From our priest-in-charge:
Dear Friends in Christ,
What is the experience of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church overall? What is the hope for the future of St. Augustine’s? What are the patterns of thinking and behaviors that are unique to St. Augustine’s that make us the church and the people that we are called to be at this time and that will move us forward? How might we address the answers to these questions in a way that realizes the vision for the church that God places in each of our hearts? I encourage us to examine our hearts regarding these questions. Then, let’s share how we are feeling with one another.
I believe that how we will answer these questions will move us from counting attendance and dollars to increasing the quality of experience for all that come to us in both the church and the thrift shop. In other words, dear friends, you have my permission to not worry, but in all things give thanks to God and build up one another!
As Paul writes in the First Letter to the Thessalonians: Comfort the discouraged. Help the weak. Be patient with everyone. Make sure no one repays a wrong with a wrong, but always pursue the good for each other and everyone else. Rejoice
always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t suppress the Spirit. Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. Avoid every kind of evil. Now, may the God of peace himself cause you to be completely dedicated to him; and may your spirit, soul, and body be kept intact and blameless at our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming. The one who is calling you is faithful and will do this.
You likely have already noticed how we’ve already begun to shift the way that we talk about our experiences of St. Augustine’s, making certain that we include both the church, the thrift store and the wider community as the mission that we are. We are learning that this is not a proposition of “either/or” but “both/and.” Considering “both/and” is the work of prayer and discernment of the church. It is our work. As the pandemic has now shifted, now is a good time to ask: “How will we best serve the spiritual and physical needs of all of the people of this County and its various communities that God is asking us to serve?”
We already know that our mission reaches far into the surrounding community by the people that we see in church and the shop. We are in some ways, surprisingly diverse as we are more a regional center than a local one. For example, our Sunday worshippers come from two counties. Most of those around us in worship and Tuesday faith formation are from differing zip codes than our own. The same is true for our thrift store shoppers. They come from far and near. We might wonder, “How might we more and more also become a local center for those living closest to the church’s front door?
I pray that we will all hear God’s call in our hearts to be supportive of the body of Christ that includes you and me, the Church. It then would seem that our call to grow at this time is to support and nurture all whom God sends. In our continuing to grow in our service of all, may God bless our service in Christ’s name.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Tuesday Adult Faith Formation Acts to Action begins this coming Tuesday, July 7 at 10:30 AM:
Faith Formation Tuesdays will take us on a journey of Acts Chapter Eight for the following eight weeks.
We will discover through worship, proclamation, loving, serving, repentance and returning to the Lord and getting to know our communities:
- that Jesus’ first followers face the same questions we face today.
- that we can overcome the challenges of today’s failing institutions, theological differences and widespread uncertainty.
- how the lessons of Jesus’ first followers apply to our lives and the mission Christ calls us to as we seek and serve God and the common good of all.
If you are not able to join us in person on Tuesdays, you are encouraged to engage with Acts to Action from wherever you are. Remember to include this intentional time at St. Augustine’s of bringing acts to action in your daily prayers.
You may purchase your copy of Acts to Action by following this link:
More news from St. Augustine’s:
On June 6th we celebrated St. Augustine of Canterbury, for whom our church is named. If you missed this celebration, you can still catch Fr. Douglas’ homily online by following this link:
Enriching Our Worship is a collection of approved liturgical texts as a supplement to The Book of Common Prayer. St. Augustine’s has newly purchased copies so that we can more readily incorporate these services with updated, more inclusive language into our worship. Look for the slim red paperback book when you come to church. From now until Labor Day weekend, our Sunday celebrations of Holy Eucharist will use the form beginning on page 50 and continuing on page 62 with Eucharistic Prayer 3.
The next Bishop’s Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 17 from 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM.
On Sundays when children are present, our Sunday service will now include a “Moment for the Young and the Young at Heart.” The “Moment” will take place in the space between The Collect of the Day and The First Reading.
Coming up on Sundays beginning after Labor Day, from time to time, do you find yourself wondering why we do what we or why we say what we say when we worship God together in community? For Sundays beginning early in September and taking us well into the fall, each service will include a teaching on an aspect of the service as a tool for learning and growth that may lead us to worship more meaningfully. Look for it this September!
Coming Soon! We will observe a Season of Creation this coming September. Look for more information to come in early September!
Your pledge and offering:
Whether you worship with us at St. Augustine’s in the summer or year round, the Episcopal Diocese of Maine makes online giving possible so that you need not miss a giving opportunity in thanksgiving to God and for one another for the ministry that we do together. The regular offering of your time talent and treasure is important to the work of the church in keeping an Episcopal Church presence in Piscataquis County.
Following this link and filling out the information requested will ensure that your gift is received here at St. Augustine’s. There are options for one-time or regular giving.
All things come of you, O God, and of your own we give to You.