell remembered veterans with a Nov. 11 Armistice Day service, noting it also is called Remembrance Day in Great Britain.

 Covenant, Junction City now offers a healing service every Friday at noon, including readings, prayers, Holy Eucharist, and the laying on of hands and anointing for anyone who wishes it.  St. Paul’s, Kansas City said good-bye to Benjamin Gentry, its organist and choirmaster for the past two years. Gentry has taken a job providing live entertainment to passengers with a Florida-based cruise line that sails to the Virgin Islands.  St. Margaret’s, Lawrence opened its doors to some of the city’s homeless for a week in December through Family Promise, a program that uses churches as temporary shelters for people without a place to live. Parish volunteers provided food as well as round-the-clock hosting.  Trinity, Lawrence offered women a break from the hustleand-bustle of Christmas preparations with “Soup ’n Sanity” on Saturday, Dec. 15. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. they enjoyed homemade soup, leisurely conversation, some quiet time in the church and a workshop on Anglican rosaries.  St. Paul’s, Leavenworth provides a “light bulb” ministry of volunteers willing to do small household chores, like changing light bulbs, for people who no longer can undertake those tasks safely.

 Grace Cathedral, Topeka hosted organist John Walker for a Dec. 7 concert in its Great Spaces arts series. Walker is national vice president of the American Guild of Organists and teaches organ at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Mission church provides crosses Members of the “Filles de Roi,” or Daughters of the King, chapter at St. Paul’s, Torbeck, Haiti, receive their crosses during a regional meeting of the group Nov. 11 in Les Cayes, Haiti. The cost of these crosses, which are worn by all members of this prayer and service order for Episcopal women, was paid by the DOK chapter at St. Michael and All Angels in Mission, which has a longstanding partnership with the Torbeck church. 

 St. Paul’s, Manhattan used its weekly Dec. 8 “Saturday Morning at St. Paul’s” gathering as a time to collect homemade cookies for gifts to people living in retirement or nursing homes.  St. Paul’s, Marysville raised more than $1,000 through its participation in the Sept. 14-15 “Great American Treasure Hunt” sponsored by the U.S. Highway 36 Association. The garage sale at the church was one of dozens at locations along the highway. Members from St. Mark’s, Blue Rapids, and Sr. Paul’s, Manhattan, assisted.  St. Michael and All Angels, Mission had a festive St. Nicholas celebration on Dec. 2 for children young and old, including an allparish brunch with an appear-

Newton nurse challenges parish to ‘walk’ to Bethlehem Sandra Herder, the parish nurse at St. Matthew’s, Newton, issued an Advent challenge to her fellow parishioners — to follow in the footsteps of Mary and Joseph by walking the equivalent of the distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem, or 97 miles, before Christmas. She said she did it as a fun way to spur people to increase their activity during the winter, when folks tend to be more sedentary. Herder said she picked walking because it’s mentioned so often in the Bible (247 times, she said), and because it’s good for us. “Our bodies were made for walking,” she said, noting that one’s organs and joints work better when we are walking erect and not “sitting in a chair or lying on a couch.” Herder, who works as a nurse practitioner for a local cardiologist, outlined the “Walk to Bethlehem” challenge in the parish newsletter and said the first week only netted six walkers and eight miles. She hoped that the effort would pick up momentum during the remaining weeks of Advent.

“With anything new it takes time for things to get up and running,” she said. She noted that activity other than walking also qualifies for the challenge. An online conversion chart allows her to calculate mileage equivalencies for everything from basketball to armchair aerobics. She’s logging the progress on a church bulletin board, moving a cut-out donkey along a path on a map of Israel each week. Whether they make it all the way to Bethlehem or not, Herder said she’d like to propose an even more ambitious goal for Lent next year —– a “walk” from Newton to Jerusalem. Herder said her daily work with heart patients has shown her the benefits of regular exercise. Beyond that, her faith gives her an added reason to promote it. “Health is a stewardship issue,” she said. “You need to take care of yourself so you can do the work God has called you to do.” Age should be no barrier, either. “You are never too old to be healthy,” she said. — Melodie Woerman 

ance by the saint, along with a late afternoon service of Lessons and Carols. Those attending were asked to bring gifts for Christmas families being adopted.  St. Matthew’s, Newton asked members to sign special Christmas cards early in December that then were mailed to members of the Armed Forces connected to the parish, as well as to those who can’t regularly attend church.  St. Aidan’s, Olathe collected items and money to support the holiday store operated by SAFE Home, an agency that supports women suffering from domestic violence. The store allows women to shop for themselves and loved ones, free of charge.  Grace, Ottawa welcomed members of the diocesan Episcopal Church Women board to the church for their November meeting, with lunch provided by board member and parishioner Barbara Robrahn.  St. Thomas, Overland Park keeps parishioners up-to-date with frequent announcements and e-newsletters regarding the extensive remodeling construction taking place at the church, which includes a new parking lot and an expanded kitchen and parish hall area.  St. John’s, Parsons marked the start of Advent by placing biblical symbols on its Jesse Tree on Dec. 2.  St. Peter’s, Pittsburg has

 St. David’s, Topeka made plans for the return in January of its “Dinners for Seven or Eight” groups, in which parishioners gather in groups for three months to share a meal and get to know each other better. This is the 15th year for the gatherings.  St. Luke’s, Wamego offered its annual “Cookies by the Pound” sale Dec. 1 in the Guild Hall. The event also showcased several local home-based businesses and their items for sale. Proceeds benefit scholarships for youth to attend summer church camp.  St. Jude’s, Wellington again participated in the city’s annual Halloween event by handing out candy to trick-or-treaters throughout the downtown area, with their supply lasting until five minutes before the event ended.  Good Shepherd, Wichita planned a year-end special volunteer appreciation dinner on Dec. 28 to say thank-you to anyone who had served in the church during 2012, from teaching Sunday school to being on a committee.  St. Bartholomew’s, Wichita offered a potluck Thanksgiving dinner for parishioners on Nov. 18 after church, which also featured collection of pledge cards.  St. James’, Wichita asked parishioners to adopt for Christmas the 23 children in its after-school program. Since the program centers on fine arts enrichment, art supplies were requested to foster creativity by the students at home.  St. John’s, Wichita member Charles Lloyd offered his services as a pilot to benefit the church and provide some Christmas cheer. He offered eight twilight flights over the city to view Christmas lights during December in a small private plane, with proceeds going to parish needs. 


November/December 2012 • The Harvest • 9

People

Canon Craig Loya selected for structure task force By Melodie Woerman Editor, The Harvest

of Public Affairs said the task force’s 24 members include 10 lay people, four bishops, nine priests and one deacon. Three members are under age 30, eight are in their 30s, five are in their 40s, four are in their 50s, and four are age 60 and older. Nine are people of color. Resolution C095 said that the membership of the task force “shall reflect the diversity of the Church, and shall include some persons with critical distance from the Church’s institutional leadership.”

The Rev. Craig Loya, Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, has been named one of 24 members of a special task force established by this summer’s General Convention to recommend changes to the structure, governance and administration of the Episcopal Church. He was selected from more than 500 applicants and is the only person from Kansas picked. Time for reinvention His appointment to what is ofLoya said that the church ficially called the Task Force for throughout its history “has been Church Structural Reform was called to reimagine and reinvent made in a joint statement by Preitself in both larger and smaller siding Bishop Katharine Jefferts ways,” and that this is another Schori and the Rev. Gay Jennings, The Rev. Craig Loya such time. president of the House of Deputies. He said, “The Holy Spirit is constantly moving They later asked Loya to be one of two people to organize the group’s first meeting as a co-convenor. to renew the face of the church and draw all people Loya said of his selection, “I am honored to be to Christ. Our job as the church is to figure out how part of such an outstanding group and to be involved we can best stay out of that Spirit’s way and get behind what God is up to in the world. The task with such an exciting project.” force’s project in this moment is just one more way of doing this work that we are always called to, and Plan due by summer 2015 General Convention resolution C095, which cre- that Episcopalians in Kansas do every day.” ated the task force, charges the group with presenting a plan to the next General Convention in 2015 “for Leaders ask for prayers Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said,“We are reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and delighted at the collection of gifts that have been administration.” It also says the task force must conduct a special offered for this work, and overjoyed at the constelgathering with representation from every diocese lation assembled in this task force.” “Please join us in praying for the members of the in preparation of its final report, which is due by task force as they begin their work,” said President November 2014. The date and location of the special meeting will Jennings. “The Episcopal Church must restructure faithfully and thoughtfully to bring us closer to the be determined later. A news release from the Episcopal Church Office heart of God and those we are called to serve. ” 

Mission rector is bishop nominee in Southwestern Virginia The Rev. Gail Greenwell, rector of St. Michael and All Angels in Mission, is one of four nominees for election as bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. Nominations were announced on Dec. 4, and the election is slated for March 9, 2013, at St. John’s, Roanoke, Va. In information about each nominee posted on the diocesan website, Greenwell wrote, “Unlike some of my brethren who have always known they wanted to be The Rev. Gail Greenwell bishop, I did not feel compelled to seek the episcopacy. Then I read your ministry profile and met the good people of your Diocese.” She also wrote, “There is no perfect human vessel to serve as your bishop but I believe I am equipped with the love, patience, passion, and faithfulness to serve in a way in which I can be a resource for you to accomplish where God is calling you to go, as well as in a ministry that will be spiritually engaging for me.” Other nominees are priests currently serving in Louisville, Ky., and Asheville, N.C., as well as a bishop in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. The process calls for any nominations by petition to be submitted by Dec. 18. The ordination of the sixth bishop of the diocese is scheduled for July 20. The next bishop will succeed Bishop Neff Powell, who has served the diocese since 1996. The diocesan headquarters is in Roanoke. Greenwell has been rector of St. Michael’s, the largest parish in the diocese, since 2008. 

Ordination of three priests and one deacon set for Jan. 5 in Topeka Bishop Dean Wolfe will ordain three priests and one deacon at a diocesan service set for Saturday, Jan. 5 at 10:30 a.m. at Grace Cathedral, Topeka. Those to be ordained priest are:  The Rev. David Jenkins, who currently serves at Church of the Covenant in Junction City and will become priest in charge upon his ordination. He previously was a member of St. David’s, Topeka.  The Rev. David Lynch, curate at St. James’, Wichita. He previously was a member of St. Michael and All Angels, Mission.  The Rev Adrianna Shaw, who is serving in a parish in the Diocese of Texas. She was a member of St. Paul’s, Leavenworth. The deacon-to-be is Lavonne Seifert, a member of St. Michael and All Angels, who returned to Kansas after studying at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. She is serving as an intern at St. Aidan’s, Olathe, while taking additional coursework at the Kansas School for Ministry. A reception will follow the service. Because this is one of two diocesan ordination services conducted each year, Bishop Wolfe has said he expects all active clergy in the diocese to be present for the service and vested (red stoles) and walk in the procession. Attendance is optional but appreciated for retired clergy. 

Clergy news Photo by Brad Goebel

Francis “Beau” Minx, the husband of Deacon Patty Minx, who serves at St. Paul’s, Kansas City, died on Monday, Dec. 3 at his home in Olathe. He was 92. A funeral celebrating his life took place on Dec. 6 at St. Luke’s, Shawnee.

The Rev. Richard McCandless (left) and Bishop Dean Wolfe pause after a service celebrating McCandless’s 50th anniversary as a priest, on Dec. 8 at Trinity, El Dorado, where he previously had been rector. Another celebratory service, at St. John’s, Parsons, where he also had been rector, took place Dec. 15. McCandless was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 21, 1962. 

Margaret Montgomery, mother of Cate Zimmermann, wife of the Rev. Matt Zimmermann, rector of St. Margaret’s, Lawrence, died in Kansas City on Dec. 11. 

McCandless celebrates 50 years as priest


10 • The Harvest • November/December 2012

National and international news Anglican news briefs Episcopal News Service Church of England says ‘no’ to women bishops. The Church of England on Nov. 20 rejected legislation that would have enabled women to become bishops. The legislation required a two-thirds majority in all three houses of laity, clergy and bishops at General Synod, the church’s main governing body meeting at Church House in Westminster. The measure passed the houses of bishops and clergy, but failed in the House of Laity by six votes. Speaking after the vote, Bishop Graham James of Norwich noted that 42 out of 44 dioceses approved the legislation and more than three quarters of members of diocesan synods voted in favor. It was unclear what efforts could be made to bring the issue up again. Michael Barlowe named General Convention executive officer. The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe has been named Executive Officer of General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The appointment was made by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. Barlowe currently is the Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of California. His duties will include coordinating the work of the committees, commissions, agencies and boards that are funded by General Convention; and supervising the General Convention office staff, located at the Church Center in New York City. Swaziland’s Ellinah Wamukoya becomes Africa’s first female bishop. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa on Nov. 17 ordained the first female Anglican bishop on the continent. The Rev. Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, 61, became the bishop of Swaziland and the first female bishop in any of the 12 Anglican provinces in Africa during a ceremony at the Mavuso Trade Centre in Manzini, Swaziland. Her ordination comes as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa — which also includes Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Lesotho — commemorates 20 years since beginning to ordain women to the priesthood. Lawrence is removed as bishop of South Carolina. Mark Lawrence, who led some of the members of the Diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church, has said he remains the bishop of the diocese, and called Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s Dec. 5 decision to accept his renunciation of orders as “superfluous.” In a letter posted on the diocese’s website after the presiding bishop’s announcement, Lawrence wrote, “Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ — But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church, We took this action long before today’s attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous.” The presiding bishop said she accepted Lawrence’s renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church as made in his public address on Nov. 17, which released him from his orders in the Episcopal Church. Architect for Port-au-Prince cathedral announced. The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti have announced the selection of Kerns Group Architects, P.C., of Arlington, Va., as architect of the new Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The cathedral was one of many buildings destroyed in a massive earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, which killed more than 300,000 people. The new worship space will be larger than the previous cathedral and will incorporate the three surviving, world-renowned, painted murals, of the original 14 that adorned the interior of the destroyed cathedral. The structure will comply with international seismic and hurricane building code standards and will be able to serve as a place of refuge in the event of future emergencies. Zimbabwe Anglicans celebrate return to their cathedral. Thousands of worshippers took part in an historic thanksgiving service in Harare Dec. 17 to celebrate the return of St. Mary and All Saints Cathedral and other properties to the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and Zimbabwe Anglicans. The service followed the CPCA’s recent victory in a long-running legal battle with excommunicated former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, who broke away from the CPCA in 2007 to form his own church. Kunonga and his supporters seized cars, churches, orphanages and other properties belonging to the CPCA, claiming they belonged to him. Recently Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court ruled that he should return all the properties to the Diocese of Harare. 

Photo by Lynn Casaleggio/St. Elisabeth’s

The battered Fellowship Hall of St. Elisabeth’s Chapel-by-the-Sea in Ortley Beach, N.J., (right) was elevated 42 inches above ground when it was built. Three feet of sand is now piled up underneath it and covers the remains of the chapel in the foreground.

‘Washed out to sea,’ but New Jersey chapel survives Episcopal News Service St. Elisabeth’s Chapel-by-theSea in Ortley Beach, N.J., was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy as it blew through on Oct. 29, leaving little behind other than some battered brass vases, candlesticks and collection plates; some sodden prayer books and hymnals; part of a sign honoring contributors to the chapel; the back of a pew with a Bible still secure in the rack; the water-stained register of services and, perhaps, the bishop’s chair. When Dennis Bellars, who has been the chapel’s senior warden for 16 years, and others finally gained access to the area a month after the hurricane, “we saw just rubble where the church once was,” he said. And even that had been covered with sand from the nearby beach. The Fellowship Hall, built in 2009, is still standing, but its structural integrity is in question. Built on 42-inch pilings but now with barely any daylight between the sand and the underside of the hall, the building took on about 15 inches of water, Bellars estimates. That means Sandy drove at least five feet of water against it and the chapel. Offering a few bright spots, ever since the storm, people have e-mailed and called Bellars to tell him they have found a few things they think belong to St. Elisabeth’s; they now are the only things that remain from inside the structure. Bellars thinks there’s more to be found, especially on the site, which he estimates is now covered by three feet of sand. He’s had offers from a group of Boy Scouts in Tennessee to come and methodically dig through that sand whenever the congregation is ready. Bellars is eager to have that happen. “I think the bell is down there,” he said.

Photo by Kathy Watson/St. Elisabeth’s

St. Elisabeth’s Chapel-by-the-Sea in Ortley Beach, N.J., as it looked before Hurricane Sandy destroyed the chapel (left) and damaged the Fellowship Hall.

Information on the diocesan response to Hurricane Sandy is on page 2 of this issue. Capricious nature Inside the Fellowship Hall, Sandy was capricious. The storm knocked over the refrigerator and the piano. It destroyed one of two filing cabinets into which Bellars had recently organized documents related to the chapel’s history. The other “floated from the back of the hall to the front of the hall on its side,” he said. Yet, in one corner, tables filled with items for a Christmas celebration were “just the way it was left; the gifts were there, the table cloths were there,” according to Bellars. Bellars and his fellow leaders of the 127-year-old congregation have already begun to write “our need list, our want list and our wish list for our next building.” That work began during the month before church members could actually visit the spot from which St. Elisabeth’s was “washed out to sea.” He said, “we want to reopen our doors as soon as possible.”

While St. Elisabeth’s is the only church that is a complete loss, other churches along the shore in the Diocese of New Jersey also suffered damage. All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Bay Head, which sits three blocks from the ocean and a block from the tidal Scow Ditch, suffered an estimated $4 million in damage to the church and rectory, according to its rector, the Rev. Neil Turton. “It got hammered on both sides by the ocean and the bay,” Turton said in late November. “But the bay did more damage through all the mud and muck and slime. The foundations literally collapsed.” He said the rectory was severely damaged and may have to be razed. The All Saints’ congregation is now worshipping at 12:15 p.m. on Sundays at St. Mary’s by the Sea Episcopal Church in Point Pleasant Beach, about two miles to the north. “We, hopefully, will be celebrating at All Saints’ again at All Saintstide 2013,” Turton said. 


November/December 2012 • The Harvest • 11

Church keeps Sandy Hook victims in thoughts, prayers Ben Wheeler, 6, of Trinity Episcopal Church, Newtown, was among those killed Episcopal News Service Thoughts, prayers and expressions of sorrow flowed in from Episcopalians across the United States and from Episcopal Church partners in the worldwide Anglican Communion in response to the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. On Dec. 14 a gunman forced his way into the school, killing 26 people, 20 of them first-grade students, including Ben Wheeler, whose family attends Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown. In a Dec. 15 statement posted on the Diocese of Connecticut’s website, the bishops specifically asked for prayers for Ben and his family. Besides Trinity, a second Episcopal church, St. John’s in Sandy Hook, sits adjacent to the elementary school. No one at St. John’s lost loved ones in the tragedy, the statement said. Bishop Ian Douglas, Bishop Laura Ahrens and Bishop James Curry of the Connecticut diocese spent Dec. 15 at Trinity. The Rev. Kathie Adams-Shepherd, Trinity’s rector, read the 23rd Psalm at an interfaith service attended by President Barack Obama Sunday evening at Newtown High School. Trinity’s music minister, Fiona Smith Sutherland, coordinated the music for the Dec. 16 service.

Photos by Donna Morrissey/American Red Cross, via Flickr

Wooden angel figures are seen placed in a wooded area beside a road near the Sandy Hook Elementary School to honor the victims of the shooting at the school in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.

obligation to stand for and with the victims of gun violence and to work to end it. We have tolerated school shootings, mall shootings, theater shootings, sniper shootings, workplace shootings, temple and church shootings, urban neighborhood shootings, for far too long…” Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde joined Hall on Dec. 14 in calling on national leaders to enact more effective gun control measures.

New York bishops respond

Prayers across the Communion Thoughts and prayers have come in from across the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, with Bishop Robert Gillies of Aberdeen and Orkney in the Scottish Episcopal Church writing a special collect for the Diocese of Connecticut. The diocese has created a disaster response page as well as liturgical and musical resources in response to the massacre. In her sermon Dec. 16 at Church of the Resurrection in Lexington, Ky., Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori urged those present to find something to rejoice about. “Even in the face of the pain around us, we are here to discover joy — today and every day,” she said. But later, she directly addressed gun violence. “Given what happened in Connecticut on Friday, is there a place for a precise, even surgical, strike against gun violence?” she asked. “When nearly 3,000 young people in this country die every year from guns, wise heads must get to work and find a creative and life-giving response,” she said.

Connecticut bishop writes Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas wrote about the aftermath in a piece originally published by Huffington Post and posted to Episcopal News Service. “Pulling into the filling station on my way to Newtown in the early afternoon last Friday, the woman at the gas pump next to me asked: ‘How do we make sense of all of this?’ “My response to the young mother’s question was that there was no way we could make sense of what had happened. No explanation or rationale could assuage our shock, pain and grief. As a religious leader, I knew that my job was not to try and

Mourners place flowers at a spontaneous memorial to the shooting victims.

make sense of what had happened. Rather my job was to be there, simply be there, with those who had lost loved ones in the terrible rampage. “The second question everyone seems to be asking me as a religious leader is: ‘How could God let this happen?’ For me, God is not some distant puppeteer controlling the strings of our lives and actions. No, God is a loving creator who continually offers us the gift of life and love. Our creator God is always with us, accompanying us in the joys and the sorrows of our daily lives. “And this God who is with us, the Christchild, is not a God insulated from the hurt and pain of the world. No, Emmanuel is a God who knows suffering; who was born to a homeless teenage mom and whose birth was attended by barn animals and marginalized sheep tenders. “This God-with-us and his parents would then become refugees in Egypt to escape the slaughter of other innocent children at the hand of King Herod. And the same God-with-us, Jesus, would die a torturous death upon the cross as a religious and political revolutionary. We Christians, however, hold onto the truth that three days

later Jesus rose from the dead. “When confronted with the question ‘How could God let this happen?’ we can proclaim that God is a God who is with us, who suffers with us, and who embodies the promise and reality of new life in the face of death.”

D.C. dean, bishop echo calls In his Dec. 16 sermon, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, reminded those present that the shooter was human, even as he called for an end to gun violence. “Like it or not, we are bound up with each other in a complex matrix of motivations and actions. To understand is not to excuse. Let’s not apologize for the shooter, but let’s not try to pretend that he’s someone other than us, either. If he was mentally ill, he was also a member of a family, and we know that existing laws make it very difficult for families to control or institutionalize their violent members.” He later said that he’d had enough. “Which leads me to say, on behalf of this faith community at least: Enough is enough. As followers of Jesus, we have the moral

The bishops in the Diocese of New York issued a pastoral letter Dec. 17, calling for “creation of responsible, constitutional measures of reasonable and effective gun control.” “Over and over, we watch the horror, the pain and the grief laid upon the shoulders of people like us in communities like our own, who must then bear that horror and carry that pain as they pick up their lives and find a way to go on. “But this was the second mass shooting in America in three days. It was the 13th in 2012. We, your bishops, believe that it is past time for the United States to commit itself anew to the creation of responsible, constitutional measures of reasonable and effective gun control.” In 2011, the Diocese of Chicago and Bishop Jeffery Lee made combating gun violence a priority in response to an increase in gun-related violence, which affects a high proportion of children. Even before the Dec. 14 massacre, members of the diocese planned to participate in a “Silent Nights” vigil Dec. 17, an opportunity for people of all faiths to work and pray for nights whose silence is unbroken by gunfire and to urge the governor and state legislators to pass gun control laws “I am heartbroken and horrified by the news of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., this morning,” said Lee in a Dec. 14 post on the diocesan website. “People who live in the Diocese of Chicago are achingly familiar with the fear, anxiety and grief that comes from living in an area in which guns are too readily available and too frequently used. Yet even as someone who lives with the shaming reality that we cannot protect our young people from gun violence, I am stunned by the madness that unfolded today in Connecticut.” 


12 • The Harvest • November/December 2012

Reflections on faith and life

Sharing the Good News

The disorienting nature of Christmas By the Rev. Andrew Grosso

January 2013

February 2013

5

Ordinations, Grace Cathedral, Topeka

3

Bishop Wolfe at St. Paul’s, Leavenworth

6

Bishop Wolfe at St. Paul’s, Kansas City

9

Kansas School for Ministry, Bethany Place Conference Center, Topeka (through Feb. 10)

12 Kansas School for Ministry, Bethany Place Conference Center, Topeka (through Jan. 13)

10 Bishop Wolfe at St. Paul’s, Clay Center

13 Bishop Wolfe at Trinity, Atchison

17 Bishop Wolfe at St. Martin’s, Edwardsville

15 Council of Trustees meeting, Bethany Place Conference Center, Topeka

19 Council of Trustees meeting, Bethany Place Conference Center, Topeka

20 Bishop Wolfe at St. Paul’s, Manhattan

24 Bishop Wolfe at St. David’s, Topeka

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The past few weeks have been a little confusing. First we heard about distress among the nations and signs in the sun, moon and stars. Then we heard the proclamation of John the Baptist: “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall be made low.” John kept things lively by reminding us that we should not be presumptuous when it comes to our identity as the people of God. And finally, we heard Mary give thanks to God for the favor he shows to his lowly servants. It’s worth noting that the two greatest Christian feasts are also the most disorienting. The feast of the nativity (Christmas) and the feast of the resurrection (Easter) both present us with events that are so astounding and so mysterious that they ultimately elude our every attempt to understand them. This is one reason, frankly, we find ourselves using platitudes to try and describe the meaning of these events.

It’s easier to get both our heads and our hearts around a hymn like “Away in a Manger” than it is to grapple with what it really means that the Creator of the universe has become incarnate as a human being. But, of course, one of the great gifts of the incarnation is that we don’t have to understand it fully to experience its reality. Indeed, if we feel we adequately understand the mystery of the incarnation of God in Christ through the Spirit, that’s a sure sign we have not yet grasped its true meaning. In this season of celebrating the coming of Emmanuel, let us make room in our lives for the disorienting mystery of the Word made flesh. We may find that by entering into this mystery we’re better able to experience more fully the reality of the gift of “God with us.” The Rev. Andrew Grosso is rector of Trinity, Atchison, and canon theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. This reflection first appeared in the parish’s newsletter. Reprinted by permission. 

Diocesan Calendar

The mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas is to gather, equip and send disciples of Jesus Christ to witness to God’s reconciling love.

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The Harvest, November-December 2012  

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