Thursday, March 23, 2017

Congratulations to Michelle Gelinske!!!

Heartfelt congratulations to very own Michelle Gelinske for being nominated for 2017 YMCA Woman of the Year. We are all so proud of her! 

Prayers for the soul of Robert Zacher

Prayers for the repose of the soul of Robert Zacher (+March 12, 2017), a former brother of the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross, who was buried today. I knew Robert on and off for about 16 years (not always under pleasant circumstances, sadly) and he very graciously donated several boxes of liturgical books to St. Stephen's a few years back. Fr. Mark Strobel and I were the only "mourners," along with the funeral director and the cemetery staff. Rest eternal grant to him, I Lord; and light perpetual shine upon him

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Integrity Window dedication April 2nd

During our 11:00 a.m. celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday, April 2, we will dedicate and bless our third stained glass window. The so-called “Integrity” window commemorates St. Stephen’s pioneering ministry as a welcome congregation and church home for GLBTQ people.

St. Stephen's has a long and proud history of advocacy for and ministry with the LGBTQ community in Fargo-Moorhead and is a member of Integrity, a national association for LGBTQ Episcopal ministry. We are currently the only Episcopal congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota authorized to offer the marriage liturgy for GLBTQ people.

Commemorating St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167), the patron saint of Integrity, the window will also feature an overarching rainbow, the Pride flag, and the St. Stephen’s Noah’s Ark float used each year in the Pride Parade. The message of the window of “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect with the dignity of every human being?’ comes from the Baptismal Covenant of the Book of Common Prayer. A verse of scripture from the book of Galatians is also included in the window.

The window is designed by our own Gin Templeton and is being built and installed by the Michael Orchard Studio in Fargo.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The week of March 20

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday March 22
4:00 pm - Vestry

6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/Jessica Zdenek, preacher
James Mackay, music
Soup supper following

Friday March 24   
3:00 p.m. – Stations of the Cross (NOTE time change)

Sunday March 26  – 4 Lent/Laetare  
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Children’s Chapel
Coffee Hour following

12:45 – Lent with the Prophets (Ezekiel) 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday of 2 Lent sermon by John Anderson

Wednesday of 2 Lent 

A sermon by John Anderson

Matthew 20:20-28
I believe that our gospel reading tonight contains good news, as it should, but also some bad news.  Let’s get the bad news out of the way.  As a species it seems we have not matured very much over the centuries.

In the story we see the disciples jockeying for positions of power and notoriety in the kingdom.  This story has a parallel in Mark’s gospel (chapter 10).  But in Matthew’s telling of the story even the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, petitions Jesus on behalf of her sons.  She asks that they may sit in glory at the right and left side of Jesus when he comes into his glory.  It is good that the disciples are ambitious. But judging by Jesus’ response it seems they don’t quite understand what they are asking.

They seem to want power and glory and recognition, which was (and still is) a downfall of those seeking power. And when the other disciples hear that Jesus is even talking to the sons of Zebedee about it they get angry and jealous. Arguing and competition breaks out. 

It seems we have not grown too much since then. One would have to be living under a rock to not see that the lust for power, recognition, attention, and glory is still very much alive among many people in positions of power.  Often times, sadly, the lust for power is present among those who claim to speak for Christ himself. To me, that is not good news.

Fear not! The gospel always contains good news, words of hope, and a way out of our predicament.  In the midst of their quarreling, Jesus gathers his disciples together and teaches them about real greatness, real leadership.

Some of you may know that my full time job is as an Activity Director in a care center.  On any given day I am called upon to be many things: organizer, planner, bingo caller, game player, chaplain, friend, bus driver, administrator…leader.  For my job I am taking some college courses to earn my official certificate as an Activity Director (I will be done with the class in May, thank God!). 

In a recent unit of the course we studied many kinds of leaders in the world: Autocratic leaders say how it is, with no input from others.  Period.  Democratic leaders accept input from the people. This can be good, but sometimes the “Majority rules” concept marginalizes the minority voice. The most vulnerable can be left behind.  Laissez-faire leadership is often seen as a lack of leadership. The leader is too removed and “hands off.” 

Because I am in the midst of Deacon discernment, the section on Servant Leadership captured my interest the most.  The descriptions of a servant leader could have come right out of a handbook on Christian leadership. 

Leadership scholar, Robert Greenleaf, offers this description of a servant leader: “The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to spire to lead. The best test is: Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?” 

This could be a modern paraphrase of Jesus’ teaching on leadership.  Jesus loves to teach by comparison.  He reminds his disciples of the types of leaders they were accustomed to seeing. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.”

If that is the idea the disciples have in their minds about being great in the kingdom, Jesus intends to correct that. As portrayed in the Bible, the disciples aren’t always the brightest.  Jesus reminds them how the gentile rulers “Lord over” their people. They were not open to discussion; they did not care if their people grew healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous. They did not care if the least privileged benefited.  Those were the leaders the disciples knew.  Then Jesus turns it around: “ Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”  

Saint Louise de Marillac was born in France on August 12, 1591. After a brief marriage in which her beloved husband died young, she spent the rest of her life leading others in servant ministry.  She traveled all over France organizing and creating shelter homes for neglected children, the sick, and the poor.  She was intelligent, humble, and physically strong for the hard work.  

Despite her own failing health over the years, she continued to lead from within the trenches of her growing group of followers. She worked with the great priest Monsieur Vincent, better known later as Saint Vincent de Paul. She created a “rule of life,” communal guidelines for her growing faith community called Daughters of Charity of Vincent de Paul.  She spent her life as a servant leader. She cared that her people grew as persons, became healthier, freer, wiser. She cared that the least privileged would benefit from her leadership.

When she died on this date, March 15th 1660, there were more than 40 shelter houses all over France.  Today, Louise de Marillac is the patron saint of social workers. 
The good news for us tonight is that the world can be healed and transformed by servant leadership.  As Jesus said, some leaders “lord their power” over others. Not so with us.  Not so with us.  There is a better way.

Sometimes we are a bit like those first disciples and we need some reminders about what works, and what doesn’t. That’s ok. That’s why we’re here; we are here to share Word and Sacrament.  And we are here to remind each other, work with each other, help each other, serve each other…and the world.  Amen. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Gin Templeton is working hard on our third stained glass window, the Integrity window, which is tentatively set for dedication on April 2. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The week of March 13

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday March 15
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/John Anderson, preacher
James Mackay, music
Soup and sandwich supper following

Friday March 17   
3:00 p.m. – Stations of the Cross (NOTE time change)

Sunday March 19  – 3 Lent
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Children’s Chapel
Coffee Hour following

12:45 – Lent with the Prophets (Jeremiah)