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OCTOBER 2018
 
Dear Ones,

I have been spending more time than is typical for me contemplating our identity as members of The Episcopal Church. I have been preparing to offer a class to help any interested grow in understanding of the blessings and challenge of our identity. It would also be suitable preparation for being Confirmed, Received, or Renewing of Baptismal Vows when Bishop Gibbs makes his final visit as our bishop to St Clare’s on Sunday Dec 9th. I thought of publishing my bibliography of all the books written to help folks with this, let me know if this is of general interest. It took me some time to land on the book I have never used before.

I want St Clare’s leadership to be able to respond substantively to desires and concerns expressed in our problem-solving sessions early this year about how our church can, should, must, or may function, so that, as one participant put it, "everyone could get on the same page." I had a moment of realization that where this question is more how than why, more functional than theological, it would be better to have presentations and discussions led by lay leaders who have functioned in roles that give them particular expertise in different areas. After meeting with wise souls with first hand experience in our national, diocesan, parish, and Genesis relationships, we have come up with a plan in progress for two different learning opportunities.

First, my Happy Effective Anglicans Class will focus on theological and spiritual identity, using the book by the most influential Anglican parish clergyperson in the world today, Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin in the Fields, London, and former Dean of the Duke Chapel. It’s an easily read book called What Anglicans Believe. We will meet on the most popular time indicated by those interested who participate in the class time doodle poll that can be accessed here for seven sessions.

Second, starting in October we will have a monthly Sunday catered luncheon series of presentations and discussion and q & a on a series of topics that may be sources of interest or help to be our best. We want to invite in folks with particular expertise in some areas from outside our parish, so we will announce dates and topics as we are able to book them. We will start at some point in October with General Convention & The Role of the National Church. We will in later sessions look at what is a diocese and how does it affect a parish, the role of the bishop, the organization of a parish, St Clare’s as a parish, The Genesis Partnership, and Trends in the Episcopal Church & Disciplinary Matters.

In our own parish we have parishioners who have served on Diocesan Standing Committees, as Deputies to General Convention, and as diocesan delegates, and many who worked to renew the Genesis Partnership to make it what it is today. We can learn together and discuss how things work best, and we may in the process become wiser and find encouragement in our shared mission as a congregation.

I hope it sparks many good conversations.

In Christ’s love,

James
NEWS & EVENTS
A BLESSING FOR PETS
October 4 is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. Please plan to bring your pet for a blessing in the courtyard that day, at 4 p.m. (Rain date is Friday, October 5, at 4 p.m.) If you cannot attend, you might use the prayer below at home.
Creator God,
We praise you for giving us the animals, birds and fish which fill our world.
The beauty and splendor of them all remind us of your majestic handiwork.
May we think of and thank you when we play with and care for our animals/pets.
As you love and care for us, let us love and care for all animals.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Amen.
FORUM WITH THE VESTRY: On Sunday, October 7, you're invited to a forum with the vestry. There will be two sessions: at 8:30 a.m. in the Adult Lounge, and at noon in the Sanctuary. Join us to hear updates and ask questions.
HEROES FOR HIATHAM GOLF OUTING: Come support Hiatham's family fundraiser for their terminally sick son with Lafora body disease. Proceeds will be used for medical costs. Lafora body disease is a terminal form of epilepsy that is extremely rare. Only 200 people in the world have it. Hiatham is the only one in Michigan with this disease and will be the first child to hopefully receive a clinical trial aimed at curing.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on October 20, 2018
Marriott Golf Course
1275 S. Huron, Ypsilanti

Tickets are $150 per person for golfing and a lunch banquet. Prizes will be awarded.

RSVP to azezabreadiy@icloud.com.

GENESIS GROUNDS CLEAN UP: What better way to celebrate life and the Genesis partnership than to tend our campus grounds and garden plots among which our building nestle. Now is a great time to get involved. We’re just getting re-organized after Penny Griffith, our storied Genesis Grounds Leader, stepped down earlier this year. She is missed.

I am a new, but enthusiastic gardener, and look forward to learning from the dedicated core of Adopt-a-Plot Masters who create the beauty and serenity of our many garden nooks. We salute their work which is a testament to the spirit of this place.

Fall cleanup will be Sunday, October 21, 1 to 4 p.m., the third Sunday of the month.

Please put the date on your calendars. Besides beautifying the grounds, the reward is a pleasant afternoon of fresh air and moderate exercise. Reach out to me with your ideas and interests at pbarr@umich.edu. More to follow.

"The Conspiracy"
I'm sure that my weeds all connive
To ensure that the majority survive
For in spite of my weeding
And selective feeding
It's the weeds that all seem to thrive
Extracted from Limericks and Trimericks for Gardeners

A Bloomin' g’day to y’all,
Phil Barr, Incoming Genesis Grounds Co-Coordinator - Your Partner in Grime
DIOCESAN CONVENTION: This year the convention will be Friday and Saturday, October 26-27, at the Suburban Collection Diamond Center, Novi. Everyone is encouraged to attend the convention to learn more about the various workings of the Diocese. Our delegates this year are Matt Evett, Ann Putallaz, and Larry Vandenbergen, with Barbara Beaton, Kate Morris Curtin, and Harriet Giles as alternates. You can find more details at www.edomi.org/convention.
GENESIS MOVIE NIGHT: At 7 p.m. on Monday, October 29, you're invited to a viewing and discussion of And Then They Came for Us. Details in the image below.
PUMPKIN PALOOZA: All are invited to join us for Pumpkin Palooza, in the Social Hall, on October 30, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. We’ll decorate mini pumpkins and share a potluck meal of chili and ‘fixins’. Please plan to bring one of the following to share.
  • A pot of chili (labeled accordingly; vegan, beef, turkey, gluten free, hot, mild, etc)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped onions
  • Any other topping you like on chili
  • Saltine crackers
  • Cornbread
  • Butter
  • A dessert
Costumes are welcome, but not required. Questions? Please see Suzanne.
GENESIS HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Background:
The Genesis Humanitarian Award is generally presented every two years at the Erev Thanksgiving Service.
The Genesis Humanitarian Award promotes recognition of people and organizations whose actions exemplify the Genesis Vision and Spirit, that by embracing mutual trust, respect and appreciation of all people, and living the ideals of faith and inclusiveness, together we work to heal a broken world.

Over the years, some among us have stood out by devoting countless hours toward improving the Genesis relationships with which we are now blessed. Still others among us are deeply involved in a wide variety of social justice activities (homelessness, rotating shelter, refugee support) or are tireless volunteers at community service organizations. Out of the many worthy individuals in our congregations, we seek to recognize one who inspires us all for the future which lies ahead. In the past the Genesis Humanitarian Award has been presented to the Back Door Food Pantry (2017), Bob Milstein (2017), Irene Butter (2012), Richard Bailey (2010), James Schairbaum (2007), Judge Sandy Elden (2005), Phil Bowen (2003), Jackie Moor (2001), Bob Levy (1999), and Doug Evett (1997).

Nominating Instructions: A nomination for the Genesis Humanitarian Award shall consist of the following documentation:
  • A letter of nomination proposing the candidate which provides biographical and professional background and documentation supporting the presence of actions exemplifying the Genesis Vision which are deserving of recognition by our faith communities.
  • Additional letters of support from others supporting the nomination are encouraged.

Nominations will be accepted until Tuesday, November 1, 2018. Submit to
Mike Wolf, Genesis Facility Coordinator
Genesis of Ann Arbor
2309 Packard Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE: One of the creative ideas expressed in our problem-solving sessions early this year was prayer for staff, their families, and all who lead and make St Clare's the place of love and service it is. We will have one petition in the prayers of the people each week helping us to be mindful in prayer for people in our parish in different stages of life, roles in our parish, or with particular challenges. You are invited to submit ideas or petition draft to James to help him fill out a year of prayer petitions in the most creative and full way we can.
HOLY BAPTISM: The next opportunity for baptism will be on Sunday, November 4 (All Saints’ Sunday). Speak with James if you are interested in baptism for yourself or your child.
ROTATING SHELTER: During Thanksgiving week (November 19--26), we will host 15 to 25 homeless men overnight in our building. This is a joint effort of St. Clare's, Temple Beth Emeth, and Blue Ocean Faith. You'll hear more about the project in the weeks to come.
EREV THANKSGIVING: Save the date for one of our joint celebrations with Temple Beth Emeth: the Erev Thanksgiving Service, this year at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20. The church’s and temple’s choirs will sing together and we will thank God for all we’ve been given. Bring a small plate of finger food for the Oneg (reception) after the service. No pork or shellfish please.
BISHOP VISITATION: On Sunday, December 9, Bishop Gibbs is scheduled to be at St. Clare's to preach and preside. Our Prayer Book names the bishop’s visitation among the five occasions especially fitting for baptism. If you wish to be baptized or confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church, please speak with James.
SAVE THE DATE! Adult Formation Program Coming: Animate Your Advent
Mark your calendars! The Animate Your Advent program will be held on 4 successive Wednesday evenings throughout Advent: November 28, December 5, 12, and 19. Each session will start with a simple meal and then the group will watch, reflect on, and discuss a short film featuring Nadia Bolz-Weber and other contemporary, engaging thinkers exploring topics central to the Christian faith, including the church family, the way of Jesus, the cross, and salvation. Adults and older teens welcome.

SAVE THE DATES!
November 19-26 Rotating Shelter hosted by St. Clare's, Temple Beth Emeth, Blue Ocean Faith
November 20
Erev Thanksgiving Service
November 28 Animate Your Advent begins (Adult Formation held on Nov 28, Dec 5, 12, 19)
December 2
Advent Workshop

December 8-9
Advent Overnight for Youth

March 19 Nadia Bolz-Weber at First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor

MINISTRY TO CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES
REILIGIOUS FORMATION AND JOY by Suzanne Di Piazza
The first day of children’s formation came and went, ably led by loving teachers for the program.

Everything I have done or tried to do since I arrived at Saint Clare’s was to "Preach the Gospel." That list of ‘everything’ is long and varies greatly; from reaching out to former members to invite them ‘home,’ to seeking to know a bit of our history, planning events, unpacking, and bringing order to cabinets, cubbies and whole closets, meeting folks, and deciding on curricula just to name a few. Not to mention trying to get a grasp on the various software we use! God bless the staff for their patience and instruction!

In my decades of children’s ministry I have tried to model myself after a wonderful servant leader I know. His name? Jesus. In my mind, leadership is a process of influencing or motivating people toward achieving a common goal. Leaders take us to a place we would never go alone. Leaders are always looking outside the box. Good leaders are good communicators and organizers. A good leader doesn’t always see every disappointment as a negative. They see it an opportunity to grow. Good leaders are realists, in that they see even unpleasant things as they are. Beyond being realists, good leaders are joy seekers, prayerful and optimistic. They are flexible and inviting. They are patient. Had I tried my very best to embody these attributes I so admire?

Speaking of joy, it is not frivolous in our journey of faith! It is so important. Joy is the sequel to faith. Joy is the unfailing presence of God. The opposite of joy is negativity. The power of negativity is huge. Our world is deeply impacted by negativity. Research shows that it takes 20 positives to overcome one negative. Wow! A few other things that always get in the way of joy are power, control and being too competitive. All are too common in modern society.
Sure, I was disappointed that not every child in our community showed up for the first class. Beyond that I chose to be hopeful and continue to do all that I can to ‘preach the Gospel,’ believing that if we plan, pray, communicate, invite and continue to remain joyful, they will attend regularly and beyond that, more families with young children will join our wonderful congregation!
A BLESSING FOR PETS by Suzanne Di Piazza
October 4 is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. Being an animal lover myself, he is a personal favorite of mine. Look in the NEWS & EVENTS section of this newsletter for details about our Blessing of the Animals service on October 4 and a prayer a family might use with regard to pets and animals they live with and care for.
PUMPKIN PALOOZA: All are invited to join us for Pumpkin Palooza, in the Social Hall, on October 30, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. We’ll decorate mini pumpkins and share a potluck meal of chili and ‘fixins’. See details under NEWS & EVENTS. Costumes are welcome, but not required. Questions? Please see Suzanne.
BEING AWARE OF GOD IN EVERYDAY LIFE: by Suzanne Di Piazza
I try to impress upon children that God can be found in their daily life. They only need to be on the ‘lookout’ for God. I have listed a few examples of some of these "God Moments" below. I ask them to recall what they felt during these moments. What events would you add to the list? Recall how you felt during such moments.
  • Enjoying the beauty of trees as they change with the seasons
  • A newborn baby
  • Forgiving someone or having someone forgive you
  • Attending a wedding
  • Seeing the sun glisten on a lake
  • Birds singing
  • Feeling loved and cared for by family
  • Flowers blooming
  • Holding a kitten or puppy
  • Being a part of a church family
  • Standing up for a person who is being mistreated or for an idea you believe in
  • When tempted, deciding to make the right decision
  • Helping someone in need or having someone help you
  • Making a new friend
  • Watching snow fall
  • Appreciating nature on a walk, a campout, a bike ride
  • Listening to or creating music
  • Creating or appreciating art
  • Celebrating special traditions at home and church
HAPPENING: Happening, a weekend of fun and God put on by youth for youth, will be coming up on November 16-18 at St. John's, Royal Oak. High school youth that have not attended may go as participants, and youth who have previously attended are encouraged to apply to be on team to help put on the event. You can register here. Please see Larry Vandenbergen or Christine Cook if you have any questions!
VESTRY CORNER
UPDATES FROM THE VESTRY: Greetings from your Vestry. As we journey to generosity in our fall stewardship campaign, we ask you to think about growing our faith in God and whether our lives are made better when we share our talents, our time, and our money.

The vestry and commissions continued to make progress on proposals created by the congregation:
  • The vestry published posters showing "Opportunities to Help at St. Clare’s" and many of you joined the call to share your talents and time at home, during worship, in other ministries, and in outreach to our community.
  • Christine Modey, Knut Hill, and Linda Henny received formal training as mediators. And as a mediation team, they will be available to confidentially mediate disputes between two parishioners, two staff, a parishioner and clergy, or a member of the staff and clergy.
  • The Care and Belonging commission is identifying lay pastors to do home or hospital visits, and take communion to people unable to get to church. Mary Lu Barth, Kathy Daly, and Linda Klimach have volunteered as lay pastors.
  • The Endowment Board has approved a grant for mission banners to be worked on by our children and youth.
  • The vestry will have open forums on Sunday, October 7, to have continued dialogue with the congregation.

For this fall we will be focusing on communication with you and talking about what sharing means for us, for our faith, and for our congregation. Members of the vestry and stewardship committee will be pairing up this fall to have visits with our church members. We are excited to talk about how we can grow our faith together.

For the vestry,

Mike Meyer

THE DAY-TO-DAY ROLES AND ACTIVITIES OF OUR RECTOR: It is not uncommon for folks at any church to be less than clear about the details of the role and day-to-day activities of their clergy and staff. This can lead to disappointment or misunderstanding regarding what it takes to respond to people's expectations. So, the Vestry is conducting 1-on-1 interviews with all our staff members in response to suggestions from our summer brainstorming sessions: " offer acknowledgement and enlightenment about what it is our clergy and staff actually do in serving our congregation day-to-day." This article focuses on the Rector (click here).
STEWARDSHIP
Although Stewardship is a year-round mission of the church, the fall season is its high point as we prepare for the annual Stewardship campaign. One of the parish resources within the national Episcopal church is The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS), an association of church leaders who understand, practice, and proclaim God’s call to generosity. TENS provides stewardship commissions with training, guidance and materials that they in turn can utilize to assist their congregations on their Journey to Generosity. The following is excerpted from one such TENS resource.

An opportunity to say 'YES'

Life is an opportunity. Life is a journey. A journey to saying "yes" to God who calls us the Beloved. Life is a journey to love; a journey to welcome; a journey to invite; a journey to peace; a journey to generosity.

From the moment we draw our first breath to the moment we breathe our last, we are both receivers and givers. How we move from takers of everything given to us to sharing everything we have is one measure of how we live into saying, "Yes."

On our journey to generosity, we learn from our parents and other family members. We learn from friends and church members. We learn through our own actions and from hearing the stories of other generous people.

The gospel stories of Jesus inform, challenge, and inspire us. Whether it’s the story of the Good Samaritan, the rich young ruler, or Zacchaeus, Jesus invites us into what the journey to generosity looks like.

TENS has chosen "Journey to Generosity" as a stewardship theme to invite everyone into that journey. It is not simply about how much we give to support the mission and ministry of our parish. The journey is about how we live our lives as the Beloved.

Are we generous in our dealings with others? Are we generous when we welcome the stranger and the strange to church on Sunday mornings? Are we generous in our forgiveness and in our acceptance of forgiveness?

From the moment we draw our first breath to the moment we breathe our last, we are both receivers and givers. How we move from takers of everything given to us to sharing everything we have is one measure of how we live into saying, "Yes."

On our journey to generosity, we learn from our parents and other family members. We learn from friends and church members. We learn through our own actions and from hearing the stories of other generous people.

The gospel stories of Jesus inform, challenge, and inspire us. Whether it’s the story of the Good Samaritan, the rich young ruler, or Zacchaeus, Jesus invites us into what the journey to generosity looks like.

TENS has chosen "Journey to Generosity" as a stewardship theme to invite everyone into that journey. It is not simply about how much we give to support the mission and ministry of our parish. The journey is about how we live our lives as the Beloved.

Are we generous in our dealings with others? Are we generous when we welcome the stranger and the strange to church on Sunday mornings? Are we generous in our forgiveness and in our acceptance of forgiveness?

It is our audacious hope and belief that our congregation has the ability and the opportunity to grow in generosity. The result could be a balanced budget for 2019 and the capacity to add Susan Bock, who recently retired, as a 1/4 time priest associate.

We invite you to pray and dream big with us. - Your Stewardship Commission
OCTOBER COMMISSION MEETINGS
Below you'll find a list of our Boards and Commissions, along with the name of the Vestry liaison, and the date/time of the Commission's next meeting.
  • Adult Formation | Martin Heggestad | Sep 26 at 7 p.m.
  • Children & Youth | Knut Hill | not scheduled at this time
  • Care & Belonging | Mary Lu Barth | not scheduled at this time
  • Endowment Board | Joanne Heaton | not scheduled at this time
  • Genesis Board | Ken Cook | October 24 at 7 p.m.
  • Outreach | Sue Evett | October 10 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Parish Resources | Linda Klimach | October 11 at 5:45 p.m.
  • Stewardship | Barry Fuller | October 18 at 7 p.m.
  • Vestry | October 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Worship | Linda Henny| October 10 at 5:30 p.m
HEAR YE, HEAR YE!

The St. Clarian is published monthly (except July). Contributions are welcomed; send by e-mail (to the editor at editor@saintclareschurch.org), U.S. mail, or drop off at the church office. The deadline for inclusion is the 15th of the month.

Have you remembered St. Clare's in your will?

Visit the Church Calendar online at www.saintclareschurch.org/calendar.

In the event of a pastoral emergency, please contact James Rhodenhiser.  
If you would like us to share personal support requests with the parish, please tell us, and any "where," "when," and "how" information. If you are hospitalized or want prayer, please contact the church office.
ST. CLARE'S STAFF

James C. Rhodenhiser,
Rector

Suzanne Di Piazza, Missioner for Children, Youth, & Families
John Goodell, Music and Technology Ministry
Karen Slagell, Parish Administrative Coordinator

e-mail contact:

firstname@saintclareschurch.org

Church Office:
office@saintclareschurch.org
ST. CLARE'S VESTRY
John Little, Senior Warden
Kathy Daly, Junior Warden
Linda Klimach, Junior Warden
Mary Lu Barth

Ken Cook
Sue Evett
Barry Fuller
Joanne Heaton
Martin Heggestad
Linda Henny
Knut Hill
Mike Meyer