Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, invites us into His Eternal Kingdom. To the spiritually thirsty, He gives the water of life. Come, drink, quench your thirst.
Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, invites us into His Eternal Kingdom. To the spiritually thirsty, He gives the water of life. Come, drink, quench your thirst.
- If he is really a King, what does that mean for us?
- What are the political ramifications?
- What does this mean for race relations?
- What about the splits between denominations?
- What about the most obvious split in humanity—that between the sexes?
If Jesus is King then all these difference fade in importance, don’t they? I am blessed to have you join me and many others to pray for unity and reconciliation in the church. My sense is that if the church doesn’t do the work of reconciliation under Jesus now, then we will have a much harder work to do later.
Praying to Overcome the Racial Divide
It is clear that Jesus intended for us to be one across racial lines: he came for the Jews and the Greeks. Jesus said we must be born again and Paul wrote that we should:
“put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Col 3:10-11)
- Do you know that you have a new self?
Does it sometimes fight with the old one?
- How have you been hurt by folks of other races?
- How is that similar or different than when you are hurt by people of your own race?
- How have you hurt others of a different race?
- How does Jesus’ command to forgive inform, or not inform, your treatment of people different than you?
- Has racial fear ever overcome your faith?
- How about overcoming the power of the church in your experience?
- How has the Lord’s command to “be not afraid” informed, or not informed, your relations with those of other races?
This discussion is meant to be an open forum whereby all can share thoughts feelings and fears in order to grow and edify the Kingdom of God and Christ’s Church. Please feel free to speak openly and freely, with respect to all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Christ the Center of a Divided Country Politically, it seems that we are more divided than at any time since the days of the Vietnam War. While I am not sure what stories to trust as I hear the news–stories about Muslim women threatened with burning, if they don’t take off headscarves and of conservatives dragged out of cars at intersections and beaten—I wouldn’t put any of it past us as humans and am clear that we are becoming more anxious and fearful as a nation.
It seems that we are in danger of falling apart at the seams. How can Christians help? Many Christians voted one way and many more another. Are we truly divided or is Christ strong enough to hold us together? Another way to ask this is to consider if Jesus really is a King and is his Kingdom accessible and present to us in the United States of America in the year 2016?
We might turn to The Lord of the Rings to help us think through the complexities of the current moment. After the hobbit Pippin asks Treebeard, the powerful shepherd of trees, what side he is on, Treebeard replies: “Side? I am not on anyone’s side because no one is on my side.” Christians should probably be saying this. “I’m not on any party’s side perfectly because no party is on my side.” And we might add, “and the side of Jesus.” (picture of treebeard?)
The binary nature of our recent election felt insufficient because it is insufficient: neither of the major parties adequately expresses a Christian platform. Many thoughtful people wrestled long and hard before casting a vote for the candidate. An unprecedented amount left the presidential portion of the ticket blank. Maybe our hesitancy to get behind a candidate without reservation represented the need we have for Jesus to be at the center of our political life.
- If Jesus were at the center, how would we do things differently?
- How does his willingness to tell the truth even when it angered others give us courage to stand up for righteousness?
- And how should his willingness to suffer and die for others inform the way we treat those who differ and even persecute us?
I’ve noticed something for a while now…it is easier for each of us to see someone else’s inconsistencies than our own. Jesus encourages us to take the log out of our own eye before attempting to help another with his vision.
This becoming clear-eyed enough to be helpful then is a process. And if we don’t go through the process of being healed ourselves, how then can we expect to help something so great as our nation?
Perhaps this is what God was getting at as he encouraged Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
First let’s work on ourselves. In what way is God asking you to humble yourself? How are you being called to repentance?
Fr Ken Tanner of Redeemer Anglican in Rochester offered a series of benedictions (in italics) that prompted my questions below:
May you recall that political movements and boundaries and personalities and programs are here one day and gone the next. All of these are passing away.
Am I tying myself to something temporal rather than to the King of Kings who transcends time?
May you resist the temptation to place ultimate trust in any person, policy, party, movement, or nation — even a beautiful idea that is embodied by a nation — because there is no nation with an eternal foundation.
How much weight do I put on the government or on a party or on the possibility of our parties working together? Am I looking to the three branches of US Government like I should be looking at the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Am I substituting America for the Kingdom?
May you have empathy for the political decisions of others that you find troubling — particularly those of family and close friends. May you have ears to hear what lies at the heart of their political concerns, and eyes to see the noble but imperfect search for goodness that is motivating their choice, especially if you strongly disagree with the candidate, party, or politics they support.
Am I looking for the worst in my fellow citizens, or am I open to what is good in them as well? If I sense good in them as well as bad, am I focusing solely on the bad and judging them for it? How does this go with (or contradict) Paul’s encouragement to us: “brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
I will conclude with two prayers from the Book of Common Prayer
A Prayer in times of Conflict
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer attributed to St. Francis
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Pastor Allen Kannapell
Vestry Minutes for December 16, 2015
Opened with prayer by Pastor Allen at 7:03 p.m.
Special request for prayers for Mary Jane Danko for family peace as she battles final stages of Alzheimer’s. Prayers for full recovery of Tom Bertino
Attendance: Pastor Allen, Fred Johnson, Barbara Middlekauff, Dave Morphew, Susan George, Russ McDonald, David Morphew
Minutes: Remove word “of” a possible adjustment in Minute’s section, and add “be” to Appreciation note to be addressed in section following Vestry Nominations. Dave Morphew made a motion to accept as amended; Barbara Middlekauff seconded. Approved.
Finance Report: November giving down 6%, attendance up. Drafted budget continues to be developed and reviewed by Finance Committee. Allan was excused while remaining vestry, discussed distribution of remaining undesignated funds as potential bonus’ for clergy, and support staff for 2016. Treasurer, Russ McDonald identified a total of ~$9,000 total undesignated funds and requested vestry discuss and determine what portion, if any, should be distributed before year end. A motion was made by Barbara Middlekauff and seconded by Dave Morphew, to distribute funds as follows:
Bonus for Allen $5,000
Bonus for Noreen $500
Bonus for Greg $400
Bonus for Dean $400
Bonus for Ryan $300
Balance of $2,400 may be dispositioned by vestry at a later date. Motion was voted and approved unanimously
To strengthen and prepare our parish, we will launch a small group study: Allen requested vestry take a leadership position to be involved, either by hosting or participating in small groups. Classes to begin in January and continue for a total of three Bible studies- each based on 90 minutes/week over 5 weeks. Sessions will be conducted in small groups within hosted homes. Locations will be solicited based on geographic location so as to be convenient for maximum member participation. Three sessions, based on three different studies to take place leading up to Easter as follows:
Jan-Feb Philippians : Encouraged in Christ
Feb – Mar Psalms: Praying in every circumstance
April Hebrews: Preeminence of Christ
Review of monies in Mission Fund : Since Justin’s recent visit, activities including the silent auction and other fund raising events, the fund balance stands at $10,392. Total available in the Missions fund year to date is ~$16K. Allen suggested we distribute the full amount minus expenses to Rwanda. After discussion, Dave Morphew motioned to send $10,000 to Rwanda leaving a balance of ~$6,000 for future visits/visitors. Motion was seconded by Barbara Middlekauff and acceptance was unanimous.
Trinity in Transition: Potlucks are going well. Next one is on December 17 at 6 p.m. with a 7 p.m. worship service to follow. Planned combined service on Christmas Day, with Trinity at 10 a.m. Bob Hoey leaving for position as an interim pastor at a church in the Chicago area at end of December. Trinity facing decisions regarding the upcoming change and what is needed for the future ministry of Trinity.
Bishop Search/Diocese: Nothing new. Continue to pray for Allen that he hear clearly what God wants him to say. Decision to be made sometime in January. Allen expressed desire if he was to be chosen that he would like to stay local and be involved with HIS Church and ministry.
New Vestry Nominations: Sue Grunkemeyer, Fred Johnson and Tom Bertino are rotating off and a nominations committee is to be formed between Allen, Fred and Sue to determine future nominees.
Review of Budget Discussions and Prayer Items previously submitted to Vestry for prayer:
Brief review of items took place after quorum was no longer present, informal discussion of the intent of the prayer vigil, target audience, and how budget amount was reached took place. Additional discussions needed by entire vestry at a future meeting.
Next meeting will be on Wednesday, January 20 at 7 p.m.
Adjourned with prayer at 9:06 p.m.
Susan George (vestry member)
Note: After meeting was held an email was sent to the vestry from Russ McDonald, Treasurer, indicating that rather than the ~$9000.00 excess undesignated funds used to plan bonus’, there were truly only ~$6,000 in excess undesignated funds (due to an accounting error.) Via email the vestry was queried and asked if changes were desired regarding above bonus’ now that lesser monies were available. Vestry reviewed and Barbara Middlekauff moved that the plan be amended as follows:
Bonus for Allen $4,300
Bonus for Noreen $ 400
Bonus for Greg $ 300
Bonus for Dean $ 300
Bonus for Ryan $ 200 total $5,500
Plan was seconded by David Morphew and since it was agreed by the four members who were present during the meeting of 12/16 and accepted additionally via email by Chris & Sue – Russ McDonald agreed to proceed with issuing checks.
Vestry Minutes for November 18, 2015
Opened with prayer by Pastor Allen at 7:12 p.m.
Attendance: Pastor Allen, Sue Grunkemeyer, Susan George, Noreen Panizzoli, Russ McDonald, Chris Darnell, David Morphew
Minutes: Change ‘decision’ to ‘discussion’ regarding an adjustment to the reimbursement of Allen’s diocesan travel. Allen made motion to accept as amended; Susan George seconded. Approved.
Homework Ideas for 2016 Budget: Look at expending surplus $7,000. Important to consider a fallback plan, if we need to move from Trinity OR think about the possibility of His Church becoming the lead at Trinity.
Student outreach to Stevenson.
Life in the Spirit type event for 2016.
Support the Easter Vigil.
Small group Bible studies.
Consider salary increases.
Possible budget line for Lay Catechist efforts.
Increase funds to John Musser for Good News Daily.
More focus on children, women’s groups and families.
Network to disperse the discretionary funds for families in crisis or in need.
Finance Report: October was down by $2,000, giving down 9% over 2014. Preliminary budget has been drafted.
- Morning Prayer with a Remembrance of Jesus’ Supper every Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. at Trinity Church to be included on our Facebook page.
- Review of Justin’s visit thus far: Learning how to work with him in his presentations. He has spoken at Hope College, Hamtramck High School, Trinity dinner.
- Trinity: Potlucks on December 3 and 17 at 6 p.m. with 7 p.m. worship service. Christmas Day, with Trinity at 10 a.m. Trinity is realistic about the changes coming and looking at incoming leadership to be an integral part of the important decisions that need to be made for the future ministry of Trinity.
- Greenhouse/Catechists: Chicago prayer gathering attended by Pastor Allen and Pastor Justin.
- Bishop Search/Diocese: Nothing new. Pray for Allen that he hear clearly what God wants him to say. Decision to be made sometime in January
New Vestry Nominations: Sue Grunkemeyer, Fred Johnson and Tom Bertino are rotating off.
Thanks: Appreciation note to be sent to all those who worked on the Dinner for Kivu.
Noodle & Company: Complimentary meal invitation in the New Year to include new Vestry members.
Next meeting will be on Wednesday, December 16 at 7 p.m.
Adjourned with prayer at 8:55 p.m.
Opened with prayer by Allen at 7:05 p.m.
Attendance: Pastor Allen, Sue Grunkemeyer, Susan George, Noreen Panizzoli, Russ McDonald, Chris Darnell, Barbara Middlekauff
Praise and Concerns: Sue Grunkemeyer accepting a new job at St. Joe’s full time, every other weekend. Allen visited with Tom Bertino who continues to recover from quad tear and blessed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Dave Morphew is home ill.
Minutes: Moved by Pastor Allen to accept minutes for September with the following correction. Susan seconded. Approved. Correction: Strategic Partnership: Looking for help to divide and fund their diocese to meet and serve each diocese.
Finance Report: September was second lowest giving month since we formed – down 9% from last year. Designated fund increased by +$1,000. Food pantry up $125. Operating expenses running below projected by approximately $2,000. Financially okay because of the generous gifts but need to be diligent about spending.
Reimbursement for Diocesan Travel: Make an adjustment at the end of the year and include a note to the Diocese in our tithe that we will be withholding a portion to cover those cost.
Easter Vigil: Artistic and dramatic representation of the gospel may require some funding. One source of funding is the Parish Growth Fund which currently has a balance of approximately $6,000.
Partnership with Kivu: Looking to divide one diocese into two. It requires a car for their bishop, a church building, money in the bank and a place for the bishop to invite people ($70,000 – $80,000). We currently give 2% of our funds to Kivu. To be considered for the 2016 budget: a one percent increase to Kivu which would be an additional $2,000.
Altar Guild/Banners: Looking to improve the environment in Kresge Hall to be more church like.
Trip to Dallas – Allen traveled to work on a marriage/sexuality taskforce paper. Out of the meeting came several suggestions:
By-laws need to be strengthened and clear about who we will marry.
Member Covenants needs to be considered.
Bishop Search/Diocese: Decision to be made sometime in January
Trinity Church Changes: Bob Hoy is leaving at the end of December. Some people at Trinity would like to merge with us with options being to hire a new pastor or give to a church in their denomination.
Partnership with Kivu – Nov. 6-29 visit from Justin Zigiranyirazo will include many visits to speak around the area and Thanksgiving with Kannapells. Dinner to support Kivu at Trinity, November 14, $25/$200 per table
Russ’s daughter Andrea, marketing manager at Noodles & Company, is offering a free meal date on November 8 or 15 for the Vestry families for up to 25 people. Find which date works best and the number of people.
Vestry needs to reconstitute the Finance Committee.
Homework: Read II Corinthians and ideas about the 2015 budget
Adjourned with prayer at 8:57 p.m.
His Church Anglican
Vestry Minutes for Sept. 16, 2015
Opened with prayer by Allen at 7:18 p.m.
Attendance: Pastor Allen, Sue Grunkemeyer, Susan George, Noreen Panizzoli, Russ McDonald, Barbara Middlekauff, David Morphew
Minutes: Moved by Susan George to accept minutes for August. Barb seconded. Approved.
Finance Report: Giving in August was robust; same as last year, five Sunday months. Large quarterly output month – break even month. Designated funds slight gain of about $400. Mission fund was up; building up; food pantry down. Attendance stayed consistent with last year. Net worth increased by $19,000 due to special gifts – $43,045 gift from Antoniottis and almost $15,000 in stock
Tithing Gifts: Do we tithe on gifts like that from the Antoniotti’s to the Diocese? Yes
Stock Gift Tithes: Brown Foreman stock. Hold onto it until we need it or cash and tithe on the value at the time of the sale. New stock donation policy to only tithe on liquid assets.
Pray for Tom had knee surgery on tendon/quad; he is in pain. Picnic was excellent. Good visit with Bishop Ahemana; took him to see Vertical. He spoke with young married couples and young people on Sunday. Bill Garfield, former missionary from Trinity, passed away last Friday.
Outreach to Stevenson:
50th anniversary, October 22 – 24
Meeting this Tuesday at Trinity at 7:30 with Life Church to talk about ways to serve
Pray for direction in how we may serve the Stevenson community
Living in the Kingdom Seminar, Saturday, September 26 – Gus Richard will be the presenter. Day of prayer; follow up last year’s ‘Fan the Flame’.
Strategic Partnership with Kivu – Trying to help his diocese grow in the poorest area of Rwanda. They are required to develop their road footage of 300 feet or lose the property. Construction is currently being raised on half of that footage. Looking for help to become their own diocese (30,000 Anglicans). They have to have one church, one car, bank account with sufficient funds and a compound area for the bishop to meet and serve the diocese. We currently give 2% of our income to their effort. Please pray whether we should increase it by 1% for a total of 3%.
Madonna University Partnership – Conversation regarding sharing our ministry with the students.
Justin Zigiranyirazo Visa interview scheduled for next Monday. Will know more then. Dinner being planned for November 14, if they are approved to visit.
Bishop Search: Candidates from seven diocese from four states and Canada will be informed and need to respond of their intentions. Possibility of 18 names will be whittled down to three.
Motion by Susan George to subsidize Allen’s trip to Texas to work with the task force on marriage and sexuality for up to $600 for two nights. Seconded and approved.
Meeting adjourned at 9:22 p.m.
Many folks in the parish have asked for online giving options to be made available. We’ve made this available through OSV and it is available online here: https://osvonlinegiving.com/1739.
Register for an account, connect your bank account for EFT, and you can schedule your tithe as frequently as you would like.
We are grateful for your work with us to continue to disciple and proclaim the kingdom of God in Livonia and our surrounding communities. If you have questions, please contact the church office and we will be happy to help.