June 2014

In This Issue...
 Ramblings in the Redwoods
 C.I.A. Youth Group News
 God's Story. Our Story. My Story: Teresa.
 From Playmate to Orphan Care
 The Back Page... Coins of the Realm

Ramblings in the Redwoods
Father Blaine Hammond

Why do people attend church? The more people you ask, the more answers you will get. You might say of me that I attend church because I am paid to – but I was 41 years old before I was ordained, so you would have to account for my attendance in the years before that as well. The fact is I attend worship services for the same reason I sought ordination – I can’t NOT do it. Christian worship is the only place I can gather together with people who accept the same things I do about the meaning of life and the nature of God and spirituality; it is the only place I know there will be people who intend to pray together with me for the things I believe are important; it is the place where the power and grace of God are shared, where I can receive what I need to get through the next week of my life and vocation.

Why do people not attend church? Again, the more people you ask, the more answers you will get. I hear a variety of answers when I ask these kinds of questions, but the most common ones I hear fall into the following areas. It may help you to hear the responses I have developed to these objections; or maybe it will just help you think about your own answers to those who are willing to discuss the questions. I have not listed the obvious objection that some people don’t attend church because they don’t believe in God; but that is not the case with the majority of people we run into.

1) I worship God in the out-of-doors (woods, mountains, etc). Actually, so do I. That is where I can see and feel God in God’s own creation. But at church I experience God in other people.

2) The church is full of hypocrites. I said that too, when I quit going to church in my teens. Eventually, however, I found myself asking some questions. First, don’t all of us have some hypocrisy in our lives? Second, where should the hypocrites be? Isn’t church one of the few places they might figure out their hypocrisy and find a cure?

3) I went to church and I didn’t like it. Maybe you went to the wrong one for you. One reason there are different churches is that each of us has different spiritual needs. Why not try some more? There really is quite a variety of church practices and beliefs.

4) I was badly treated at church. This is a more difficult area. People who have been badly treated at church fall into several categories. Some have been disrespected; some have been the target of unrealistic expectations; some have been pushed into responsibilities they did not want; some have had responsibilities they did want, but have then been given no freedom to carry them out, and have had them taken away; some have been deeply offended or wronged in some basic ways (I think, for instance, of a man I knew whose request to have his child baptized was refused).

People who have been through these experiences may feel that the hypocrisy of the church is so deep that that is all there is to it; there is nothing REAL in church at all, especially not real Christians. They almost certainly have a “once burned, twice shy” fear – why put yourself back into a situation where you got hurt the last time you did that? Wounded people tend to do one of two things: attack or retreat. They certainly don’t want to be part of a group that has hurt them.

The church as a whole, and many members and clergy of the church, have been guilty of putting people through such things; others have unwittingly caused people to believe that was happening to them due to careless or misinterpreted words.

People who have been mistreated don’t need to be persuaded; they need to be listened to. They need to know that someone cares about what has happened to them, someone who agrees that such treatment is wrong, and that there are churches, clergy and members who do not be-have that way and who will respect them. They may have a hard time trusting that this is true but patience and love are the only tools here, not argument or attempts to persuade.

5) I was abused by a priest, a minister, a youth minister, a babysitter, a program director... Of all the things that drive people away from participation in a church, this is the most difficult and the most grievous. There may be no way for such a person to recover any trust or willingness to give the church a second chance. But it is important for us to acknowledge that such things are wrong, and that the church is making greater and greater efforts to keep such things from happening and to give justice to those who have suffered. None of us should try to talk such a person out of the feelings they have; those feelings are well justified. Hopefully they have found a counselor to talk with; if not, encouragement in that direction might be helpful. Again, those who have suffered such mistreatment need to hear that most of us are appalled by such behavior in the name of God and agree with them that it is wrong.

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Unfortunately, many of us have no idea how to talk with people about our faith. In fact, it is difficult for those of us from an Episcopal or Anglican background to get past the instinctive sense of privacy about our religious beliefs and practices; nor do we want to stir up animosity from those who disagree with us. However, the rewards and benefits of hearing people out about their own experiences, and treating them with respect, can cause some major trans-formative experiences in the lives of others.

It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth to teach us that it is twice as important to listen as to speak. It is not always easy to find someone to listen to us respectfully – learning that skill is, I believe, the key to opening the door to the work of the Holy Spirit, not only in the lives of those we are listening to, but in our own lives as well.

And of course we need to remember to pray for those we have encountered, and for our own difficulties with the things and people that God has put in our paths.

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The More Things Change...

Since the diocese no longer allows deacons to preside at services of communion with previously blessed elements, Fifth Sundays will no longer feature Deacon Lieb as presider and preacher. We are discussing ways to offer something a little different for Fifth Sunday services – look for healing services and youth Sundays, for example. Jim will still preach every few months during regular services, but we will now be obliged to bring in supply priests during Blaine’s vacation times as well.

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Youth Group News

Summer is here!
In May, the Younger Youth picked strawberries. A huge thanks to Sabrina, Anika, Jaden, Sofia, Victor, Suzi, Amber, and Kim. We made some jam and sold it on Sunday at church. It was gone quickly!

Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day
Saturday, June 21, 2014, we will meet at St. Andrew's at 10am. We will be carpooling to Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. It's free, but the kids should bring some spending money just in case.

4th of July Parade
Meet in front of Foster's Freeze at 8:30am to decorate the truck for the parade in Boulder Creek. Wear red, white, and blue.

Lynda and Kidz Backpack Project
We're collecting backpacks and school supplies for kids who can't afford to buy them. Bring items to the church office: new or gently used backpacks and any school supplies.

Sunday School in the Summer!
We will be offering Sunday School during the 10am service throughout the summer (grades K-12).

C.I.A. Youth Group
We will be meeting throughout the summer (grades 6-12). Come check us out on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30pm. Much more activities to come including music workshops, homework club, fundraising, games, and of course (what every teen loves) food.

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God's Story. Our Story. My Story: Teresa Ruff.

Someone had asked me once: When was the exact moment you believed and accepted Jesus as your Savior? I really didn’t have an answer for them. Jesus has always been a part of my life since I can remember. But I will admit that my faith and relationship with God has had its tides in the past. I have had a foundation in my faith since I was a young child, but there have been times when building on that foundation has been delayed, construction halted.

It was New Year’s Day a few years ago, and I was looking for something to read on my new Kindle my husband got me for Christmas. I found an author, Karen Kingsbury, a Christian novelist. I have always loved stories about love, hope, and happy endings, so I thought I would give it a try. I was done with the first book in 8 hours, finishing at about 3am. I couldn’t put it down. For the next few weeks, I read almost a book a day. I began thinking about the characters in the stories. They had such strong relationships with God; so strong that they knew His words by heart. I wanted to feel that kind of hope and faith. I wanted to know God’s Word so well that it would just come to mind whenever I needed to hear Him. So I said a prayer. I asked God to change me, to change my heart, to make me His. I wanted to follow wherever He was going to lead me, and I asked for my relationship with Him to be stronger.

That next month, an opportunity came for us to move down to Temecula. There seemed to be a better chance that we would be able to purchase our own home since housing was cheaper. It was an easy move without stress; everything seemed to just fall into place. We left our jobs and moved down south to live with some of my husband’s family. There was a non-denominational church down the street from where we lived and they had youth programs for the kids. I had noticed that many people brought their own Bibles to church with them. I went into their bookstore and bought my first Bible. I joined a women’s study group and started reading the Bible for the first time. Growing up here at St. Andrew’s, I had taken it for granted that I knew the stories, but I hadn’t actually read the Bible.

I could feel my relationship growing with God. I was learning more, not just about God, but about myself and what was important in my life. In March of last year, I was studying the book of James. For years I had been praying for us
to be able to buy and own a home, but I came across something: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3) Had we been asking with the wrong motives? It made me think of Moses and the Israelites and how long they had been wondering the desert for 40 years because their hearts were in the wrong place. It was at that moment that my husband and I began talking and praying about what God wanted for us. It was time to return to San Lorenzo Valley. Being with family, friends, and our community was more important than buying a house.

Looking back over parts of my life, while I may have paused on construction, God never did. He has always been there, always working on me. I thank God every day for His grace and faithfulness, for showing me constantly that He won’t let me go. I remember countless times when money was scarce and we would be down to our last few dollars, sometimes a full week before the next payday, and somehow we had food to eat and gas to get us to work and home. If I bring everything to God and lay it at His feet, He shows me that He will take care of every need, every true want of my heart – He knows my heart better than I do.

There was this guy I met my second year in college. I had such a huge crush on him; I did everything to try to get his attention: throw snow-balls at him, tackle him, pick on him. I gave him a Christmas card with my address and phone number before I went home for Christmas break. He never called or wrote. I gave up and when I returned to school, we all just hang out as a big group of friends. There was this chapel next to our dorms where I would sit and relax and take a quiet moment away from people and classes. It reminded me of St. Andrew’s and Grace Cathedral with its grandeur, stained glass windows, and redwood chairs and pews. One particular day, I prayed to God. I said, “God, if I’m single for the rest of my life… well, until at least I’m 30… that’s okay with me. You are sufficient.” The next day, that same guy I had a crush on told me that he fell in love with me. We’ve been married for over fifteen years. Thank you, God, for Your faithfulness in me, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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From Playmate to Orphan Care

Do you know the intriguing tale of a former Playboy model who has devoted her life to helping poor kids in Haiti? Susan Scott Krabacher's childhood helped her connect with the hurting children she now serves. Sexual abuse, her mother's psychiatric breakdown, multiple foster homes, and her brother's suicide took their emotional toll. In her late teens, she became a Playboy centerfold and moved into the Playboy mansion. Ten years of playing led to serious depression. She searched for a more biblical take on life and this led her to creating a foundation that now runs three orphanages for 2,300 children in Haiti. "I work long hours," Krabacher notes, “bury too many children, and get no compensation but love, which is the greatest freedom you can know and the most important thing in the world."

Researchers agree. Do you desire happiness, love, safety, security, loyal friends, true connection, or a benevolent and hopeful world? They have one answer: Give. You’ll be happier, healthier, and live longer. Love cures, wrote the es-teemed psychiatrist Karl Menninger. It cures both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.

This story illustrates in dramatic fashion Jesus’ teaching about the close relationship between giving and receiving. Following The Beatitudes in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus summarized “Give and it shall be given to you…..” The implication is that we are what we give. The only way to secure who we are, what we are, and why we are, is to give it away. Jesus also said, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” as our ultimate investment beyond this life. How do we do that? Jesus’ rationale becomes clear in the two great commandments that make love for God and love for others supreme and dependent on the life of faith.

All by itself love is just a concept, an ideal that lacks definition. As a principle, love cannot be adequately under-stood apart from practice. Love becomes real only in the action of giving. You can see love by a parent sharing the pain or joy of their child, or friends sharing an embrace. You can hear love in words spoken to comfort or to forgive. You can touch love by receiving or giving a gift. God is the source of that love that we seek to share: ”For He so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that in Him we might have life.”

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Study the Church! Get Confirmed! Get Received!

An Inquirers’ Class will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 5. This class will meet all but one Thursday a month (that Thursday when Vestry is scheduled), except when Fr. Blaine is on vacation during August and September. We have five people signed up already, so you will have company. If you have never been Confirmed or Received by a Bishop, this is the preparation for that (Bishop Mary is scheduled to be here on October 5th). If you have, this is still a place where we can talk about what it means to be a Christian of the Episcopal form. All questions are acceptable. You do not have to be at every class to participate, but the more you can be at the better for all of us. Either let Fr. Blaine know you want to come; or just show up; or call Fr. Blaine to ask any questions you need answered to know if you want to take part. Contrary to any rumors you may have heard, a free Rolls Royce will not be given out to each student. However, one never knows what can happen when the bishop lays hands on one...

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Catholic Women Priests? History Makers Visited St. Andrew’s

Diane Whalen, along with two others involved in the Catholic woman priest movement, visited St. Andrew’s on Feb. 9 during their trip here for the ordination of Christine Fahrenbach in Santa Cruz. Blaine & Elizabeth received the following in an email from a Pacific Northwest friend. “Just to let you know what big things are going on in Olympia with women you may know. Diane Whalen, Kathleen Bellefuille-Rice and Lisa Gosiosco are following their call to Roman Catholic priest-hood. Diane was ordained four years ago, Kathleen will be ordained this coming Saturday and Lisa sometime in the future. The documentary, “God’s Daughters,” was made over a period of a year and tells their story and the story of the Holy Wisdom Community. The film will premiere publicly May 26th in Olympia. “

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Summer Reminder

We want you to enjoy your summer vacation, but we hope you will remember that St. Andrew’s doors are still open during the summer months. We will still need your pledges and offerings to keep us alive during this time when many of you go out of town ……just as you need to pay your bills whether you are actually at home or not. So, we depend on you and the good Lord to get us through these months of leisure and refreshment. Hopefully, you will be reminded to do so. That’s how He works!

For those of you who are new to St. Andrew's, our church operates on a pre-planned budget each year, composed of income and expenses. Although we own our property, we still have the expense of maintenance for our buildings and grounds, utilities, and the salaries & benefits for our Rector, Office Manager, and Music Director (In-reach). Because our staff is part-time, we depend greatly on volunteer-time. In last month’s newsletter we shared with you a list of all the programs we support in our community and the world (Outreach). Our Income is received mainly from pledges, but also ‘Plate’, gifts,’ and fundraisers. The latter being more estimates of what we can expect, while Pledge cards represent your commitment to God’s work through St. Andrews, and, hopefully, can be more depended upon. A percentage of our total income also goes to the Diocese to support larger area-wide ministries.

If you have not completed a pledge card for this year, and are led to do so, they are located by the front door of the Church. (green in color). They can be placed in the offering plate or handed to an usher.

Thank you for your prayers & support,
Your Stewardship Committee,
Jennifer Kennedy, Karen von Groningen, Kim Rooks, Rochelle Kelly

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Corinna Stevenson (June 2)
Mario Landeros (June 5)
Ana Wooliscroft (June 8)
Karen Van Groningen (June 9)
Jamie Mello (June 10)
Sarah Townsend (June 11)
Sandi Templeman (June 17)
Joe Mello (June 18)
Roxanne Spring (June 21)
Lynn Mooney (June 22)
Duquan Ruff (June 25)
Cory Marello (June 26)
Carol Freeman (July 12)
Deidre Guindon (July 13)
Peggy Dwyer (July 30)
Doreen Anderson (July 31)
Erin Newfield (July 31)

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The Back Page...

Coins of the Realm - Elizabeth Forbes

To be a deacon is to serve. And with two exceptions, whatever a deacon does can be done by lay people. These exceptions are: reading the Gospel in services and presiding at Communion from Reserved Sacrament in a public worship service. (Lay people may preside at private communions in homes and hospitals.) So why do we ordain deacons? Are we all deacons? All ministries are service-based so maybe there’s a case for that.

The difference between diaconal and lay ministries is subtle, vaguely understood, difficult to articulate, and seems to reside more in the intention than in the act. Deacons are official representatives of the church, bear the church’s authority, work for and are accountable to the bishop, and have that official status in the eyes of the public. Deacons need to understand the parameters of their authority and be in consultation with their bishop.

Flip the coin over and we find lay persons ministering by their own choice and in their own authority as they follow Christ’s personal call. They may organize and/or staff a food bank; walk the streets where the homeless are; take communion to the housebound; stir recognition of call in others; or an infinite number of other services, in and outside the church. To be a Christian is to serve.

“Who are the ministers of the church?” asks the Catechism. Then it answers, “The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.” We are all ministers. Our ministry as lay persons “is to rep-resent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the church.”

The Catechism says that “the ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments.” It also starts out with that same phrase, “…to represent Christ and his Church…,” in describing the ministry of bishops and priests, emphasizing the shared ministry of all Christ’s people. But it doesn’t do much to differentiate between lay ministry and diaconal ministry.

The seven descriptors in last month’s the back page come from our own diocese’s School for Deacons, and they define what the School teach-es as the general parameters of diaconal ministry. At this time, Bishop Mary and the diocesan leadership are seeking candidates for the diaconate who are called to #6 in that list – those who see an unmet need in the community and gather others to develop an ongoing response. This is generally referred to as the community developer model, based on the work of organizations like the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF, begun in 1940) and Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA, begun in 2003). Both of these organizations demonstrate in their work, and teach others, how to change the economic, social, political and cultural pressures on their families through the power of working together (from the IAF web site, q.v.). These are power-to-the-people groups and they can be every bit as radical as Jesus.

Lay and diaconal ministries and calling are two different sides of the same coin. One side is an official and public instrument of the institutional Church; the other is an individual and private calling. Each one of us is called by the Spirit to serve – primarily in the world, but also in the Church -- in a different part of the work, based on inherent gifts, learned skills, and the shape of our spirits. There is an infinite variety of gifts and calling, and each has an essential place in the body of Christ.

Which side of t he coin are you? Our diocese wants two deacons in every congregation. Are you one of them? Or is God calling you to the lay ministry side of the coin? How has God used you to serve his world? Has it been in a short-term project? Or is it a more generalized approach to longer term service? Both? Have you ever thought of it as a calling? Do you feel you are doing God’s work in your employment? Is it God who steered you in that direction?

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If you are interested in submitting an article in next month's newsletter, contact Elizabeth Forbes or Paula Jansen.