O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. Collect, Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Sunday after Ascension Day pg. 226, Book of Common Prayer
“Do not leave us comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us….” Today an interesting thing happened at the Corbin Rotary Club. The attendance was very small and a number of people came to eat and left early. Because I don’t attend Rotary that often, I thought maybe that’s just how things are in mid-May.
But then, Milly Burkhart got up and gave a list of the speakers’ accomplishments and finally introduced her husband, The Rev. John Burkhart. Father Burkhart, waded into controversial waters in this community. He spoke with compassion and clarity and scientific fact about homosexuality is not an abomination, but rather, like heterosexuality, an expression of our human nature. Of the few people who were left, about half challenged him, but others agreed and told heartrending stories of people who were homosexual and the challenging times they had.
Of course, the main opposition to Father John’s presentation was that the Bible says it’s wrong. When I said that Jesus said more about divorce and nothing about homosexuality and that I was the one who should be condemned, I never received a response. I asked how the church moved to being okay with divorce. The words of Paul in Romans 1 26-27 were given as support for condemning homosexuality; however, most scholars and students of Paul’s time say Paul was not referring to the inborn nature or sexual orientation, but to the “immoderate indulgence” in sexual behavior.
Father Burkhart presented the middle way — that we may not agree and we must each ultimately come to our own conclusions, yet we somehow must love each other and find ways to be in community with each other.
I was blessed to witness this courageous proclamation.
Being true to our God-created nature is so very difficult for some in our region. They face significant rejection, condemnation, and a lack of comfort. They need much strength to continue to live in the community and in the culture they love deeply. St. John’s and The Episcopal Church often provide an answer to the prayer in our Collect this Sunday…providing comfort and strengthening us by the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Blessings as you finish your week!
News & Notes
Schedule: Rebecca will be at St. Agnes’ House Monday through Thursday. Her Sabbath will be Friday. You may leave a message for Rebecca by calling the church office at 606-528-1659 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Godly Play: All children are invited to participate in Godly Play, a special program of Spiritual development each Sunday morning at 10:00am.
Adult Forum: This Sunday we conclude our series on ways to pray. Next Sunday we begin a summer series on the Gospel of John.
Al-Anon Family Group: An Al-Anon Family Group meets in St. John’s Parish Hall on Tuesdays from 7-8pm.
Work Day: A Parish work day has been scheduled for Saturday, May 30 starting at 9:00am. There are several areas of concern to be addressed, such as mulching, lattice-work around the amphitheater, and caulking the windows. Please let Billy Hibbitts know that you are available and willing to help. You may also come by and take your Prevention of Sexual Misconduct (POSM) training if needed.
Pentecost Peace Cranes: Stay after church this Sunday to make these origami peace cranes used to decorate the church for Pentecost on Sunday, May 24.
Fun, fun, fun: The next Family Game Night is May 22nd, from 6:30 – 8:30pm in the Parish Hall. Bring your favorite games, snacks, and drinks. Pizza will be provided.
United Thank Offering: The ingathering for United Thank Offering is this Sunday, May 17. Remember to bring your thank offering boxes AND pick up another one for the fall ingathering. A thank offering box is a great way to give thanks and gratitude each day. When combined with thousands of others, it supports wonderful projects in The Episcopal Church.
Grow Appalachia: The Grow Appalachia committee will meet Thursdays evenings at 6pm through the month of May.
Pot Luck Sunday: Sunday May 31 is our monthly pot luck. We will also be having the first stage of the celebration of the Rev. Rebecca Myers ministry at St. John’s.
The Good Goodbye: The Rev. Rebecca Myers’ last Sunday will be June 7. Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin will be present on behalf of the diocesan leadership to lead us in a Litany of Leave-taking.
2015 Goals: The Vestry has adopted the following goals for 2015, in line with our recently adopted Mission Statement; Proclaiming the Gospel, promoting justice, and preparing a diverse community of seekers to reflect the welcoming love of Christ:
- Support Al-Anon group meeting at the Church.
- List St. John’s Church on theIntegrity and Believe Out Loud websites as an open and welcoming church, especially for people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning.
- Remodel space for use as a sacristy.
- Repurpose the parlor.
- Serve as a site for the KCEOC Summer Lunch program for youth ages 18 and under.
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