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Topics TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH Volume 31, Number 5
May 2015 ...............................................
Staff, Vestry, & Officers Rector | The Reverend Brad Mullis Parish Administrator | Sarah Wilkinson Organist/Choirmaster | Sam Holt Preschool Director | Sherry George Senior Warden | Kim Dockery Junior Warden | Rob Hites Parish Life | Tommy Allison Outreach | Layton Getsinger Music & Worship | Jerrie Greene Finance | Nimocks Haigh Communications | James Hogan Young Family Ministry | Amy Lawton Pastoral Care | Carol Leach Newcomers & Evangelism | Bud Martin Youth | Scott Rankin Adult Ed | Chris Shoobridge Vestry Secretary | Susan Cardwell Treasurer | Jim Lawton Assistant Treasurer | Evie Caldwell ...............................................
Trinity Topics is a monthly publication of Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesville, NC. The views and opinions that appear in this publication are not necessarily those of the church, vestry, diocese, or The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.
In This Issue FEATURES
Taking Back Sundays
Liked, Loved & Shared
Even God took a Sabbath. Why we must remember to, too.
From the Editor
Around the Parish
tention around Statesville
Nepali Anglicans Among Earthquake Victims
Tour Stops at Trinity 10 Garden Our Community Garden is attracting at-
17 Anglicans and their pastor reported dead following massive earthquake
Black Lives Matter 12 Cover: Three essays from clergy around the country: A Time to Weep, A Time for Rage A City’s Dream Explodes The Case for Christian Solidarity
© 2015 Trinity Episcopal Church. ...............................................
CONTACT US 801 Henkel Road / PO Box 1103 Statesville, NC 28677-1103 (704) 872-6314 firstname.lastname@example.org
18 Bishop Curry Among Presiding Bishop Nominees
Submissions We welcome your submissions or ideas for articles or photos as well as your comments. Email email@example.com with your input. Back cover: The funeral for Freddie Gray in Baltimore.
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Liked, Loved, & Shared Each month we feature a few quotes, images, and comments shared on our social media channels, plus your letters, comments, and cards. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Appreciation from Mildred Johnson’s Family
The love and kindness all of you showed our mother during good health and during illness will always be remembered and appreciated. She truly appreciated everything you did for her! — The family of Mildred Johnson, via mail From @TrinitySVL’s Instagram Feed... Over the last six months, Trinity’s Instagram feed has grown from fewer than forty “followers” to more than 200. The popular mobile photo-sharing service also provides a fun opportunity to connect with Episcopal parishes across the country and world—and their members as well. Top: Rev. Brad Mullis celebrates Easter Eucharist, marking the end to Lent and renewing our congregation’s call of Alleluia. Bottom: Several Instagram followers snapped pictures of what they were most thankful for and tagged their pictures, creating a public portrait of gratitude.
Food for Thought
in the world, and it can be the worst thing in the world. That which makes us holy can also make us evil. If the ego uses any notion of aul realizes on the religion to "wrap God Damascus Road or around itself" it will be the shortly thereafter source of the ultimate idolathat, in the name of religion, try: God serving us instead he had become a murderer. of us serving God. That is In the name of love he had why, for the rest of his life, become hate. Paul becomes Paul is obsessed with transan image for all generations formation. He has seen sick of religion, showing that re- religion, because he had beligion can be the best thing come sick religion. This is
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possible in every religion and every age if religion does not lead to an authentic God experience. Paul is forever the critic of immature, self-serving religion, and the pioneer of mature and truly life-changing religion. “ The above excerpt comes from Richard Rohr’s “Daily Meditation” blog from 3/31/2015. Tell us what you think via email: email@example.com
FROM THE EDITOR
Racing to Beat the Next Riot
ike many folks across the country, I’ve spent the last week watching Baltimore fall apart as its streets are overrun by angry mobs looking to release. In the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s funeral, Charm City has found itself in a familiar and terrible setting: National Guard troops patrolling the streets, police helicopters’ spotlights strafing across dark streets, smashed patrol cars licked by flames. This time, though, there’s a new theme emerging, one that seems to say these riots are justified, that years of police abuse are too much to ignore and violence is the better answer. Civil disobedience, these protesters are saying, is akin to compliance with an aggressive, malignant oppressor. I don’t want to believe that, though. Riots are meant to take back power, to wield it into something useful. I’m left wondering how the church can help.
This issue presents three articles written by Episcopal clergy from around the country—Texas, New Jersey, and from the Diocese of Maryland. They write about how we got here, how sad this moment feels, and how we ought to stand in solidarity. Each essay is powerful. Black lives matter. We have to say that over and over, not as a catch-phrase or protest chant, but as an affirmation that God made us all in His own image, and within our church we choose to protect life. Black lives matter in Baltimore and Ferguson and North Charleston and New York City and Statesville. We have a chance—before the riots overtake us—to demonstrate that through action. First, though, we have to have the courage to move. —James Hogan, editor ◊
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Around the Parish Lunch For Seniors
here will be an event for Seniors after church on June 7th. The lunch will be catered and the program will be a presentation by Chris and Maggie Shoobridge about their trip to the Amazon in 2014. The cost for the lunch will be $7.00. If you are sure that you can attend, please call the church to let us know. It would be really helpful to have a general idea of how many to plan for. We should also be able to accommodate last minute sign-ups. If there are any questions about this event, please call me(704-8720772). Hope to see many of you there—and remember, we don’t card IDs! All are welcome. —Carol Leach
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Looking Ahead with Adult Ed May 3 and May 10. “Children of Abraham” with a look at the ties among three religious traditions using an audio discussion from an NPR "On Being" broadcast with Bruce Feiler, a journalist and author of several books, including Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths. MAY 17 Rogation... no adult Ed May 24 “A God of Surprises” "There's no question about the reality of evil, of injustice, of suffering, but at the center of this existence is a heart beating with love." South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on how his understanding of God and humanity
has unfolded through the history he's lived and shaped. (A truly inspiring story of faith, forgiveness and human kindness…as South Africa moved away from the dark days of Apartheid… Chris Shoobridge) MAY 31 "ABRAHAM" Since Abraham is such an important figure, it is fitting that we examine more closely Abraham as a model of faith. A discussion based on an Outline from "Thoughtful Christian.. The book forum continues to meet in the Holy Cross Room at 9.15. — Chris Shoobridge
Children’s Chapel Returns
Annual Parish Yard Sale, 6:30—11am
or those of you with young children, Scott and Sarah Kate Rankin will be bringing Children's Chapel back on Sunday May 3 so make plans to be in church for that!! Anyone interested in becoming involved with Children's Chapel can let either me or Ginger Hester know.
Altar Flowers Reminder May 10 Sonny Shelton May 17, Regation Sun. 8:00 service Budds May 24, Penecost Sun. Julia Scotts May31, Trudy Goodman
The Trinity Artist Series presents the MasterSingers
A Time to Bargain
ay 2 from 6:30 to 11:00am is the Trinity Annual Yard Sale. We are in need of volunteers for this event, particularly those with pick up trucks and strong backs to assist in delivering large items to the parish hall on Thursday and Friday afternoons. We also need sorters and pricers for Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday morning. There is a sign up sheet in the Narthex or feel free to contact me directly to volunteer. It would be great to have a strong Young Adult/Families showing for this event! If you have any yard sale items to drop off, the parish hall will be open from 3-7 on Thursday April 30 and Friday May 1. All proceeds raised will benefit the Special Olympics of Iredell County and the Boys and Girls Club of the Piedmont. —Amy Lawton
Family Fun Night, 57pm. Light supper, then depart for show
Rogation Sunday service in Allison Woods
Parish Supper, 5-7pm
SAVE THE DATE! VBS starts July 20, 2015
Rite 13 Ceremony
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REV. BRAD MULLIS
Taking Back Sundays Even God took a Sabbath. Why we must always remember to, too.
he first gospel lessons after Easter recount for us the disciples’ immediate experience of the risen Christ. Later passages during Easter season describe our mystical connection to Christ: “I am the Good Shepherd” (we, the sheep); “I am the vine” (we, the branches). The fifty days of Easter (that’s seven Sundays) culminate with the Feast of Pentecost, when these same disciples receive the Ho-
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ly Spirit in a powerful, transforming way, and immediately begin to proclaim the good news in word and mighty, miraculous deed throughout the known world. Let’s see if we can go somewhere with this. Easter is a gift. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a gift. Our being led by the Shepherd is a gift. The nourishment we branches receive from the vine is gift. Gifts all, grace upon grace. But
let me suggest to you that we need prepared hearts to receive these gifts. This preparation requires hearts set upon God, turned in God’s direction. The disciples in all of these passages oriented themselves to God by gathering in God’s name and reading scripture and breaking bread and praying. Each time the risen Lord was present among them. The Lord appeared to Thomas in Jerusalem, to Clopas and
others in Emmaus, and then again to the eleven in Jerusalem. And at Pentecost, the disciples were gathered once again in an upper room, when the Spirit descended upon them like tongues of flame. Each time the risen Christ appears, it is to a group of prepared hearts. We set our hearts in God’s direction by gathering each Sunday. It’s where we meet God in word and sacrament and are nourished for the next week’s journey. It’s where we share each other’s joys and burdens and become Christ to one another. I’m not going to limit God by saying God does not come to us in our solitude, but the gospel witness is pretty clear about the presence of Christ among the gathered believers. Knowing how busy May is – and to me May has become the new December – I implore you to give priority to Sunday worship. Part of our Sunday time together is the nourishment that comes through Christian Education. Although we are never too old to partici-
pate in Christian Ed, it is a primary avenue for spiritual growth for our children and teenagers. Regular, prompt attendance at Sunday School is important. I want my kids to know that they follow a good shepherd, and that they are connected to Christ. And I think their regular presence in Sunday School is essential to their knowing that. As people turned in God’s direction who have experienced Christ working in their lives, who have been nourished by word and sacrament and Sunday School and Journey to Adulthood, we can go into the world as Pentecost people, accomplishing mighty things in God’s name. As I said last month, we can go Eastering throughout the world. We can speak good news, we can comfort the lonely, we can proclaim justice to the oppressed and the oppressors, and freedom to the captive. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Receive the gifts of God. — Rev. Brad Mullis
THANK YOU for another fantastic season of art and music! 2015-16 Season Tickets and Sponsorships now available. www.trinityartistseries.org
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Statesville Garden Tour to Stop at Trinity A unique opportunity to showcase our work in the community.
ecently we were notified that Trinity’s Community Garden with be a part of the Statesville Appearance Committee’s Garden Tour the first weekend in June. There will be a community garden work day on May 16 beginning at 8:30 A.M. for those who would like to help spruce things up around the area to help Trinity put its best foot forward with the community at large. This is a terrific honor for Trinity and one that will highlight all the hard work by so many in the church and neighborhood to make abundant God’s blessings of the earth and the bounty within. We continue our request for members to bring aluminum cans from home on Sunday mornings (or anytime) and deposit in the blue recycling container across from the Memorial Garden downstairs. The proceeds from the sale of the cans 10 | Topics May 2015
come back to the Trinity Rector’s Discretionary account which extends Trinity’s outreach ministry to those around us. In March we collected 12 pounds of cans bringing us YTD to 65 pounds with a Grand Total (since Sept 2001) of 6,169 The Iredell Christian Ministries (ICM) continues to have an immense need for canned goods of all kinds, paper supplies for the household, housekeeping supplies, personal hygiene supplies, dried beans, pasta, etc. so please make it a habit to pick something up for this community ministry every single time you shop at the grocery store. Your donations can be deposited in the baskets in the narthex at any time. Haydee and Walter Patterson take collections to ICM on the last Sunday of each month. Thanks to everyone for your generosity and loving
kindness to help feed the hungry in our community. As a reminder Trinity’s “House Calls” group is made up of church volunteers who are available to assist infirmed or elderly members of our church that have a need for assistance that is beyond their abilities, i.e. limb and debris removal, small repairs around the house, transportation to the doctor, etc. If you have a need please call either Sarah Wilkerson in the church office or Jim Rhyne. Also the House Calls group meets monthly at a local restaurant for a fellowship breakfast with a follow on workday (usually no more than a couple of hours). If you would be interested in joining the group please send your name and e-mail address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly include you in our numbers. —Layton Getsinger
Nepali Anglicans Among Earthquake Victims Minister and 17 parishioners killed as quake destroys their village
t’s been revealed hundreds of Christians died or were injured as the Nepal earthquake hit their churches, including an Anglican minister and 17 of his parishioners. In Nepal, Sunday is a work day so Christians normally attend church on their day off, which is Saturday. So many were in church when the quake hit on April25. The Rev. Lewis Lew, the dean of Nepal which is under the oversight of the Diocese of Singapore,Church of the Province of South East Asia, has issued a confirmation of a tragic scene in the village of Choke. The village was recently visited by a mission team from Singapore. “It is my deep regret to inform you that we have received confirmation that one of ours, Pastor Laxman Tamang and 17 of his members from Choke Church were called home to be with the Lord on 25 April, Saturday when the quake struck the village of Choke in Dhading district,” Lew said in a prayer letter. “Pastor Laxman pastors a 340-member church. He loved the Lord, and had spent more than half his life in the ministry. Under his leadership Choke Church became part of Anglican Church of Nepal 15 years ago. Part of the reason why the Singapore team went to his village was because his heart was for the salvation of his fellow 11,000 villagers who have not given their lives to Christ.” “(We would) Cherish your prayers for his family, as they cope with their lost. Cherish your prayers
also for the village of Choke, it has been completely destroyed and the people are displaced without medical aid, food, supply and temporary shelter.” the dean said. The quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck the mountain kingdom between the city of Pokhara and the capital Kathmandu. The death toll has risen above 5,200. International Nepal Fellowship Nepal Director Prem Subedi reports “Our team is back from Ghurka and we now have more information about the situation in both Ghurka and Dhading. The need for food and other non-food items is enormous. So here in Pokhara INF is preparing food and non food packages to send out. And our medical team is in standby mode. At the same time we are considering how we might be able to contribute in the long run, using our skills as a health and development organiza-
tion to respond to the more long term situation. Please be praying for our immediate and longer term response, for good information and wisdom in decision making. Pray also that food can reach those who need it most.” The team has also reported on a swine flu outbreak in the area of Jajakot. For more details on Anglican Communion response to the disaster, please consult the Anglican Alliance website— www.anglicanalliance.org — where you can share prayers for Nepal and the region on the Prayer Wall of the Anglican Communion website. Republished with permission from the Episcopal News Network. Originally published April 30, 2015. Image above via wtsp.com.
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What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? —Langston Hughes
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A Time to Weep, and a Time for Rage Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton
eep and pray for Baltimore. Violence never works. Ever. Today we need to mourn. The City of Baltimore in many of its parts is burning. Righteous anger over the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in Baltimore City Police custody and later died, has turned into a destructive anger that is destroying the fabric of many of our communities. Schools and businesses have been closed, and many of its citizens are afraid to go out into its neighborhoods. We are in an official State of Emergency, but we are also in an unofficial State of Despair. Sometimes the most healing thing you can do in a state of despair is to allow yourself the freedom and the dignity to cry. Jesus did. The shortest verse in the New Testament is John 11:35, when our Lord went to the tomb of his good friend Lazarus, the verse says simply, “Jesus wept.” Apparently Jesus did that a lot, weeping not only for human beings, but for whole cities. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37) If our Lord could weep for the city of Jerusalem, then surely we can weep for our beloved city of Baltimore. Today we also need to remember how we came to this point. Of course, all of us in Baltimore and around the world remember Freddie Gray. And we still remember Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the two un-
armed black men killed last year by police officers who were not indicted for their part in their deaths. We remember Trayvon Martin, who died unarmed from gunshot wounds two years ago. Those of us with longer memories recall Amadou Diallo, the young man immortalized in Bruce Springsteen’s haunting “American Skin (41 Shots).” But how many of us have ever heard of Patrick Dorismund, Rekia Boyd, Orlando Barlow, Ousmane Zongo, Timothy Stansbury, Jr., Aaron
Campbell, James Brissette, Ronald Matison, Travares McGill, Shantel Davis, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Jerrod Miller, Victor Steen, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Steven Eugene Washington, Alonzo Ashley, Wendell Allen, Ramarley Graham, Kendra James, Ervin Jefferson, Kendree McDade or Kimani Gray? Who were they? All were shot by police officers or security guards between 2000 and 2013. All were African American men and women, including one child, averaging just 23 years of age, and all were unarmed.
In addition to these, America was also shocked by the shooting deaths of two young African American males, John Crawford (22) and Tamir Rice (12) who were both killed while carrying toy BB guns in Ohio, an “open carry” state, in which the carrying of firearms is legal with or without a license. “According to data stretching from 1999-2011, African Americans have comprised 26 percent of all policeshooting victims. Overall, young African Americans are killed by cops 4 ½ times more often than people of other races and ages.” (quote from the Daily Beast, Nov. 26, 2014) We need to remember these statistics, because each of those black lives mattered – if not to all of us, then at least they mattered to God. Those of us who regularly attend an Episcopal church renew our baptismal vows several times a year. At the renewal, the presider asks this question: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” To which the people respond, “I will, with God’s help.” That’s one of the most difficult vows for all of us to keep in a nation that has struggled with the sin of racism since its inception. We all know, of course, of the tragic situation of black on black violence emanating from the political and economic cages we call “inner-city ghettos” in America. In many of our communities, we have reason to be scared of some of our neighbors. But when the police—the very ones who are supposed to protect you from those predators roaming our streets—
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are themselves the ones who are killing you, then that gives rise to rage. Black and white citizens of good will throughout this nation are outraged that black lives seem to matter less than other lives in our communities. We are enraged that we have to have rallies and hold signs that say, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” The dream of living in a community where justice and peace prevails has been seriously tested here in Baltimore for the last two weeks, and particularly with yesterday’s violence. That dream has been deferred for far too long. Last night, the deferred dream exploded in Baltimore, and it’s going to take a long time to get it back. We need to constantly, diligently and faithfully keep the dream alive, especially for those who cannot see it right now. I want so desperately to say this to all those young people who are wondering whether or not to take to the streets today: “Don’t kindle buildings. Kindle dreams.” In the final analysis that’s why it’s so important that we gather together. We need each other in order to make a difference in our city. Last night I had a long conversation with a reporter who kept asking me this question: “Who is the leader of the black community in Baltimore? Who’s the one whom angry youth listen to?” The reporter couldn’t understand my reticence to answer her question with one short answer. I gave her names of some prominent pastors in the city, of course, but the point I was trying to get across to her is that there is no single person or one church or one religious group or organization that’s going to get the job done of reaching out and capturing the hearts and minds of all toward healing and peace—thank God. I told her of the efforts of hundreds of unsung heroes who are leaders in their own right… …the mother who verbally reprimanded and physically moved her grown up son away from the violence and looting at Mondawmin Mall. …the small business owner who is determined to rebuild her busi-
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ness from the burnt ashes, not only for herself and her family, but to provide jobs in the community. …the unnamed woman who at 5:00 am this morning was sweeping up the litter on North Avenue, which sparked others to do the same thing. …the pastor who chooses to commit himself to serving in an impoverished area to uplift dispirited souls. …the tiny congregation who feeds many times the number of its members so that poor families can have at least one hot, healthy meal that day. …the beleaguered police officer under attack for just trying to do his job of protecting innocent people from looters and rioters, and the firefighter who has a brick thrown at her trying to save somebody’s business and somebody’s home. All unsung, ordinary men and women—and all of them leaders. My brothers and sisters, don’t expect me or anybody else to be the savior of this situation we find ourselves in today. I am not a savior…but I serve a Savior. My Savior is not afraid to weep, not afraid to get angry, not afraid to say and do the right thing because it’s hard, not afraid of anyone or any neighborhood, and not afraid of fear. He is strong to save because he’s strong in love, and my Lord God came down from heaven in human form to show us His children the way. When Jesus said to his disciples, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will rejoice,” he gave us a great gift. Our tears today are going to fuel our tomorrows. Baltimore weeps today, but that’s just a prelude to what we’re going to do tomorrow and every day for the rest of our lives: we are going to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get to the work of striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of EVERY HUMAN BEING. So, weep, pray for and rebuild Baltimore. Violence never works. Ever. Amen. Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton published the above article on the Diocese of Maryland website on April 28.
A City’s Dream Explodes Rev. Sandye A. Wilson
omeone has said that riots are the language of the unheard. In this season of resurrection and hope we are called to prayer, commitment, engagement and discernment as we try to understand what is the God of the streets calling us to be in our communities and in our relationships with our children, with each other, with the police and with our City. The news media have shared many images of the discourteous disobedience (as opposed to civil disobedience of earlier in the weekend), in my hometown of Baltimore, and offered many opinions. But I invite all who read this into the prayer of our baptismal covenant: "To seek and serve Christ in one another, loving our neighbor as we love ourselves; to respect the dignity of every human being and to try to see the face of God in each other." People are sick and tired of being sick and tired, as this war on Black men in our society continues. People are tired of having their appeals for attention to injustice ignored, of blatant disregard of their legitimate concerns. People are tired of the continuous escalating expression of racism all around them. Yes, it's complicated, and these are complex times. Not all black people are violent, not all white people are racist. Most police are not abusive but some are, and there is a disturbing tone that recurs in these times of typecast-
ing and judging. When the unheard feel no one listens, when fear for the future is real, people express themselves in many different ways. We pray for the lives lost, businesses destroyed and dreams deferred. We pray for all who live in fear. We give thanks for the leadership of Baltimore City, for those with enough moral courage to speak truth to power, for law enforcement officials who did show restraint. We are grateful for the men of the community, the ministers and the members of the Nation of Islam who stood together to help bring order to the neighborhoods. We give thanks for allies and all who care about the city where I was born and ALL of its citizens. May the God of peace help us to find peace again. There will be no peace in the world until there is peace in the nation; no peace in the nation until there is peace in the community; no peace in the community until there is peace in the family and no peace in the family until there is peace within each of us. We know that if they come for you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night. Rev. Sandye A. Wilson is the Rector of Andrew and Holy Communion Episcopal Church, NJ
The Case for Christian Solidarity Bishop C. Andrew Doyle
ho are Christians to be in solidarity with? And what does solidarity look like? Hundreds of Baltimore clergy linked arms and took to the streets this week in an effort to restore peace amid the unrest caused by the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, April 19. WBAL reporter Deborah Weiner described the remarkable scene: “These are the church leaders who are putting themselves in harms way to end the violence … they are linked arm-in-arm … one gentleman is in front in a wheelchair.” This was a sign of solidarity for peace and transformation. Weiner continued: “I asked the clergy what they thought of the State of Emergency that the Governor declared. They said there has been a State of Emergency way before tonight in Baltimore City, an emergency in poverty, lack of jobs [and] disenfranchisement from the political process.” In an editorial, The Baltimore Sun called on “the thousands who have al-
ready marched in peaceful solidarity with the Gray family’s cause, and the many thousands more who have silently supported them, to take back the movement, to drown out those few who choose chaos over order.” Gray, a 25-year-old black male, died of spinal cord injuries following his arrest by the Baltimore police department. The city was already in the process of dealing with broken relationships between police and the community in the shadow of allegations of police brutality for years. Violence and looting is wrong and unacceptable in any situation, even as a reply to injustice. But let’s acknowledge that this is not an isolated event. Let’s acknowledge that this riot, this curfew is about more than one confrontation between police and one man. This event is about more than what happened in Baltimore. This event is more than violent anarchists using a situation.
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Too often we tend to be cause -and-effect thinkers when it comes to issues of race and violence. Baltimore Councilman Nick Mosby suggested that racial and societal healing can only happen when we stop narrowly focusing on the latest victim and begin to think more deeply about the way we continue to avoid the hard work of what it means to be a civil society that benefits its people. I was moved deeply by Mosby's belief that the violence experienced in Baltimore this week is not primarily about Gray’s death, but rather the fruit of decades of growing anger and frustration over a system that has failed the city’s largely black,
Church’s response? How do we understand our vocation to strive for justice and to respect the dignity of every human being? How do I understand the gifts I have been afforded and the opportunities I have been given, knowing the reality for many others is not the same? I have to pause before speaking and ponder my place in this conversation. I must address squarely the racism that has benefited me. I must not be afraid to own my opportunities, safety nets and benefits. I can choose to get angry and reject this reality by being defensive. I can chose to ignore it. But what happens if I, as a Christian (Episcopalian and Anglican), chose to
urban population. The violence and looting are symptoms of much deeper, and systemic issues that leave privileged groups in power and other folk perpetually at a disadvantage. The social determinants of violence are clear. Violence is linked intimately to a lack of education and economic opportunity. We would be naïve to think that society affords all of us the same opportunities. For some people— perhaps even most people—options seem perpetually limited. Some people take one step forward only to find the systems they must deal with day in and day out push them two steps back. This creates a deep sense of anger and frustration, which breeds violence. The question then becomes— at least for me as bishop—what is the
live into my baptismal covenant? First, we must refuse to cast blame, which is an instinctive response to feel more comfortable. Brené Brown defines blame as the discharging of emotional discomfort. By casting blame, we distance ourselves from responsibility and we wrongly assume that nothing we do helped to create the unfair systems. It is what St. Paul called “the powers and principalities” that breed violence, division and a consistent gap in opportunity between whites and non-whites. If we are blaming someone else for the violence and racism in our world, we are part of the problem, for in blaming we fail to see our deep interconnectedness as human beings and how our behavior and thinking
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always creates the behavior and thinking of everyone else. Second, we must work for political change without naively assuming that political change will bring deep healing. We cannot ignore the fact that some policies leave certain groups of people at a perpetual disadvantage. We must be thoughtful about working to bring change to the political arena in a way that does not cast blame or settle for quick-fixes. Third, we must engage society faithfully around these issues. As James Davison Hunter notes, the Church’s chief task is to be a “faithful presence” in society. Jesus just called it being salt and light. Perhaps this means mentoring a child at an underprivileged school or getting involved in an organization that helps create jobs. But if our presence is to be effective, it will entail personal sacrifice. Perhaps what is so appealing about blaming others and advocating for political solutions doesn’t require us to actually get bruised and bloodied as we work for transformation and change. The way of Jesus is the way of the cross, with bruises and blood. The measure of our faithfulness as the Body of Christ is never whether we inflict bruises (on whoever we are convinced is to blame) but whether or not we love people enough to receive bruises. Think about it. Jesus’ commitment to the truth didn’t lead to someone else’s death, but rather to his own. The question then is how are we supposed to die, be uncomfortable, let go of past behaviors so that others might have life and have it abundantly? The mere existence of racism or another’s impoverishment calls us to personal transformation. Fourth, we must be realistic about the deeper problems that persistently create violence, which is not a lack of education or economic opportunity alone. These are symptoms of the much deeper problem: sin. Sin is what allows me to believe that unity is rooted in skin color and not grace. Sin allows me to think that I am entitled to what I have because I have worked
hard. Sin allows me to think that I exist apart from you and that there is such a thing as a “pure victim” apart from Jesus Christ. As Bishop I am mindful of how deeply sin dwells, not just in society, but in my own heart. But I am also confident and hopeful because I know the power of God’s reconciliation, which for me is not some lofty idea but a theological truth. From a Biblical perspective, it is not so much that we need to be reconciled with one another, as it is that we are reconciled already— with God and with each other—as an act of sheer grace. God has chosen solidarity with us, so then with whom shall we show solidarity? As Christians, we do not need to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. We just need to wake up to the great theological truth that in Jesus Christ God’s Kingdom is already here. It is a Kingdom that celebrates diversity of every kind. People from “every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” are part of God’s Kingdom (Rev 7:9). It is a Kingdom where Freddie Gray and the Baltimore police department already stand together reconciled under the foot of the cross, and where violence gives way to economic opportunity for all as “swords are beat into ploughshares” (Isaiah 2:4). Our vocation as Christians is simple. We are to make real social change happen and to be a sign that points to God’s all-inclusive Kingdom where all people have access to education, health, relationships and meaningful work. This will in-turn repair the unjust structures within society. But let us not forget that real and lasting growth begins at the root. Transformation happens when we (as individuals) work on the sin that is in us and seek to live differently. Transformation happens when we see ourselves as members of the one, reconciled human family and begin working to repair the unjust structures within our own heart. So let us chose solidarity with Freddy Gray because black lives matter. Let us chose solidarity with our black brothers and sisters because of our past and our potential future. Let us chose solidarity with the people of Baltimore who seek to be a better city tomorrow. I also stand in solidarity with God and I will show this solidarity by working for the greater good because life—every life—matters, and how we live matters, long before the living is done. Bishop Andy Doyle is the Ninth Bishop of Texas.
FOR THE RECORD
March Vestry Minutes Members present were Scott Rankin, James Hogan, Rob Hites, Nimocks Haigh, Carol Leach, Jerrie Greene, Kim Dockery, Chris Shoobridge, Amy Lawton, Layton Getsinger; Brad Mullis, Rector and Susan Cardwell, Clerk. The meeting opened with prayer. The May meeting was moved to Monday, May 18, due to Rogation at Allison’s Wood on May 17. Finance The finances are still doing well overall. The plate offering is down slightly. Rector’s Report Lent activities went well. Holy Week and Easter went well, also. Adult Inquirer’s Class begins Monday, April 20. It will run through June 8. A few more classes will be held in the fall ahead of Bishop HodgesCopple’s visit on Oct.4. Pastoral Care A Senior’s Lunch is scheduled for Sunday, June 7, in the Parish Hall. It will be catered at a cost of approximately $7 per person. Chris and Maggie Shoobridge will talk about their trip to the Amazon. Worship and Music Tammy Neely has agreed to chair the Flower Guild. There will be a meeting the first week in May. Jerrie is currently taking inventory of the Prayer Books. She will come to the vestry with a proposal to purchase new books to replace some of the most worn. Preschool, Young Families The Preschool will be adding a 1 year old class in the fall. They have added to teachers. Thirtynine are enrolled for the fall thus
far. It is expected to fill up. There is a $5 tuition increase. The Young Adults are looking for a date for Family Fun Night. Outreach The yard sale is May 2. All donations are welcome. People are needed to work. Rob Hites made a motion, seconded by Layton Getsinger to declare the old copier as surplus and sell it. The proceeds will be given to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund. The motion passed. Junior Warden Rob made a motion to hire JaniKing as the new janitorial service at $695/month for one year beginning as soon as possible. Kim Dockery seconded the motion. The motion passed. Senior Warden Kim thanked everyone involved with the Morning Prayers held at different places during Lent. She also thanked the Lenten Group hosts. The May 21 Go, Speak event will be postponed due to scheduling constraints with current Parish activities. Communications The March Topics was the longest read online. People spent an average of 8 minutes versus 6 minutes on previous months. He recommends printing 20 color copies of the Topics to hand to visitors. June and July Topics will be combined into one issue. The website is picking up traffic. The meeting closed with prayer. —Susan Cardwell
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Taylor Steps Down
iocese of Western North Carolina Bishop G. Porter Taylor recently announced the he will resign at the end of September 2016. Taylor, 65, was consecrated as the sixth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina on Sept. 18, 2004. “After much prayer and deep conversations, it has become clear to me that God is calling me to something else,” Bishop Taylor said in a letter to the diocese published in March. “In 2016 I will be 66 and am convinced that this is the time for me and the diocese to begin a new chapter. I have consulted with the Standing Committee. They are prepared to move the nomination/ election process forward appropriately.”
The timetable for naming Taylor’s replacement is unclear.
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Bishop Curry One of Four Nominees for Presiding Bishop Elections occur at this summer’s General Convention
he Rt. Reverend Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, is one of four nominees for election as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The nominations were released Friday, May 1—barely in time for this publication. “I pray for a Church passionately committed to making disciples who follow in the way of Jesus of Nazareth in the Episcopal tradition and who in so doing participate in the realization of the dream of God for this world. A church like that will really be a house of prayer for all people,” Curry wrote in his official nomination statement, published on the General Convention’s website. “That church will proclaim the word of God with power, evangelize as much by listening as by sharing, embody hospitality with authenticity, serve, witness and prophecy deliverance in our local and global societies.” Bishop Curry was named to his North Carolina post in 2000; prior to that, he was rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Balti-
more. He has also served as rector at St. Simon of Cyrene in Lincoln Heights, OH and St. Stephen’s Episcopal, Winston-Salem, NC. A powerful force and persistent voice for the Episcopal Church within our state, Curry, a Chicago native, received his bachelor’s degree at Hobart and William Smith College. He graduated with his masters of divinity from Yale, and has received honorary degrees from Sewanee, the Berkeley Divinity School, and Virginia Theological Seminary. Curry was the first African American bishop to lead a southern diocese. Curry’s last visit to Trinity Episcopal came last fall, when he was on hand for our annual Rally Day festivities. The other three nominees include the Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal (Southern OH), the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas (CT), and the Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith (Southwest FL). Their biographies are available at generalconvention.org.
Milestones BIRTHDAYS 5/1 5/4 5/8 5/9 5/10 5/15 5/16 5/17
5/19 5/23 5/24
Kenny Sargent David Landry Jay Lytsell Megan Davis Danette Watson Joy Allison Charles Davis, Jr. Trudy Goodman Keith Crouch RaeMarie Clark Ava Harwell Margaret Johnson Ansley Tsumas Martha Neely Derek Wilson Aston Johnson Jackie Warren Joe Abbott Locke Allison Sarah Borders Will Fanjoy Rob Hites
5/27 5/29 5/30
Susan Long Jim Vacca Paul Tsumas Nora Davis Bill Balatow Carter Payne Julia Scott
BIRTHS Phillip Arthur Quarantiello was born April 19, 2015. He is the son of Susan Long and Dino Quarantiello and grandson of Joann and Art Schinaman.
5/4 5/18 5/22 5/27
Clay & Susan Crouch Ray & Leslie Lackey Andy & Cindy Booker Elliott & Heather Harwell Kirk & Amy Lawton
FOR THE RECORD
Financial Update It's still too early to see any real trends but, in general, finances are favorable against the Budget. With strong prepayments we have a surplus of revenue over expense of $26,790. However, we note that plate and pledge collections are both a little behind last year. Thanks to all for a pretty good first quarter and for continuing to keep up with your pledges. Also, remember the open collection plate is for everyone all the time! —Nimocks Haigh
Share your milestones with the church office or by emailing email@example.com
Daily Devotion In addition to our Facebook “page” (facebook.com/trinitysvl), our parish also has a Facebook group called Trinity Talks (find it at facebook.com/groups/trinitysvl). The group offers the chance for parishioners to post things they like—and it’s also been the spot for a brief daily devotional offered by Rev. Brad. The devotions appear most mornings around nine or ten, and they focus in on lectionary readings. Be sure to tune in if you’re looking for a short break from the regular social media turmoil—and offer your comments and thoughts in turn!
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P.O. Box 1103 Statesville, NC 28687 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
20 | Topics May 2015
The issue of police brutality--and civil unrest--emerges again in Baltimore. In this edition, three essays touch on the rage of a dream expl...
Published on May 1, 2015
The issue of police brutality--and civil unrest--emerges again in Baltimore. In this edition, three essays touch on the rage of a dream expl...