Saturday collection 4/4/09

Here is our weekly collection plate, offering a few of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.


Parish office prayers before Holy Week. Father Tim Schenck writes on his blog “Clergy Family Confidential” the following:

Ode to a Copier

A Prayer for Holy Week

Holy Week, dear friends, will soon draw nigh;

From St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery to Christ Church, Shanghai.

Parish secretaries and their rectors, too,

Thinking of the bulletins that will ensue,

Drop to their knees and begin to quake,

Praying their copiers will stay awake

Through Maundy Thursday and the rest;

Without behaving as if possessed.

Rectors wonder with uncertainty,

“Should I have purchased the extended warranty?”

Misfeeds, toner woes and a paper jam

Always seem to accompany the Paschal Lamb.

Why this happens is a great unknown,

A mystery worthy of the bishop’s throne.

So stoke the incense, say your prayers;

anything to stave off copier repairs.

As the dark shadows of Tenebrae now approach;

may your copier behave without reproach.

And as we begin the Good Friday fast,

May it wait ‘til Low Sunday to breathe its last.


An acre for anyone

Reese Rickards of St. Albans Episcopal Church in Salisbury, MD reports, “St.Albans is allowing anyone from the community to obtain a plot of their land and grow whatever they desire. But no matter what type food or flower that someone chooses to grow on God’s Acre, 10% of it is required to be donated to the needy.” Rickard said, “They have to agree to tithe what ever they raise, not to us but to… any agency that is helping the poor folks.”


Paws in the pews, a story of churches welcoming dogs every week, not just for a Blessing of the Animals service:

In New York City, it is common to have a couple of dogs — perhaps a few more — in the main Sunday worship service at Church of the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal congregation, and dogs are welcome at other services, says the Rev. Michael Phillips, the church rector.

“It’s been a custom of this parish for, I would say, at least 10 years, if not more,” Phillips says. “For many people in Manhattan who live by themselves, by choice or not, it’s remarkably easy to feel isolated and alone in a city with this many people. … When they come to church, they want to bring their family”


In Omaha, NE: As they enter the church, they yip, they lick and they sniff the tail ends of their fellow parishioners. An occasional woof interrupts the piano notes wafting through the sanctuary. But this is a forgiving audience. It is full of dog lovers, mostly, who gather every Thursday to worship at Underwood Hills Presbyterian Church.”


One dog who is never going to church


Reading Dante’s Inferno for Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday, April 9, beginning at about 8:30 p.m., hear Dante’s “Inferno” read the way he originally intended. … this dramatic literary event will take place at St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church. Selected cantos will be read by parishioners, poets, translators, visiting scholars and guests. Each half-hour segment will begin with the tolling of the tower bells and will include silent meditation, atmospheric music and the reading of one canto. The reading will continue until 10 a.m. on Good Friday.


Parish harvests fruits and veggies for those in need

The Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Westchester, CA, has begun its “Harvest Westchester” program to allow local community members who own fruit trees to donate their excess fruit and vegetables to people in need….

Under the program, the church is working to create a large and growing database of residential fruit trees that will be available for harvest throughout the course of the year, yielding fruit such as apples, peaches, plums, persimmons, oranges, nectarines, lemons, grapefruit and other varieties.

Church members say they hope to strengthen the support offered to property owners and residents to preserve and maintain their trees as a valuable food resource.


Parish runs food pantry for pets alongside soup kitchen for people.

One admirable effort is the Animal Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, based at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem. It helps those low-income families and individuals who are already struggling to feed themselves to keep caring for their animal companions. It also provides low-cost shots for animals and a lot of helpful pet-owner information, and it promotes the spaying and neutering of pets.

The volunteer staff distributes food to animal owners and to rescue shelters and humane societies throughout the area. Nearly 3,000 animals in the greater Lehigh Valley have been reached.

Overall, the goal is to keep pets and owners together when hard times arrive. The alternative, turning a beloved pet over to a shelter, is hardly an attractive one. So, this food bank keeps families together.

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