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February 1, 2017, 11:52 AM

A word at mid-week 2/1

Hello and happy hump day!

This past week we celebrated the 100th Annual Meeting at St. Matthew's! Thank you all who made this event possible - both those who attend and those who, over the past 100 years, made St. Matt's what it is today! 

Our Gospel lesson was the famous "Sermon on the Mount" or "the Beatitude" - one of Jesus' early sermons shortly after he was baptized, tempted, and called his first disciples. It was a sermon of sermons, one that would spark the great "Jesus Movement" that we share in today, over 2,000 years later! Perhaps at first glance, the sermon seems less of a rallying cry or a motivational speech and more like a sermon about brokenness and grieving and defeat. After all, Jesus says "blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are persecuted" and not "blessed are the powerful, those who overcome adversity, those who rule, those who have it all!" But, what Jesus teaches us is how to recognize blessedness when we see it - starting with ourselves and those around us. 

What might happen if we took the Sermon on the Mount to heart? Could we change the world? Could we face into all that might threaten us? The disciples embraced their blessedness and began to see it in others, the way Jesus did. Their community became a place of blessing to those who the world refused to bless. They loved those that the world treated as unloveable. And, they redeemed those that the world cast aside. By taking Jesus' commandments ("blessed are those...") to heart, they saw that God's kingdom was right in front of them as they honored each other as God's children, as they bore each other's burdens, and as they bound up wounds. And, you know what happened? The world around them changed and transformed one deed, one act, one step at a time - and we have the last 2,000 plus years of stories and ministry as evidence of this truth! What might be possible for us? How will our deeds, our actions, our steps change and transform the world? Please, see my sermon, below.

There is a lot of information in this week's Word at Midweek. The column to the left has the January Vestry Minutes and the Annual Meeting Minutes for all that would like to read more. 

Congratulations to Greg Staab, Rector's Warden, Jeff Weir, People's Warden, and Celeste Sheets-Eaton, Vestry Member.

Thank you to outgoing Vestry Members: Natalie Weir, Don Runyon, and Zella Rosene! Thank you for your service to St. Matthew's, especially these past 3 years! 

BIG THANK YOU goes to Bill McMahon who has served for ten years as St. Matthew's treasurer and is retiring from that role. The Vestry elected Natalie Weir to serve as Treasurer.

I also want to thank many of you who spoke to me about appreciating the St. Matthew's Most Valuable Congregant Awards! Every adult parishioner received the award plus the stories and naming of many attributes and gifts such as, child care, committee work, leadership positions, positive attitudes, Altar Guild work, Bible Study participation, willingness to help on building projects, food preparation, working with building partners, the Book, Yarn, and Prayer Club, Daughters of the King, meaningful participation in adult forums, managing Servant Keeper, volunteering for liturgical ministries, generous donations for outreach, health care programming, generous and welcoming spirits, webmaster work, photography assistance, many sorts of music ministries, social media savvy, contributions to Waycross and other Episcopal entities, office assistance, newsletter preparation, prison ministry, groundskeeping, energy and enthusiasm, and staying strong in the face of numerous obstacles. And the list could go on and on!!!

Finally, I received word today that ICAN (Irvington Churches Advocacy Network) was presented with the first portion of two of the Episcopal Fund for Human Need grant of $250. The plan for distribution of this grant is to be able to financially assist neighbors in need with an additional $25 per financial request, so instead of $75 towards rent/utilities, ICAN will be able to give $100.

God's love to you all! Fr. Frank


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