News and Events at
Trinity Anglican Church
News and Events at
Trinity Anglican Church
The leaders of four Continuing Anglican Churches have announced plans for Joint Synods to meet in Atlanta, Georgia, the week of October 2nd to 6th. At the conclusion of the week it is the intention of the Churches to sign an agreement establishing full communion (communio in sacris) among the four bodies as well as a pledge to pursue in a determined and deliberate fashion increasingly full unity. The Churches also will discuss common plans for mission and evangelism. Each Church will hold its own mandatory business meetings and Synods, but the four will join together throughout for common worship and social occasions.
The four Churches and their episcopal leaders are the Anglican Church in American (Brian Marsh), the Anglican Catholic Church (Mark Haverland), the Anglican Province of America (Walter Grundorf), and the Diocese of the Holy Cross (Paul Hewett). The Joint Synods will meet at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia in north Atlanta.
The four Churches have grown increasingly close in recent years, and look to the Congress of Saint Louis (1977) and The Affirmation of St. Louis as common historical and theological touchstones. The Churches are united by commitments to credal orthodoxy; to traditional Anglican worship, rooted in the historic Books of Common Prayer; to the three-fold Apostolic ministry of male bishops, priests, and deacons; and to traditional morality in issues affecting the sanctity of life and human sexuality.
While all four Churches seek closer relations with other ecclesial bodies with Anglican backgrounds, they differ from most of them in a firm belief that innovations since the mid-1970s such as modernist liturgies and the purported ordination of women to Holy Orders constitute unacceptable developments that remove Anglicans from the central tradition of the Undivided Church of the first millennium.
The four Churches have about 300 congregations in the United States as well as larger memberships in Africa, South America, Oceania, Asia, and England.
Sermon for the 14th Sunday in Trinity
Gratitude and the Importance of returning
“15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.” Lk 17:15–16
As you know, I have been talking about worship for the last few weeks, and specifically, how worship – and I mean that in the broadest sense – is a therapy for the human condition. Worship is the single defining act that sets right the human person and reorders the soul.
Our gospel reading tells the story of ten lepers who cry out to Jesus, asking for mercy, begging Jesus that they be healed.
According to Old Testament law, whenever a person had a skin infection or rash they were to show themselves to the priest. He would inspect it, and according to certain criteria, could tell the person to separate himself for 7 days and then return. The priest would then reinspect the infection and decide if it was leprous or not. If it was leprosy the man would have to leave his family, his home, his job, his life, and live on the outskirts, away from society. To have leprosy was to be the sort of outcast that lost everything. The pain one felt was not the pain of the disease, but of ostracization.
For Jesus to tell them to “go, show yourselves to the priest” implied the sort of trust in His word that, when they got there, all would be well. The only reason to show yourself to a priest was so that he could see that the leprosy had gone so that he could readmit you to society. What was at stake was not merely the persons health, but their life, family, love. When these men begged Jesus for his intervention it was from a place of deep loss. You could imagine the doubt they might have ahd as they walked along the road, looking at each other and wondering when the “miracle” would happen.
We are told that as they went, they were cleansed. But only one returns to give thanks to Jesus. Only one. Perhaps the others are so full of joy at having their lives back that they forgot to return to give thanks. Maybe they were taken up in celebrations with family and friends. Maybe they were excited to be back at their trade again, amidst the din of the Bazaar as they sold their good as they did in the old days. But only one returns. Small wonder that he was a Samaritan.
The Samaritan returns praising God at the top of his lungs, falling at Jesus’ feet giving thanks. It is not merely that this man is healed, but he is made whole, saved, by returning. For the one thing that he had that the other nine did not, the one thing that could save his soul, leading to “shalom” – peace, well being, integration - was GRATITUDE.
Gratitude is the affirmation of the goodness or benefits that we have received. It is the feeling we have when we come to see that what we have been given is far greater than anything we have lost or anything we lack. It acknowledges that we have benefited from some outside good, from something beyond and above us, and that that good is more than what we are due. Gratitude makes a leper return to the Lord. It makes a prostitute wipe the feet of Jesus with her hair in the face of judgmental hypocrites. It makes a murderer fall off his horse, fall to his knees, and endure stoning, shipwrecks and beatings just so that he can repay the debt of mercy showed to him – because he knows he has been forgiven his murders.
Gratitude is at the heart of authentic worship. It has nothing to do with music, though good music helps. It has nothing to do with prayers, written or spontaneous. It has to do with a way of seeing reality, not as something that owes us anything, but as something that has gifted us with everything.
The Sociologist George Simmer calls gratitude the “moral memory of mankind”. Without it we have no grounds upon which to be moral. Without gratitude, nothing is a gift and everything is simply something to be consumed, used - and that is the sin of the garden of Eden – that the fruit was good for making one wise. And it brought death.
Gratitude, according to the psychologists who study it, is a relationship strengthening emotion because it affirms our connections to others and something bigger than ourselves. And it turns out that is healthy for human beings.
Gratitude elicits a deep desire to repay the undeserved or disproportional goodness given to us. It makes us want to “pay it forward”. In that way it strengthens the moral foundations of society. Without gratitude we use one another to serve our own ends and society becomes cruel.
Positive emotions wear away quickly. Gratitude, because it is participatory, because it drives us to return and give thanks, helps preserve positive feelings. It promotes wellbeing.
Gratitude blocks negative emotions. Resentment, envy, wrath, none of these can co-exist with gratitude. It cancels them out. Try it. You simply cannot hold bitterness and wrath in your heart while you have gratitude. And bitterness and wrath will most certainly cancel out gratitude, to our own miserable harm.
Gratitude makes us more resilient to stress. It strengthens social ties. It strengthens self-worth. Gratitude is a medicine for the soul.
There is something very counter-cultural about the sort of worship that begins with deep gratitude. It seems like a forgotten virtue. It is not self-fulfilling but, perhaps, self-emptying. It is not self-satisfying, but self-effacing.
Worship that begins with gratitude means that we do not return to “get” but to “give”. It means that we do not go to a church service to be a consumer, but, like a leper who has gotten his life back, we return to give thanks. Any time we treat worship like a consumer we short circuit gratitude and diminish our relationship to God. Indeed, we diminish and reduce God himself to our servant. When we come to God s consumers we trivialize God and elevate ourselves. Instead of self-effacing, it becomes self-elevating and God-diminishing.
I love music, and I am a drummer who has played in modern worship bands. I am not entirely opposed to it. But I have noted that there is a problem with modern music centered worship – it often treats the worship experience in a consumeristic way. What I mean by that is that it is designed to appeal to our culture and our preferences. It produces good feelings, but they are short lived. And because the focus is on a positive emotional encounter with God it eventually becomes self-centered and undercuts real gratitude. Instead of feeling fulfilled, in time we feel empty.
All worship demands that I return and be fully present to God with gratitude – every single time. And liturgical worship demands that more than modern forms, but in doing so it also fuels gratitude. it is not a quick emotional fix but a slow and deepening experience of the mystery of God that goes beyond our emotions and rational mind. In our spiritual immaturity we enter into the presence of God through the veil of the emotions, As we mature we commune with God through the veil of the intellectual powers (not intellectualism), and finally mystically.
Gratitude, awe and meaning are all interconnected and feed one another. Gratitude opens us up to awe and wonder - apprehending the mystery of God. It opens us up to the bigness of God and thereby shrinks our troubles and trials. You cannot think your trials are too great to bear when you have gratitude. Without gratitude, our trails are magnified and God becomes nothing more than a mouse living in the wall. Present, but powerless. Gratitude stands humbled at the bigness of creation and stands in awe at so great a God, one who is so lavish in goodness, as to shrink even the greatest trial and find us a way through it.
The miracle of the 10th leper is that he was healed and got his life back. But the greatest miracle is realizing that even your suffering is gift. It is to see the mercy of Christ passing by your sad way and thanking him while your skin is still white and your life is still far off, while your heart is still raw, and your eyes are still wet with tears. The real miracle of gratitude is to return and give thanks through our tears, knowing that God is greater than our suffering and will, in the end make all things right……..perhaps we just need to walk a little ways in our leprous condition with gratitude and our sorrows will be lifted.
September 2-17 Pastoral letter
September 1, 2017
Dear Trinity Family,
I hope that you’ve had a wonderful summer. It is a time to enjoy the weather - on the lake, on the beach, or just in your yard with company. As we turn towards the Fall and bid adieu to the summer we know the rhythm of life brings us back to a more dutiful pace.
The summer at Trinity kicked off with a wonderful parish picnic that was very well attended. We had lots of people helping in so many ways, from preparing food in advance and Butch’s grilling mastery, to setting up and breaking down. This was organized by none other than our Alice Snow and St. Anne’s guild, without whom we would have had way too much chicken left over! (Fr. Matt applying a little self-deprecation). On the heels of this event Bob Lovo hosted a “new and recent” members luncheon at his home in York. That was a real treat! We have also had many visitors during the course of the summer, with a few of them continuing to attend regularly.
St. Luke’s camp was held August 6-13 and was terrific. Our counselors were great, and we had some new ones - Dn. Gary Drinkwater from Church of the Transfiguration in ME, and our own Joyce McClusky. The teaching theme of the camp was “Keeping your faith against the odds” and we used Star Wars for the backdrop theme. We played some great games, like “Jedi Toe Training”, “the Force Trust walk”, and others. Besides that, the kids were taught the faith three times a day, did crafts, and enjoyed swimming in the lake at camp Ashmere. We do ask that you begin to think of next year’s camp now (yes, now) and plan to have your children or grandchildren attend.
Our church is going “from strength to strength” as we continue to our efforts to create a church that is healthy, inviting, and growing. You should know that as pastor, everything I do, every effort or initiative I put forward, is all geared towards creating a church that is spiritually healthy, dynamic and growing. Growth is not a matter of programs and plans. Authentic growth is the result of a people who love Christ and His church and serve others joyfully. We each have a duty to be faithful in prayer, worship and service because Christ dwells in such persons and His light shines through them and influences others.
To that end I hope that many of you plan on attending the next Re4m seminar, Joyful Surrender: Serving God with our time, talent, and treasure. I can already hear your thoughts, “Is he going to talk about money?!” Well, yes and no. I am going to talk about freedom, freedom from fear and worry. We are going to talk about the shalom (peace, wellbeing and salvation) of God and how, when we serve God with a joyful heart, it results in interior liberty that extends throughout our entire lives. This seminar will be held on Saturday, September 30th at 9:00am and will end at 12:30pm followed by lunch. I will teach the introduction and a very good friend of mine, the Rev. Jim King, from Portland, will be teaching on giving. You will enjoy his enthusiasm. I hope you plan to make it.
Other events are upcoming as well. We will be having an appreciation dinner for all those who volunteer in the Thrift Store. We will be holding New Members Classes on October 14th and 22nd. If you have not completed a class before, I think it is important for you to take this class. See me (Fr. Matt) about attending. We will be resuming mid-week Eucharistic services on Wednesdays at 9:00am beginning October 11th. We will be offering Reboot Combat Recovery again, beginning September 21st. Please keep this important ministry in your prayers. Men’s Breakfast will continue on the first Saturday of each month at 8:00am. We will continue to serve at the Rochester Community Kitchen. Finally, we will resume our Spiritual Formation Bible Study in October.
I was grateful for Joyce McClusky’s help with camp this year. This also gave us an opportunity to discuss Sunday School. Since the Wise family has moved and Julie will no longer be leading the effort Joyce has stepped up to the plate. I asked her to find a good curriculum for us and she has. We have a great new program that is flexible to our needs and Anglican in focus! We will be learning more about this soon, but Sunday School begins September 10th. We need to build a strong children’s program so that parents of young children will feel comfortable attending our church. This is an important step in that direction, and we need volunteers.
I recently met with Carlos, our choir master, to discuss kicking our music up to another level. I have a vision to position this church as a light of classical culture, music, virtue and education. It is not my intention to compete with modern churches whose attraction is “praise band” worship. Instead, I want to position our church as a unique and beautiful example of classical Christianity and culture. We are going in the opposite direction of our culture. To that end, we are going to do classical Anglican music and do it well. We are also going to innovate in ways that are consistent with sacred music and our Anglican heritage. That means that we are going to try new things from time to time. When we try something new, or you hear something that you have never heard before, please be gracious and open, and trust that we will maintain the sacred nature of Eucharistic worship. It is my hope and prayer to enrich the choir and our music program so that we attract great talent as well.
Finally, I want to mention the sticky issue of politics. As you know, our political climate is very divisive presently. Many in our parish have strong opinions in one direction or another. I wish to remind you that our bond is in the gift of the Spirit and the gospel of peace. We are God’s people first and our first commitment is to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not politics. The moral and ethical teachings of the church come before, and ought to influence, our politics – they are not separate. The net effect is that it should trouble both conservatives and progressives at times. Our Kingdom is not of this earth! I would ask that you do not assume that everyone standing around you at church holds the same views, and that, if politics come up, you are respectful and considerate towards your brother or sister. I don’t want anyone to feel that they are “out” because of a political opinion. This does not mean that we do not take a stand on certain issues. But when we do, let us do so with respect and love, “preserving the bonds of peace”, as St. Paul admonishes us.
As we go into the 2017-2018 year I anticipate wonderful things for our church. 2018 will be our Jubilee year, celebrating our 25th anniversary. Part of that celebration will be an exciting project to renew and beautify the reredos (the area behind and round the altar). We look forward to sharing those plans with you in the weeks and months to come.
Your Servant in Christ,
Fr. Matt Mirabile+
By Brian Early
Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 3:01 AM
ROCHESTER -- After a successful first course, the Trinity Anglican Church is hosting another 12-week course to help combat veterans and their families heal the “spiritual and moral injuries of war” later this month and is seeking participants.
(You can read the rest of this article at Seacoast Online by clicking here.)