St. Mary’s, Eugene, Celebrates the 2019 J2A Pilgrimage on September 24
Themed dinners, “Evenings at St. Mary’s,” are a regular part
of the program calendar. The theme of the first “Evening” of this year was the
2019 Journey to Adulthood (J2A) Pilgrimage to England and France.
J2A is St. Mary’s middle-school through high-school Christian education program. About every three years, high-school youth plan and organize their pilgrimage. The Pilgrimage is not a vacation, but a carefully designed journey intended to strengthen the faith of participants.
This year, nine youth and 4 adults participated in the 2019 pilgrimage. They visited four cities: London, Canterbury, Oxford, and Paris. In 12 days, they:
went to 9 churches and church ruins;
worshipped together daily;
attended services in four Cathedrals (Southwark in London, Canterbury Cathedral Crypt, Christ Church in Oxford, and the American Episcopal Cathedral, Paris);
walked parts of the Pilgrim’s Paths in Oxford and Canterbury;
had a special session with theologian and author Alister McGrath;
learned more about Anglican tradition;
ate meals together;
and bonded as a group of friends in faith.
Managing the Carbon Footprint
A part of the pilgrims’ plan was to respect and experience nature throughout the trip. They recognized that while the pilgrimage would be a wonderful experience, transportation for the trip would also come at a cost to the earth.
Pilgrims planned the trip to maximize walking within each city (over 86 miles walked per pilgrim), as well as use of bus and train during their travel within and between cities. The youth calculated the carbon footprint of using airplanes, trains, buses and cars during the trip. They estimated that the group would be responsible for about 42 tons added atmospheric CO2.
As a part of fundraising, they set a goal of $420 to contribute to two Lane County nature organizations to help offset this CO2 impact. Their efforts, matched by others in the congregation, raised $1,000.
At the Evenings at St. Mary’s dinner, two J2A participants presented $500 checks each to the Faith Community Fund* of the Long Tom Watershed Council (LTWC) and the McKenzie River Trust (MRT) to be used for tree planting and restoration of watersheds/wetlands. Both organizations help protect and reclaim nature’s ways of absorbing CO2 and preserving watersheds.
*Within “Earth Keepers,” a local inter-faith group, St. Mary’s has led in setting up the Faith Community Fund. This fund accepts donations for these two local organizations for tree planting and restoration of watersheds/wetlands. The Faith Community Fund urges members of all congregations to consider supporting these organizations as part of their environmental stewardship. (See “Local Partnerships For Addressing Your Carbon Footprint” at: http://www.saint-marys.org/outreach)
Earlier this year, Greta Thunberg and 46 other youth activists issued a call to everyone around the globe to join them in a massive climate strike on September 20th. The Climate Strike will kick-off a week of mass, escalated actions between Sept 20-28.
School strikers are calling on everyone ― young people, parents, workers, and all concerned people ― to join a massive climate strike on September 20th to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.
In Portland on Friday, September 20, there will be an interfaith service and spiritual gathering time from 10:00 to 10:30 at Terry Schrunk Plaza (across the street from City Hall). This is led by EcoFaith Recovery and supported by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. All Episcopalians are welcome! We encourage you to come together with members of your congregation. Wear your congregational t-shirts, bring your singing voices, banners and musical instruments if you like, and be prepared to make a joyful noise.
Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.
This week is our chance to show the politicians and fossil fuel billionaires that the real power lies with the people. This week is your chance to join the climate justice movement, and put a stop to business as usual.
In every state and every city people are stepping out their normal routines for a day or a week by taking action locally, whether that means sitting in at city halls, shutting down fossil fuel infrastructure, or marching to the governor’s office. It’s going to take all of us to change everything and there’s no better time to join us.
Where: The Diocese of Navajoland
We will be hosted by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Good Shepherd Episcopal Mission in Fort Defiance, Arizona. They are excited to have our group return to Navajoland!
When: Deadline for applications is March 23, 2018.
The trip will be August 4 – 10, 2018.
Attendance at two pre-meetings is expected, dates & times TBD
Why: “To seek and serve Christ in all persons,
loving our neighbors as ourselves”;
to share in Christian community and service;
and to explore another part of our church and country.
How: Complete the application below. The fee for this event is $350 and covers transportation, food, and lodging. A $50 deposit and the application are due by March 23, 2018.
Episcopal Week at Suttle Lake Camp will be July 23 – 28, 2018. It is for children and youth currently in grades 1-12. Registration is now open. There is an Early Bird Discount for registrations made before May 5.
Information about all the camp & retreat options available to us through our partnership with the Camp & Retreat Ministries of the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church is online at GoCamping.org.
I’ve been thinking a lot about our children’s ministry lately. What is going on there? Why is there so much growth? Why do those children look so happy?
If there were a single answer we could write a book and save the Church. I want to share a few reflections on it, because we are on to something and it could really shape the future of this parish.
The starting point of everything we do here with our children is the children. Revolutionary! This is the great gift that Tina Heidrick brings us as the leader of this ministry. A guiding principal of one of the major schools of home schooling is that you follow the children’s lead. Discern their interests, needs, gifts and limitations, and put the education in that path. If you can harness the natural learning momentum that every child has, they will pull the train themselves because they want to learn. They want to grow. They want to be in relationship with each other, with those teaching them, and most importantly, with God.
Tina, with the able assistance of Hilary, Aria, and the wonderful classroom volunteers follow the children. And where are the children leading us? Community. I think that the center of gravity of our children’s programs are that the children love to be together. It is a vital and vibrant circle of friends. And it is an open circle, meaning that our children are very good at welcoming others into that circle. I have never seen such inclusivity amongst children (and rarely among adults). Not perfect, but they are coming from a lot of different kinds of families with a lot of different experiences of the world and the peals of laughter as the run around the back of the church (and the absence of much tweeny drama) attests to how well it usually goes.
Families, children, are hungry for positive, wholesome community. That has been formed by following the children’s lead, by sending monthly newsletters addressed to each child at home (always an exciting day at our post office box), by sending birthday cards, by giving parents a break and relying on non-parents as volunteers, by special seasonal programs and liturgies like the brilliant Ash Wednesday service.
If children are hungry for wholesome community, they are starving for wholesome community with a purpose. That we offer, too. The cloud of relationships is an end, and a means to an end. Educationally, there are three goals we have.
First, is to cultivate the naturally occurring relationship that all children have with God. Jesus is very clear about this fact. We emphasize that God is not just found in church, but in every minute of every day of their lives. And we work on ways to keep that in front of them: prayer, religious practice, grace before meal times, being reverent here at church.
Second, is to teach them the Christian story. Scripture, the Church, seasons and the Mass, saints and songs. Christianity is a heritage and it is being passed on. Godly Play is especially good at this.
Finally, our goal is to help form moral human beings in this complicated world. Relationship is the best teacher. Well, truly, love is. From our lectionary this week we read, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” Our children are loved, and are asked to love each other, and love is the very perfect teacher.
Our children are hungry for this. Our world is starving for this. All of our futures depend on it.
So that is what I think we are on to. Why is it blossoming right now? My guess is critical mass. No one wants to teach, be in, or leave their child in a classroom with one other student. How gloomy is that! But three or four, or nine or ten smiling, lively faces with smiling and lively teachers and it becomes a place that anyone would want to be, and the children do! (And reports are that the kids are dragging their parents to church!) I know in our family, after a late Egan night or the weeds in the garden calling on a gorgeous spring day, Windy can never skip church because the girls wouldn’t have it.
That is my take on the state of our children’s ministry. It is very good and if we are able to direct our resources, it can grow into something simply amazing!