St. Francis Episcopal Church in Fair Oaks, California, is the first parish in the Diocese of Northern California to open a Senior Produce Market. Seniors are able to purchase low cost produce in small quantities. Seventy Seniors attended the opening day. The Rev. Aileen Aidnik said that "after we get really established with a regular group of shoppers, we will offer classes in food prep for singles, blood pressure monitoring, how to use specialty items of the week, and we are also planning to offer the Living Compass’s Mindful Eating course over 4 sessions" They also have a small Medical Equipment closet and will soon be seeking donations. The plan is to offer the medical equipement to the surrounding community of St. Francis for free. For more information contact: The Rev. Aileen Aidnik RN Parish Nurse at St. Francis email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After the Charleston Shootings at Emmanuel African Methodist-Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015, I was trying to write a response. As I was reviewing my Facebook, a post that was reposted by a friend of mine stood out to me. This is a letter to the people of St. Philips Episcopal Church in Columbus by their rector Fr. Charles Wilson:
A Response to the Charleston shootings: Prayers for Remembrance, Reconciliation, and Resolve
Dear People of St. Philip and Friends,
I was in Charleston last week.
I don't write that in the same way we mean when responding to news that the roller coaster we were on yesterday goes off the track today. Or, the road we traveled on this morning was the scene of an accident in the afternoon. Or, the beach we played on last week is now smashed by a hurricane.
What I mean when I write that I was in Charleston last week is not to say "there but for the grace of God go I...". What I mean is that having been there last week, I know something of that place. I know now the history of the church and how it started and its history. And I know how it has marched through challenges that rival the horrible obscenity that fell on them last night.
Knowing something about these types of shootings in the country's own recent history we know something, too, of this shooting. There are no firsts here, only the grinding familiarity of a grinding violence that perhaps we too know about but maybe not enough.
Or so we might tell ourselves.
I think we know enough and with that knowledge the Church has to say again, enough is enough. And say it again, and say it again, until the world knows we believe it, and will then understand we mean it.
The Church knows the way. We know enough. We know that as tempting as it might be to pray for revenge, retribution, and a righteous recourse for our rage all that will get us is more of the same.
Instead, our response must be one of remembrance for those lost last night. For reconciliation with one another and those who dream of causing us harm. And we are to pray for resolve that God's way, Jesus' way is the right way to respond.
That last one might be the most important. And we may not have enough.
The picture above is of Emmanuel African Methodist-Episcopal. I chose this picture because it stands tall where it is. It always has.
Today and tonight, St. Philip will stand with our brothers and sisters of Emmanuel. The church will be open for prayer all day today. Tonight at 7p we will offer a service of Holy Communion with prayers for remembering, reconciliation, and resolve.
I invite you to be with us as we seek to be with them from afar. I invite you to share this news with the reminder Emmanuel means "God is with us". And as God has been with us, let us be with them.
I was in Charleston last week. God is calling us to be there with Emmanuel tonight and in the days ahead.
Peace to you, in love and thanksgiving,
Charles Wilson +
Follow up: There were about 25 or so members of the parish with another few from the community outside of St. Philip. Also, the AA group, which focuses mostly on women, suspended their meeting to join us. We tolled the chimes for each of those lost, we celebrated communion and we sang hymns of lament but resolve as well.
It has been awhile since we have posted. There has been a lot of behind the scenes activity since January when EHM became a completely volunteer organization. Unfortunately, EHM was no longer able to pay Matthew Ellis and Sue Hacker. We will miss their ministry of hospitality, organization and advocacy and thank them for all of their dedication to EHM. The board members and regional representatives have continued to meet by phone discerning the course that EHM will follow. Bishop John Rabb (retired) of Maryland has continued to be our chairperson. Nancy Threadgill has volunteered to become our treasure.
The Regional Representatives: Ginny Wagenseller (Province I), Sharon Longsdon (Provice III). . Helen Bhagwanden (Province IV) Maryfran Crist (Province V), Carol Peterson (Province VI), Reverend Jos Tharakan (Province VII) and Mary Margaret Davis (Province VIII) have been meeting by telephone twice a month. Bev Bennett, one of the original founders of NEHM has volunteered to help us in any way that she is able. Linda Heitger (Province V) is continuing the twice-monthly cycle of prayers, attempting to manage the webpage and is the 2016 Conference Chairperson. Yes there will be a Fall 2016 Conference in Indianapolis!!!! Celebrating 20 years of Episcopal Health Ministries.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1/20/15
Contact: The Right Rev. John Rabb
Chairman, Board of Directors
Episcopal Health Ministries
EHM appoints team of board members to manage transition
Indianapolis, IN: The Board of Directors of Episcopal Health Ministries, facing the reality of the funding environment, has concluded that we can no longer maintain our current staffing.
In appreciation for the excellent work done by Matthew Ellis, CEO, and Sue Nelson, Office Manager, we have made appropriate arrangements for them to be able to seek other opportunities while assisting the board’s transition team with essential duties.
We are all quite grateful for Matt’s leadership for these past eight years and it is with thanks and sadness that we take these actions. The board remains committed to health and wellness and is exploring our next steps for a volunteer-driven ministry.
We have appointed a team of board members to manage this transition. I ask for your prayers during this time of discernment.
About Episcopal Health Ministries: EHM promotes health ministry in Episcopal congregations, assisting them to reclaim the Gospel imperative of health and wholeness. We provide resources and links to national partners, highlighting new program models and connecting health ministers throughout the church.
Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:
The Doctor Who Championed Hand-Washing And Briefly Saved Lives from NPR
This is the story of a man whose ideas could have saved a lot of lives and spared countless numbers of women and newborns' feverish and agonizing deaths. You'll notice I said "could have."
Vicar of Dibley to be made a bishop? from Episcopal Cafe
The one-off special, which has been filmed this weekend in central London locations and is named The Bishop of Dibley, will see Dawn reprise the role of Geraldine Granger.
Make-Up and Medicine in the Middle Ages from Medievalists.net
It’s easy to differentiate between cosmetic and medical procedures in the present day but if we take a look back at the Middle Ages, the distinction wasn’t always so clear. Thanks to several prominent medical writers, we can get a glimpse of how medieval medicine viewed the use of cosmetics, and how some of these products were used.
Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!
The events surrounding the death of Thomas Palermo in Maryland are tragic for all. I don't pretend to know anything about the circumstances that involve Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook and this collision so I will refrain from any comment on the specific situation.
However, I would like to add my voice to others in the Church who are concerned about the prominent role that alcohol plays in our gatherings. Episcopal Health Ministries has long been conscious of the pressures of social events and the need for a response to those struggling with addiction in these situations.
We have held an annual national conference for our organization since 2008. Several years ago, we were asked to include time for a 'Friends of Bill' meeting during our gathering. We provided a simple room and time on the agenda for this meeting. Later, as our conference closed, we were discussing the impact of the conference and take-aways for participants. I was surprised and honored to have several participants speak of their deep gratitude for this simple gesture.
We have included time for these meetings at every conference that followed, always with a similar, if private, gratitude.
I remember these conversations and how they alerted me to the near-constant presence of alcohol at many church gatherings. It is with these reflections in mind that I read these two blogs this morning:
An essay by William A. (Bill) Doubleday reprinted in Episcopal Cafe notes:
I have long been troubled by the number of Episcopalians – clergy, seminarians, and laity – who regularly or occasionally drink to serious levels of excess. I expect most readers of this article can recollect Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Professors, Lay Leaders, Congregants, Family Members, and others whose lives were marred and probably shortened by the excess use or abuse of alcohol. I suspect we all are acquainted those who struggle with being Adult Children of Alcoholics or with serious Co-dependency Issues. I would be remiss if I did not say that dependence on illegal drugs or prescription medications usually echo the negative dynamics of Alcoholism, often coupled with more complex issues of illegality and criminality. Process addictions such as gambling, shopping, credit card use, and a variety of others, also should not be overlooked.
Dean Mike Kinman of Christ Church Cathedral in Missouri:
I know that my own Diocese of Missouri had an active alcoholic as a bishop when I first arrived here as a college student in 1986. His name is Bill Jones. I know there was an intervention done at the end of his tenure and that he lives now in courageous long-term recovery but that our diocese has never truly addressed his alcoholism – or the systems of dysfunction that led us to call him, sustained him and did not magically disappear when he left office.
I know that our own Christ Church Cathedral was serving alcohol at Chapter meetings when I arrived here. I know that consumption of alcohol was a central part not just of Cathedral social events but committee meetings. I also know that when we brought Dale Kuhn from Care and Counseling in to do two sessions with the Chapter and two more with the congregation on the topic of addiction and family systems, there was a great deal of pushback and some people left the congregation.
The statements in these blogs ring true in my own experience, which includes a significant number of national church meetings, including General Convention and other committee work. Most of these involved a very real presence of alcohol in the evening. To be clear, I am not saying that everyone (or even anyone) was intoxicated to excess or inappropriate. I'm simply stating that alcohol was conspicuously present, and nearly every time.
What do I mean by conspicuously present? I mean that nearly everyone had a drink in their hand and if for some reason you did not, then it was assumed you needed one and regular offers would be made to get you one. If you were drinking a non-alcoholic beverage, you would be asked to explain why you weren't drinking. It seems odd to have to explain why you aren't drinking while you are actually holding a beverage, but I don't make the rules.
Perhaps I noticed this culture more because it had been pointed out to me by friends but I also know that I noticed it because I am one of those people who, for the most part, doesn't drink. This is not because I am addicted to alcohol. The primary reason I drink very little is that I often get crushing headaches after the slightest bit of alcohol. It is not unusual for me to have no more than two beers with friends over the course of an evening and wake up the next morning with a terrible migraine. This often gets worse during times of stress, dehydration, and travel, which means at most job-related events I choose to abstain entirely so I can be at my best for the actual work to be done.
The second reason I avoid alcohol at these times is because of a certain... self-awareness. I often have strong opinions on politics, current events, and the New England Patriots (I'm against them). It is not always appropriate to voice these in an uninhibited manner. I have a hard enough time controlling my comments and behavior when completely sober; the last thing I want to do is overstep my bounds because of impaired judgment.
All of this to say that we definitely have a culture of alcohol friendliness, if not outright abuse in our church. It's an open secret that many of our clergy struggle with issues related to addiction. So do many of our lay leaders, congregants, and other church employees.
I hope that the recent events in Maryland are provoking thoughtful reflection and conversation in all parishes, dioceses, and national meetings on the role of alcohol in our community. It would be all too easy to look at the extreme events in Maryland and believe they don't apply to us. I would argue differently; these events, while unusually severe, are not an anomaly. They reveal a significant cultural practice that is often at odds with our stated values.
Perhaps this is a good time to reconsider the role of alcohol in the Church?